Nov 25, 2016 BIH Articles, BIH News

Thinking Global: The Innovation Paradigm Shift


Ettiene Prestorious, CEO and Founder of South African Capital Partnering was one of the main speakers at the 4th Investment and Trade Conference that took place at Botswana Conference and Exhibition Centre at Fairgrounds. To demonstrate the approach and more importantly the mind-set shift that we need to take as nations towards entrepreneurship in creating wealth for our economies, Ettiene invited one of the delegates at the conference on stage.

After enthusiastically climbing on stage and with the audience listening intently with a palpable curiosity, the delegate was asked a question by the Real Estate Developer and International Speaker, “Are you a murderer, would you kill?” asked Ettiene.

Without the slightest hesitation, the delegate answered, “No, I am not!” to a rapturous laughter from the audience. Ettiene came up with a follow-up question, “If a thief were to threaten your life and attempt to kill you would you kill them in attempt to defend yourself?” One again without the slightest hesitation, the delegate answered, “Yes!” to a roaring laughter from the audience as they mused at the sudden shifting of goal posts by the delegate.

Almost certain that a significant number of the delegates in the room shifted goal posts when the follow up question was asked, the takeaway of this exercise demonstrated the paradigm shift that as nation we need to make in thought, approach and action towards entrepreneurship. Ettiene’s exercise demonstrated the ability of individuals to swiftly and radically change their response when the environment or their circumstances change. The same swift and radical change is possible in a larger group, in this case the audience who changed their response when the dynamics changed.

In a fast changing world, we can no longer afford to approach entrepreneurship as we have been doing in the past. With necessity being the mother of innovation; it is vital that we begin to not only see innovation within how we do business as a critical success factor, but we must actually be the change and ensure that innovation in every aspect of our entreprises, is infused especially in our people, processes and partnerships.

For the delegate on stage, the environment changed and so did his thinking and approach without hesitation. In an ever-changing business environment especially with the rising number of individuals connected online; customers have access to expounded information that has moulded a breed of consumers who not only know what they want but what they are willing to pay for the value that they demand.

Innovation offered in isolation of a specific problem experienced by a specific person is irrelevant. Entrepreneurs need to be aware of their environment and the changes that occur within so that they are better positioned to respond to the changes and offer solutions and value to their customers. Entrepreneurs respond to these changes with innovation.

Botswana Innovation Hub CEO Alan Boshwaen was a panelist in the Information Communication and Technology (ICT) plenary session of the Investment and Trade Conference which formed part of the 2016 Global Expo Botswana whose theme was “Unlocking opportunities for economic growth.”

Botswana Innovation Hub is incorporated as a company to develop and operate the country’s first Science and Technology Park that is working towards creating an environment that supports start-ups and existing local companies as well as attract international companies and institutions to develop and grow competitive technology driven and knowledge based businesses.

The company has established a technology entrepreneurship development programme named the First Steps Venture Centre (FSVC). FSVC provides entrepreneurs with the opportunity to develop their innovative products and services into commercially viable business. With FSVC having celebrated its three year existence this November, Botswana Innovation Hub through the programme has been intentional in responding to the needs of its clients and responding to the changes in the national, regional and global economic environment it operates in.

Botswana Innovation Hub’s response has yielded strategic partnerships with local, regional and international institutions as well as success stories of FSVC clients such Deaftronics and mAgri who have been recognised globally for their innovations.

The Global Expo Conference provided a stage for entrepreneurs of various sizes to learn, share and grow and more importantly the expo afforded all who attended the opportunity to trade; trade in partnerships, commodities and thinking.