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Watch this space – Incite ‘fieldnotes’ and publications to be posted here shortly!

CHANGE-MAKERS, LOCAL AND GLOBAL

Systemic coaching helps individuals or teams address problems by considering the bigger system. We ask why things are the way they are. Because complex systems are sensitive to initial conditions, we reflect on what happened before.  In addressing an issue, we consider three systemic principles: order, belonging and exchange:
* The CEO of a small IT company drew from wilderness practice to inform his leadership
* The founder of an innovative development agency was able to see how she could transition beyond the organisation
* The founder of a US-based health institute developed the personal strength to support the well-being of many
* An academic, writer and activist worked with black identity and belonging to find her place at a leading academic institution.

 

Inspired by insights from Donella Meadows to Bert Hellinger, Nora Bateson and Dave Snowden, we call it the work that connects. To chat about systemic coaching, please contact Nicola at nicola@incite.co.za.

Photo by Victor Hernandez on Unsplash

Kumba Iron Ore
South African based iron ore mining company

Incite assisted in structuring and writing the Integrated and/or Sustainability Reports for five of the Top 10 winners of the EY Integrated Reporting Awards in 2020 (Kumba, Vodacom, Implats, Oceana, Anglo American Platinum). We have previously worked with a further three of the Top 10 winners (Nedbank, Netcare and Sasol).

Underpinning any meaningful reporting process is the active involvement of the executive team, and their willingness to engage in frank discussion with external stakeholders. Incite has advised Kumba on their reporting process since 2015. In addition to assisting with structure and writing, we facilitate two process elements that are critical to accountable reporting: a participative materiality discussion with the executive team, and a dialogue with key external stakeholders.

Action Volunteers Africa
Non-profit organisation tackling South African youth unemployment

African Volunteers Africa do important work and we want them to succeed. We introduced the founder of AVA to leadership skills taught in a traditional African context. Her experience led to an invitation to work with the AVA team. The constellation method draws on traditional African ideas, but makes them more accessible in a western context. A strategic constellation helped the AVA team better understand their vision and options. We also supported a group of AVA volunteers by introducing them to indigenous African approaches to power.

The constellation work helped us steer ourselves back to our true vision and I found the executive coaching from Nicola invaluable. She supported me in my wish to hand over the organisation to new leadership with as little disruption as possible.
Lisa Garson, AVA Founder

Boards, executive committees, Social and Ethics Committees, sustainability teams and others

Constellations are one of many methods used in the systemic coaching or organisational development field. Organisations are open systems: permeable, unpredictable and human. Stakeholders matter; stuff happens. They can be fraught, but they help get things done. Every organisation encounters barriers to progress or uncertainty about the next step. To turn barriers or uncertainty into insight requires perspective and engagement. Constellations are a safe-to-fail, individual or team experiment that provides insight, quickly and effectively.

The constellations facilitator begins by sketching key elements of the system. Once agreed, the elements and the relationships between them can be represented by participants. Working slowly and deliberately, the facilitator introduces small probes to explore potential shifts or interventions that might enhance movement, understanding or resolution.

Using systemic constellations, we’ve helped:
* A Board of Medical Professionals reshape their relationship to South Africa’s health needs
* The manager of a large mining company better understand the tensions arising from their housing policy
* A leading multinational consumer goods company reflect on the barriers to change in its culture
* A local not-for-profit understand why their vision statement was not effective
* Stakeholders from government, NGOs and business explore the food-water-energy nexus that connected them.

Constellations provide an embodied way to explore how actions or changes (such as a new product or policy) might impact elements of the system. They can be facilitated with an individual or teams, on- or off-line. Please contact Nicola at nicola@incite.co.za to discuss whether a constellation might support your organisation.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)
Independent international organisation, pioneering sustainability reporting since 1997

Standardisation of environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics is a critical foundation for effective corporate disclosure and improved sustainability performance. Our relationship with the GRI has grown since Jonathon’s contribution to elements of the first GRI Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, launched at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg in 2002. More recently, Jonathon convened the GRI / IIRC Corporate Leadership Group on integrated reporting; he serves on the Advisory Group to the GRI Focal Point SA and has been a regulator contributor to GRI Conferences and panel discussions in Amsterdam and Johannesburg. Incite has undertaken various research projects for the GRI, including: assessing the impact of the GRI Framework on reporting and performance in South Africa (2013-2015); contributing to a report on big data and sustainability reporting (2017); evaluating the impact of supply chain reporting in South Africa (2017); and reviewing corporate accountability and action on UN SDG1 on poverty (2018).

Shared Value Initiative (SVI)
Global community of leaders who find business opportunities in addressing societal challenges

Incite became Africa’s first SVI affiliate in 2013, with Incite director Nicola Robins serving on the Global Affiliate Advisory Board from 2014-2016. We’ve engaged in knowledge exchange through online sessions with affiliates from across the globe, as well as in-person discussions with Mark Kramer and the SVI team at their offices in San Francisco.

Anglo American, PPS, Green Building Council, Ayala Group and others
Leadership conferences, launches and corporate events

At leadership conferences and online events, Jonathon and Nicola’s keynotes introduce delegates quickly and effectively  to the sustainability edge.

 

*In 2020, Nicola’s keynote at the launch of Anglo American’s Circular Economy initiative reflected on the miner’s opportunities in the emerging circular economy.

 

*Her talk at PPS’s 2020 Leadership Conference showed how leading innovators learn from nature.

 

*At the 2016 Green Building Convention, she explored why leadership in complex times requires more subtle skills.

 

*At the 2015 Green Building Convention, Jonathon’s opening address was followed by participation on an expert panel with former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz, critically assessing the corporate response to societal challenges.

BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Group
Network of 2,500 leaders driving positive change across the world

Incite director, Nicola, is a member of this network and engages in regional and global events. The network is aptly described as “a diverse, collaborative, and joyful community that drives positive change”. Global Forums bring together leaders from all over the world to discuss and develop solutions to complex questions of our time. How to stabilize fragile societies? How can societies find a way out of violent conflicts? How to foster social inclusion of marginalized parts of the population? Results and recommendations are shared with international decision-makers and the larger public.

International Integrated Reporting Council
Global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession, academia and NGOs

Jonathon has undertaken various engagements for the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) since its inception in 2010: he served on two IIRC advisory groups (on Value Creation and Materiality); facilitated the GRI/IIRC Corporate Leadership Group on Integrated Reporting; and contributes to IIRC-accredited training courses. In South Africa, he was one of the initial members of the Working Group of the SA IR Committee, and was a lead author of the IRC’s 2011 discussion paper, ‘Framework for Integrated Reporting and the Integrated Report’, one of the first guidance papers on integrated reporting globally.  He has published various papers on integrated reporting, and represented ISO on the Global Reporting Dialogue.

Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL)
Working to empower individuals and organisations to tackle critical global challenges

Incite directors Jonathon and Nicola have been contributing to the design and delivery of CISL’s executive and practitioner programmes in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, since CISL opened their Africa office in Cape Town in 2004. Our training and collaboration with CISL has inspired hundreds of African delegates to sustainability thinking and practice.

“Jonathon and Nicola share their deep experience and expertise on our programmes in a way that inspires and empowers delegates. They all leave with ideas and strategies to drive change in their organisations.”  Elspeth Donovan – South African Deputy Director, CISL

Anglo American plc
Multinational diversified mining company, listed in London and Johannesburg

In providing strategic advisory to the Anglo American Group for over a decade, we’re clear that our role is not to “do” strategy, but to support the internal team responsible for driving it. Most recently, we facilitated a thinking space for developing a new Sustainability Strategy and Global Stretch Goals. We’ve previously provided guidance on the Climate Change Strategy for Anglo American Coal, and Incite director, Jonathon Hanks, has served on expert advisory panels for Anglo American plc and Anglo American Platinum. We’ve helped to draft Anglo American’s Group Sustainability and Transformation Reports since 2010.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Global standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards organizations.

Jonathon’s long involvement with ISO dates back to 1993 as a South African delegate at the birth of the ISO 14000 series on environmental management. In 2005, he led the South African delegation to the ISO process developing ISO 26000 on Social Responsibility. During that five-year process, Jonathon was elected to lead the global multi-stakeholder negotiations on the text, securing consensus – from more than 450 experts, 95 countries and 45 global organisations – on the principles and guidance on such issues as organisational governance, human rights, fair labour practices, the environment and consumer rights. He subsequently assisted ISO DEVCO in promoting social responsibility in the MENA region and East Africa. He served as ISO’s representative on the international Corporate Reporting Dialogue, alongside organisations such as CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC and SASB.

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ)
German government agency providing services in support of international development cooperation

GIZ’s highly skilled network fosters development cooperation in Africa and across the globe. The Competence Center for Cooperation with the Private Sector (SA) applies particularly innovative approaches to driving positive social impact. Incite worked with GIZ in developing and presenting Shared Value training (piloted in Berlin). Further engagement involved market analysis and stakeholder engagement in support of strengthening cooperation with the private sector in South Africa.

Uongozi Institute of African Leadership for Sustainable Development
Supporting African leaders in attaining sustainable development

Uongozi means leadership in Kiswahili; inspiring and strengthening leadership for sustainable development is the core purpose of this Tanzanian-based agency.  Incite has contributed to the African Leadership Forum, a dedicated space for frank discussion on the challenges facing Africa that is organised by the Office of the Former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, H.E. Benjamin W. Mkapa in conjunction with the UONGOZI Institute.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Supporting various UN agencies in driving improved corporate performance

Jonathon Hanks has served on various global forums and discussion groups with UNCTAD, UNEP and UNRISD aimed at  driving improved corporate performance and accountability. In partnership with UNCTAD and GIZ, he led the design and delivery of global CSR retreats in Geneva and Bangkok, as part of the Emerging Market Multinationals Network for Sustainability. He has also participated in academic engagements with UNRISD, and facilitated expert discussions in partnership with the Paris-based UNEP Industry and Environment Centre.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Global standard-setting body composed of representatives from national standards organizations.

Jonathon’s involvement with ISO dates back to 1993 as a South African delegate at the birth of the ISO 14000 series on environmental management. In 2005, he led the SA delegation in the development of the ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility. During that five-year process, Jonathon was elected to lead the global multi-stakeholder negotiations, securing consensus – from more than 450 experts, 95 countries and 45 global organisations – on the principles and guidance on such issues as organisational governance, human rights, fair labour practices, the environment and consumer rights. He subsequently assisted ISO DEVCO in promoting social responsibility in the MENA region and East Africa. He served as ISO’s representative on the international Corporate Reporting Dialogue, alongside organisations such as CDP, CDSB, GRI, IIRC and SASB.

WWF South Africa
The world's leading independent conservation organisation

We have worked with WWF South Africa on various projects aimed at driving improved corporate performance.  In addition to advising the NGO on the initial establishment of their Sustainable Business unit, we recently assisted them in reviewing the feasibility and nature of potential collaborative initiatives within the South African food and retail sector, aimed at addressing some of the nutritional challenges associated with the South African food system.

Global Child Forum
Swedish non-profit foundation advancing children’s rights

Founded in 2009 by King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia of Sweden, the Global Child Forum is a Swedish non-profit foundation established to advance children’s rights in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. One of the Forum’s main objectives is to work with business to create tangible initiatives and partnerships to advance children’s rights in their operations, supply chains and communities. Jonathon was appointed to moderate and facilitate the Global Child Forum’s business partnership conference held in Johannesburg in November 2016, hosted by Nedbank, together with the Global Compact Network South Africa and CRES (Corporate Responsibility to Eliminate the Sale of Children). The meeting was an important follow-up to the Global Child Forum on Southern Africa, which took place in Pretoria in September 2015 under the patronage of H.E. Mrs Graça Machel.

Oceana Group
Africa’s largest fishing company, and one of the top 10 seafood companies in the world by market capitalisation

Since its establishment as a small canning company on the west coast of South Africa one hundred years ago, Oceana has grown into the continent’s largest fishing group, involved in mid-water trawling (horse mackerel), deep-sea trawling (hake), and inshore fishing for pelagic fish. In support of their stated core purpose of “efficiently converting global fishing resources into shared value”, Incite has been providing advisory services to the Group since 2013, helping with their award-winning integrated reporting activities, as well as with elements of their sustainability communication and performance.

Pick n Pay Group
South African based grocery, clothing and general merchandise retailer, with operations in Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Swaziland and Lesotho

Our decade-long partnership with Pick n Pay spans strategy, training, reporting and employee engagement. We continue to engage with key practitioners and managers, as well as assisting with their sustainability reporting process. We were delighted when Incite intern Zandile Nkala was offered a job as Sustainability Manager at Pick n Pay in 2013. PnP executives and staff support Incite by providing interviews and insights for our research.

Nedbank Foundation
Managing the CSI spend of one of South Africa’s largest banks

Incite’s relationship with Nedbank Group spans more than a decade. We facilitate a periodic thinking space for the corporate sustainability team, reflecting on progress, frustrations and new opportunities. At a recent breakaway, we introduced the Nedbank Foundation team to Shared Value Innovator. By deepening their understanding of Shared Value patterns, they brought a new perspective to their allocation of CSI funds. (Photo credit: Tayla Kohler on Unsplash)

Discovery Group
South African based global financial services group, and global Shared Value leader

With the publication of Porter and Kramer’s 2011 Creating Shared Value, CEO Adrian Gore found a name for Discovery’s disruptive approach to insurance. With recognised global leadership in Shared Value Insurance, we shifted a seven-year advisory partnership into coaching mode. Agile, on-demand team and individual sessions provide a thinking space to work on what is needed: the relationship between Shared Value and sustainability; tweaks in the operating system to activate the sustainability culture; and personal support for practitioners guiding the journey.

Working with Incite has deepened my knowledge of Shared Value conceptually, but more importantly has allowed me the space to understand my role and contribution within the company.
Kathleen Ebersohn-Khuvutlu, Senior Sustainability Specialist

Mondi SA Forests
South African forestry business of international packaging and paper group Mondi plc

Culture eats strategy for breakfast, said management guru Peter Drucker. With this in mind, the WWF-Mondi Wetlands Programme team were prepared to ask some tough questions about their progress over the past 20 years. Incite facilitators were engaged to solicit frank input from a cross-section of executives and managers. Using these candid insights, we helped the team think through narratives and options to support the sustainability culture at Mondi Forests.

CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project)
The global disclosure system enabling companies, cities and states to measure and manage their environmental impacts

In 2006, prompted by the low level of awareness and engagement on climate change issues in the South African investment community, Jonathon approached the CDP’s head office in London to bring this global initiative to South Africa. After engaging with the NBI to secure their role as the local institutional partners, Incite led the CDP’s launch in South Africa in 2007.  For the next eight years, we undertook the annual analysis of the JSE 100 Climate Change responses, and more recently also undertook the analysis for the CDP SA Water Program.