We firmly believe that to shape a more sustainable outlook, a shift from social investment to social innovation is critical. In line with this thinking, we launched an initiative called the Challenge Revolution. The concept brings together several major business initiatives, including the Challenge Convention series, the Innovation Challenge and the Mentorship Challenge.
These initiatives all reflect our belief that we need to remainrelevant and forward-thinking by considering and collaborating with the people in and around our properties, to identify and address their real needs in a truly South African way. Through this focus, we are able to tackle real business and social challenges such as transformation and skills gaps, while remaining relevant and offering better experiences in our spaces.
The Challenge Convention
As we move from investment to involvement, our approach has evolved too. Termed the Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) approach, our methodology recognises the community as partners who possess the agency and skills to develop and support solutions for sustainable transformation.
In its initial phase, our ABCD approach with regard to Maponya Mall involved extensive engagements with over 1 000 community members, communitybased organisations, local NGOs, political representatives and local businesses and entrepreneurs. The culmination of this engagement process was our first Challenge Convention at Maponya Mall – a live forum-style event that encourages open debate and discussion on topical issues, with the goal of moving from conceptual thinking to practical implementation.
In April this year, we hosted our second Challenge Convention – again at Maponya Mall – where we provided feedback to the community on the high priority issues we had identified together, and we discussed the innovation solutions identified to address these.
After the convention, we followed a tender process to make the identified projects a reality and to deliver the outcomes we hope to achieve. We are now in a strong position to implement sustainable solutions and thereby support real and enduring change in our Soweto community.
The Innovation Challenge
The Redefine Innovation Challenge is our answer to the question: How do we encourage innovative ideas that integrate our stakeholders’ needs and thereby differentiate us in a fiercely competitive space?
The Innovation Challenge is a competition across South Africa to generate ideas from entrepreneurs and innovators from all walks of life that either re-thinks, re-invents or re-configures the physical spaces we occupy and interact within, or creates an entirely new way of doing things, in the office, retail mall and industrial property arenas.
The winner of the first Innovation Challenge, Mary- Ann Mandishona, scooped top honours with her Cash4Trash concept – a recycling initiative, powered by vending machines strategically located in ‘green zones’ in the mall, where the community can bring their recyclable trash to be converted into usable coupons in the mall.
Through this direct type of engagement, we hope to generate more implementable ideas that will set Redefine apart and make a meaningful difference to our stakeholders by integrating community needs into our spaces, improving tenant experiences and uplifting entrepreneurial finalists.
The Mentorship Challenge
The Redefine Mentorship Challenge, created to make a real difference in people’s lives, demonstrates our commitment to our country and its future leaders. The programme allows ordinary South Africans to connect with legendary leaders in every possible field. From the very start, the intention was to revive and entrench a culture of mentorship in a skills-scarce South Africa – to create a rich resource of masterclasses to be drawn on by future leaders and promising entrepreneurs who may not otherwise have access to these insights. Enabled through an interactive online platform, the Mentorship Challenge allows thought leaders to share their wisdom and insight, leaving a legacy for future generations.
Together, these initiatives are driving positive change in the lives of our stakeholders – aligning firmly with our purpose.
Going forward, we believe that it will be this type of out-of-the-box thinking that will support business success and make a lasting impact in our communities, and across our country.