Thomson Reuters joins The Creative Leadership Collective

The Creative Leadership Collective is thrilled to announce that Thomson Reuters has signed up as a member organisation

‘The CLC is a group of like-minded individuals who are leveraging their combined expertise, resources and capabilities to build new solutions that can empower and enable the continent,’ says Saidah Nash Carter, Head of Innovation – Africa at Thomson Reuters Labs™ in Cape Town. ‘I feel strongly that cross-sector co-creation and collaboration is key to unlocking Africa’s true potential.’

Thomson Reuters has seven innovation labs globally, analysing tech and industry trends to unlock the potential of data and cutting-edge tech to provide solutions for customer challenges. ‘Cape Town is the only one in an emerging market which presents an exciting and unprecedented opportunity for us.’

Saidah has worked in various development and innovation roles at Reuters and then Thomson Reuters since 1997 and came to South Africa in 2015 to head up The Lab here.

She says Thomson Reuters Labs™ chose Cape Town because most its largest customers are in South Africa. ‘And the fundamental premise of innovation for us is that it should be customer-led.’

Cape Town also offers a creative, tech-centric ecosystem that they were able to plug into. ‘I wanted to create a Labs culture that was open and fluid, with flows of talent and diversity of thought all around us. Your network is your power and collaboration helps to stretch your thinking in new ways. We are very clear that we will not be successful alone and in a vacuum.’

Saidah joins other industry leaders in the non-competitive CLC who are joining forces to maximise experience and ideas to better innovate for the future.

‘Creative leadership is absolutely essential given the challenges and opportunities we’re facing – whether you view this through the lens of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals or through the lens of the transformative impact of the 4th Industrial Revolution.’ says Saidah.

‘As large corporates, we have to be willing to think differently about our businesses, but also about our role and influence in the world. Corporates with clear purpose will win and the pursuit of purpose requires a crucial combination of both creative thinking and leadership.’

Coming together with like-minded people is a step forward towards this. ‘I like the fact that the CLC is a non-competitive group, which means that we have a good chance of building something together,’ adds Saidah. ‘This collective could be an awesome example of just what is possible in terms of the way corporates think about IP and doing business with each other in general.’

In the few years that Thomson Reuters Labs™ has been active in Cape Town, Saidah has kicked off some remarkable projects, including the African Start-up Challenge and an emerging tech and land hackathon.

‘For this we used blockchain, social media and other types of emerging tech to increase land transparency and access information around land ownership,’ says Saidah.

‘CREATIVE LEADERSHIP IS ABSOLUTELY ESSENTIAL GIVEN THE CHALLENGES WE’RE FACING’

Their signature initiative at the moment is Bankable Farmer, a project looking to enable traditional banks to lend to small-scale farmers. For this, The Lab is partnering with AFGRI, a Founding Friend of the CLC.

‘Thomson Reuters Labs™ Cape Town are regarded as one of the earliest pioneers of lean innovation in Africa,’ says CLC founder and Collective facilitator Paul Steenkamp.

‘Under Saidah’s leadership, they’re empowering their customers to tap into Africa’s unique “inno-positive” environment. I believe Saidah and her team are changing Africa for the better. We’re very excited to have her and her colleagues on board.’

Signing up a strong and diverse team of leaders as Founding Friends and members is vital to the strength and reach of the collective.

‘LARGE CORPORATES HAVE TO BE WILLING TO THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT BUSINESS, BUT ALSO THEIR ROLE AND INFLUENCE IN THE WORLD’

‘We are all in the business of leveraging lean innovation to tackle deliciously big and complex African challenges,’ says Paul. ‘As a peer-to-peer advisory group, our strength lies in the beauty of our trans-sectoral experience, multidisciplinary skills and diversity of thought.’

Saidah’s creative leadership and energy is a powerful force for the realisation of her core principles: co-creation and the reimagining of what partnership means and the importance of intrapreneurship or corporate innovation with purpose. It’s exactly this that makes her perfectly suited to the CLC.

‘I think this is a great opportunity for us.’ says Saidah. ‘This is a real opportunity for Africa to showcase the true power of co-creation.’

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