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Telkom unleashes innovation from within

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 08 Feb 2024
Dr Mmaki Jantjies, group executive for innovation and transformation at Telkom.
Dr Mmaki Jantjies, group executive for innovation and transformation at Telkom.

Mobile operator Telkom Group’s Innovation Challenge saw up to R1.25 million awarded to its winners at the end of last year.

The inaugural challenge – a group-wide employee innovation programme – calls on Telkom employees to come up concepts and ideas they believed would propel the group towards a future marked by innovation.

According to Telkom, the challenge comes at a time when business sector expenditure on research and development is declining. However, innovation is widely-acknowledged as being vital to economic growth and progress.

According to the World Bank, innovation has a crucial role to play in creating jobs, increasing productivity, and improving the lives of South Africans by supporting the development of enhanced products and services.

“At Telkom, we recognise the importance of innovation on a national level,” says Dr Mmaki Jantjies, group executive for the innovation and transformation office. “We took a bold step into the future with the inaugural Telkom Group Innovation Challenge – an electrifying arena we proudly named the Lion’s Den.”

She adds: “Through Lion’s Den, our goal was to recognise the competitive landscape we navigate as OneTelkom. We wanted to acknowledge that innovation is the heartbeat of progress in this dynamic digital realm.”

The inaugural challenge attracted over 60 submissions from Telkom Group employees. Through a series of rounds, the ideas were reviewed until the 10 strongest ones were identified.

The 10 finalists were then invited to present their ideas on 8 December 2023, to the Telkom Group Innovation Challenge Lions; which included the organisation senior leadership, group chief human resources officer, Melody Lekota; Openserve CEO, Althon Beukes; BCX CEO, Jonas Bogoshi; Telkom consumer and small business CEO, Lunga Siyo; and Lloyd Chego, Gyro Executive for IT technology solutions.

The Lions evaluated the concepts, and ultimately determined the winners of the challenge.

“After weeks working on customer-focused innovative ideas, working with experts to refine them into business plans and presenting them to the Lions, we're thrilled at the calibre of our four winners,” says Jantjies. “We believe their ideas will be game changers for our business.”