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Entrepreneurship and innovation: driving mining into the future

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Reimagining Training in Mining Innovation Showcase in Johannesburg. If there was ever a full examination of how the industry is being steered towards safer and more efficient through technology – this was it!

The showcase was a collaboration between the Minerals Council South Africa, the Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS) and Harmony Gold to identify ready-to-implement training innovations for piloting in Harmony’s operational context.

Six finalists weathered and persevered two days of intense of showcasing of their innovations through virtual and physical events which culminated in the announcement of the winners.

The finalists included:

WinWin International was the showcase winner while the Boiler Room and BizAR Reality were named the first and second runners up respectively.

“Extended Reality, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality technologies allow employees to learn in a safe environment while being fully immersed and interacting with virtual information in real-time as they encounter their physical environment – such as equipment or hazards, among others,” said Mustak Ally, Head of Skills Development at the Minerals Council.

RIIS believes that long term sustainability can only be achieved through improvements and radical changes in the way that both business and society innovate. Innovation has traditionally been managed completely inside organisations – but this is no longer an effective or efficient way to source, acquire, develop and commercialise knowledge. It works right at the intersection of corporate strategy, socio-economic development and entrepreneurship and innovation.

RIIS is the first open innovation firm in Africa with our team consisting of human-centred design and system design specialists who incorporate innovative thinking in all that we do. Its team has trained over 300 start-ups over the past three years, with social innovation in various sectors as a focus. It has successfully executed virtual and physical training programmes to capacitate entrepreneurs, enabling it to accelerate innovation, reduce the risk taken by partners and start-ups, and ensure long term success. RIIS is a advocate for entrepreneurship.

“The Minerals Council is looking at innovation and modernisation not just from a technology perspective, but importantly also to support social and business model change – moving from purely engineering-led innovation to people-centred innovation,” said Sietse van der Woude, a Senior Executive of Modernisation and Safety at the Minerals Council.

“Extended Reality, Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality technologies allow employees to learn in a safe environment while being fully immersed and interacting with virtual information in real-time as they encounter their physical environment – such as equipment or hazards, among others,” said Mustak Ally, Head of Skills Developmentat the Minerals Council.

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