A Masterclass for increasing the innovative mindset through enhancing the Diversity and Inclusion agenda

About Eskom
The client challenge

Eskom is a South African electricity public utility, established in 1923 as the Electricity Supply Commission (ESCOM), by the South African Government and people of the Republic of South Africa in terms of the Electricity Act (1922). South Africa became a Republic in the 1960s. Eskom represents South Africa in the Southern African Power Pool as it is the largest of South Africa’s state-owned enterprise. The utility is the largest producer of electricity in Africa and was among the top utilities in the world in terms of generation capacity and sales but has since slipped in both categories.

The client challenge

We supported Eskom in establishing and improving its innovative power in South Africa. Eskom has been hindered by some serious dilemmas which make them focus on dealing with crises rather than developing an innovative culture. Eskom needed an action driven program that helped their diverse top-100 management group to take more advantage of innovation.

Our approach to Innovation
1RECOGNIZE2RESPECT3RECONCILE4REALIZE

Recognize

We organized a program, consisting of two full-day sessions with groups of 25 top managers aimed at initiating a dialogue about organizational choices and leadership’s role in cultural change towards a more innovative organization. The main objectives of this program were to identify the Eskom’s strategic cultural dilemmas they were facing whilst managing a complex environment where the technical capacities were under pressure. The first phase of the program was aimed at identifying and understanding different cultural (national, corporate, functional etc.) perspectives, attitudes and behaviors and their implications in co-operation, business and management.

Respect

To learn to respect cultural (value) differences as a basis for building effective relationships with colleagues, teams, and other stakeholders across cultures. We focused on building appreciation and respect for these cultural differences in values, styles, and approaches, without recourse to destructive stereotyping by formulating it as dilemmas pertaining the areas of maintaining the technical capacity of the plants vs the heavy social responsibility of keeping electricity prices down. All reconciliations for the sake of innovation.

Reconcile

Interactive introduction to Dilemma Reconciliation and work on the innovation dilemmas, focusing on what does it mean for Eskom. In what developmental stage is Eskom living and what dilemmas do we need to reconcile to increase the maturity of the organization?  This phase was concluded by a discussion on how the previous affects other areas of diversity and how to cascade this down to other levels of the organization.

Realize

For applying the first 3 R’s we organized a series of community visits in Alexandra township.  Participants tackled the following questions:

-What are the main challenges that this community leaders are facing? – How are they overcoming these challenges? – How can you frame these challenges into dilemmas? – What was difficult to overcome? -What worked very well? – What could apply in Eskom next week?

For the layers below the Board we developed a certification program to enable Eskom facilitating the changes themselves.