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Heavyweight speaker lineup at Fast Company symposium

The inaugural Fast Company Most Innovative Company Symposium was held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre 2 (CTICC) on 5 March 2020. The event will bring together innovators, academics, tomorrow's pioneers and today's business leaders for a lively and interactive day of knowledge sharing and debate to address how technology and innovation can shape our connected future.
Stafford Masie
Heading the impressive lineup of speakers is Stafford Masie, the general manager of WeWork South Africa.

WeWork is a shared-space real estate organisation focused on providing working areas and services for technology startups and enterprises that are geared to the growing demand for collaborative and flexible work environments.

Wesley Diphoko, Fast Company’s new editor-in-chief, says that the programme will appeal to corporations in the country as well as startups, entrepreneurs and even university students considering how everyone needs to align to technological changes in terms of business processes, skills development and new ways of doing business. “The technology-era is exciting and terrifying at the same time. Technology, as we know, is an enabler, but there are also a lot of unknowns as to what the future dominated by a technology interface, will bring in terms of how we live, work and play as humans.

“This year’s symposium is the launch of a healthy dialogue that addresses some of these unknowns while also showcasing the great innovations that are influencing our future. We aim to continue this dialogue in subsequent issues of the magazine as the more informed we all are about what the future could hold for us, the better we will be able to make the right choices to benefit not just ourselves but, society as a whole.”

The programme on the day will be divided into four distinct sessions covering:
  • Driving innovation
  • Innovation tools
  • Innovation in education sector
  • Innovation in health sector

Topics that will be discussed at this one-day event include the likes of: What is an innovative nation and how do we build one? How the startup ecosystem can contribute in building the innovative nation? How do innovators access funding to turn dreams into reality? How tech can enable access to education in the digital age? How are corporations innovating to stay ahead of the curve and just how will technology solve health challenges?

Speakers who will be joining Masie in the discussion as to how we can use technology and human ingenuity to move society forward, include:
  • Phatizwe Malinga – managing director of SqwidNET
  • Jayshree Naidoo – the CEO of YIEDI, a founding member and ex-chairperson of the Southern African Innovation Network and a member of the National Advisory Council on Innovation for South Africa (NACI)
  • Rory Moore – the lead for Africa and Asia Pacific of 10 Liquid Studios, the rapid application development teams of Accenture that works on projects in the experimental and emerging technologies space
  • Reshaad Sha – the CEO of Liquid Telecom South Africa
  • Ziaad Suleman – COO of IBM South Africa
  • Akhram Mohamed – CTO at Huawei Consumer Business Group
  • Rob Paddock – CEO of Valenture Institute and the co-founder of GetSmarter
  • Ellen Fischat - founder at Storyroom (Pty) Limited and former MD of Silicon Cape

Rodney Wearing from Headset Solutions will also be on the event floor to give a practical demonstration of innovation in action. Headset Solutions is the distributor of US-based Poly’s innovative collaboration products (for people who need to collaborate but who are not necessarily based in the same location) in Southern Africa. Wearing will connect with colleagues in the States for this demonstration of how technology can enhance personal wellbeing and increase productivity in an open-plan office environment.

The symposium complements the upcoming issue of the Fast Company Most Innovative Companies publication and awards, where the top innovative companies in South Africa will be recognised.

Fast Company has also made a limited number of free delegate passes available for the symposium, which can be booked via Quicket.

For more information visit Fast Company online:

Sponsors of the Fast Company – Technology and Innovation for the Advancement of Society – Symposium and Awards include amongst others: Ayo Technology Solutions, Accenture, WeWork, Liquid Telecom and SqwidNET.

Independent Media's press office

Independent Media Independent Media is one of South Africa's leading print media production companies. Our stable of fine, quality publications include 18 of the country's most prominent newspapers.

Read more: Fast Company, WeWork