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Innovation

  • These ground-breaking drones want to prevent rhino poaching in SA

    Are drones, 3D printers, crowdfunding and supercomputers enough to prevent wildlife poaching? This ambitious initiative believes they just might be. It sounds like an excerpt out of a Buzzword Weekly: Ground operators are equipped with 3D printers to have spare parts on-demand, while the drones fly around in SA's skies following routes based on algorithms, which are churned by supercomputers back in the States. Importantly, however, these methods seem to pay-off. The initiative is called Air Shepherd (not to be confused with the eco-extremist the Sea Shepherd of Whale Wars) and backed by the 35-year-old NPO, the Lindbergh Foundation. According to the...

  • 5 things you’re getting wrong about innovation: a business analyst’s perspective

    Companies are finding it increasingly difficult to be innovative as they struggle to keep up with the ever-changing needs and demands of today’s consumer. This is especially true of larger, process-driven companies. Unsurprisingly, smaller companies who unencumbered by large scales of operation are able to be more innovative, taking their solutions to the market in a more timely fashion. When it comes to innovation, the simple definition is that it is the act of introducing something new. In my opinion, this is too simple. It fails to encompass the crux of what innovation is. If I implement a new...

  • Sebastian Thrun: Is education poised to breed the next major moonshot? #AccentureIC2015

    From self-driving cars and Google Glass to online universities, Stanford professor and former head of Google X Sebastian Thrun has made quite a name for himself as a leading innovator, especially when it comes to Google's moonshot projects. At The Accenture Innovation Conference held in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Google Glass-clad Stanford professor talked about the importance of moonshots and how organisations can make these out-of-this-world ambitions work to achieve fruitful innovations. "When I was a child there was a piece of innovation that was always thought impossible: putting a man on the moon. It took the nation and the support...

  • From Steve Jobs to Eskom: how a former Disney exec solves challenges creatively

    South Africans can learn to live more easily without power. On visiting Cape Town and Johannesburg this week, Greg Brandeau was surprised to find how we've come to accept the way power cuts are communicated. But the former Pixar and Disney executive wasn't visiting as an Eskom consultant, rather Brandeau came to speak at Accenture's inaugural Innovation Conference and just happened to have some suggestions on our electricity crisis during an interview with Memeburn. Brandeau is an MIT-trained engineer who has had the opportunity to take talented companies to its next level, a skill that has taken him to the corners of...

  • First World Trader, Angel Shack, Blue Strata named SA’s top innovators #AccentureIC2015

    With a vision of promoting and recognising some of the country's top game-changers, The Accenture Innovation Conference has revealed South Africa's top innovators in Johannesburg. Within their respective categories, First World Trader, Angel Shack and Blue Strata were named the top innovators in the country. Explaining the initiative's goals, CEO of Accenture South Africa William Mzimba says that innovation is critical for business to operate, especially South Africa which faces a lot of economic and social issues. He said in a statement: Produced in parallel with the Accenture Innovation Conference, our world-first Accenture Innovation Index (firs published in 2013) measures and...

  • 3 massive trends banks will have to stay ahead of if they want to remain innovative

    Doing digital banking better is key, according to various banking trend predictions for 2015. But being fine-tuned to customer needs and behaviour, and consequently marrying human centricity with technology, could be the catalyst for true differentiation. Banking products and services have always been perceived as quite generic and it was inevitable that banks would catch up with each other in the digital banking space. Although launching innovative digital banking products and services that change the way we bank will continue to be rolled out, customer centricity should be at the heart of each rationale, and the execution thereof has never...

  • BBC World Service announce selected teams from its hackathon in Kenya

    Two teams have been selected to help the BBC expand its reach through Africa following its hackathon held earlier in Kenya. The BBC World Service, Connected Studio and its digital innovations team joined forces to hold a hackathon at the iHub and Nairobi Garage in Nairobi. At the time of announcing the hackathon, Dmitry Shishkin, BBC World Service Group Digital Development Editor, said that the reasons for holding the hackathon in Kenya is that “the BBC wants to tap into the unique expertise of, and partner with, the Kenyan tech community to develop new innovative ways to grow the BBC's audience...

  • Google Science Fair 2015 is officially open for submissions

    The difference between you and Ada Lovelace, according to Google, is that she tried things and you did not. Starting today, Google is accepting applications to its fifth Google Science Fair. Together with LEGO Education, National Geographic, Scientific American and Virgin Galactic, Google is looking for young researchers, explorers, builders, technologist, and inventors. The ethos of this year’s fair is that science is about observing and experimenting. Google is encouraging all interested parties to explore unanswered questions, which people have always been curious about, and in the process learning and always trying again. Google is looking for “something imaginative, or...

  • HTTP is getting its first upgrade since 1999. Here’s what you can expect

    While the web has gone through a lot of changes since it first came into existence in the early 1990s, the fundamental tech behind it hasn't changed since 1999. That's until now with the introduction of a fresh new upgrade to HTTP 2.0 (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), spelling faster page loads, more mobile-friendly and more encryption. HTTP is a big deal. It's the application that makes the web what it is -- enabling the transferring of packets of data between the user (your browser) and the server host (the website). Before recently confirming that the second version of HTTP, Mark Notingham --...

  • 3 ways innovation can kill your ability to do business

    Do you work for someone that never seems to stop thinking about the next big thing that needs to be implemented? You know the type? Rushing into the office and stealing productive time to call a meeting about some new idea he thought up on the toilet that morning, implementing untested ideas, and blaming the staff when they backfire? Or are you that person? Do you live in constant fear that the competition is getting one up on you? Are you convinced that your ideas are the best and should be implemented immediately without discussion? Has it occurred to you...

  • Bill Gates drinks water made from human waste

    Bill Gates, American business magnate, philanthropist, investor, computer programmer, and inventor, is committed to raising awareness around the issue of sanitation in developing countries. Gates funded Janicki Bioenergy, a small engineering firm based outside of Seattle, which makes water from human waste. And in a video released recently he drinks the water that the company has made from waste and announces that “It is water”. In a blog post, Gates writes that he, “watched the piles of feces go up the conveyor belt and drop into a large bin. They made their way through the machine, getting boiled and...

  • Watch live as SpaceX launches Falcon 9 rocket and tries to land it on a ocean platform [Update]

    Elon Musk’s Space X is scheduled to launch its Falcon 9 rocket today. This is a risky test flight that has 50% chance of being successful. “Executing a precision landing on an unanchored ocean platform is significantly more challenging,” the company wrote in a blog post. “The odds of success are not great—perhaps 50% at best.” The company will then attempt to land the Falcon 9's first stage segment on an ocean platform it calls an “autonomous spaceport drone ship.” While SpaceX has previously staged two soft landings in water, succeeding on this landing on a platform is a critical...

  • Thync is a headset device that uses electrodes to cheer you up

    On Friday afternoons, one can file out of the office and grab a beer until the late hours of the following day, knowing well that they will have time to sleep it off. The anxiety from the other weekdays is a lot tricky to deal with. Hangovers are universally hated at work offices, with good reason. Enter Thync, a headset that will cheer you up by using electrodes to stimulate your head. Isy Goldwasser, the CEO and co-founder Thync, a startup based in Silicon Valley, says that Thync produces a calming effect that is similar to how one feels...

  • This biodegradable drone made of fungi can disintegrate

    A team of researchers from a variety institutions, including NASA's Ames Research Centre, has developed a biodegradable drone that can disintegrate when it needs to, destroying evidence of its spying activities in the process. The drone is made of mycelium, the vegetative part of fungi, and has already completed its first flight. According to Lynn Rothschild of NASA Ames, when the need for the drone to self-destroy arises, it need only dive into a puddle and "no one would know if you'd spilled some sugar water or if there'd been an airplane there." Ecovative Design, a material science company developing a...

  • Watch this incredible robot re-enact a scene from ‘The Karate Kid’ [Video]

    In a recent video from Boston Dynamics, an engineering and robotics design company, a robot is shown doing karate. Yup, that's a thing now. This is the same company that made the animal like robots BigDog and Wildcat. The idea that robots will one day replace human beings is ridiculous but not ridiculous enough to immediately dismiss the idea entirely without entertaining it. In the video, the robot called Atlas, balances on one leg on top of cinder bricks and re-enacts a scene from The Karate Kid movie. Though we have seen robots leap over molehills seeing one do karate is...