By Charndré Emma Kippie
The need for a better, faster, more user-friendly, innovative and efficient way of meeting beneficiaries’ needs is behind the National Lotteries Commission’s (NLC’s) launch of a new Digital Innovation Hub to internal and external stakeholders.
Thabang Charlotte Mampane, Commissioner of the NLC believes that from the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the National Lotteries Commission (NLC) proved itself agile and quick to respond to beneficiary needs, which in turn, strengthened their resolve to develop an innovation strategy that will help to build a powerful culture of innovation throughout the organisation.
We caught up with Thabang to get her take on the new Digital Innovation Hub, and find out what advice she has for young entrepreneurs in South Africa.
Please could you tell us a bit about your background – how did you get to this point in your career?
Upon completing my first degree in 1980, I worked as an assistant training officer at the Public Services Commission of the then Bophuthatswana Public Service. I worked for the Human Science Research Council for a year – as an Assistant Technical Officer for Research. Thereafter, I spent 27 years in the Information and Communications/Broadcasting Industry.
I attained an Honours degree from UNISA and a Masters from Wits Business School. In 2012 I applied for a job as CEO of the National Lotteries Commission. Initially, this was a 5 year contract, which was extended with another 5 years which expires in September 2022.
What excites you the most about the work that you do?
Creating opportunities for people to be empowered, as well as to empower others on a matter that changes their lives in an impactful manner.
Please briefly tell us about the new Digital Innovation Hub.
This jump is meant to leapfrog the use of technology in the organisation, to improve our service delivery, and improve on efficiencies. We also hope to create job opportunities.
What’s different about this new initiative? What are some of the benefits?
We’ve moved from operating manually, following processes that take a long time to complete. We now have effective communication in our responsibility of regulating the Lottery Industry, as well as the distribution of funds for good causes.
What 3 tips do you have when it comes to implementing new tech/digital solutions in your field?
- Create an enabling environment
- Allow innovations and the space to experiment and fail
- Provide support and resources – do away with the red tape (bureaucracy)
What are some milestones that you’ve achieved at the NLC?
We already have, and are proud to be working with two incredible tech ‘nerds’. We’re proud of having invented an App that assists with the management and tracking of Assets. And are happy to be developing a tool for declaration of interest.
In terms of personal milestones, I improved service delivery through decentralization and establishment of provincial offices – taking services to the people. I am also proud to have run a clean administration and attained 5 clean audits and 5 hundred percent performance of NLC. Another milestone is achieving the effective implementation of a model to monitor the Lottery operator.
Have you read any books that have inspired you and your career thus far?
- Closing the gap by Prof Tshilidzi Marwala
- The Fourth Industrial Revolution by Klaus Schwab
What is your ‘why’ i.e. Bottom line? And how do you stay motivated?
Outside of work, are you involved in any extracurricular activities and/or community outreach projects?
I am involved in many outreach projects at church, as well as feeding schemes – once a month for unemployed and homeless people in my area (Roodepoort).
What advice do you have for young entrepreneurs in South Africa?
Failure is a step towards success – Strive for success. Don’t be afraid to fail.
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