About Us

Now! The Transition Journey is a fast track to anticipate, navigate and manage disruption.

Disruption in South Africa is happening as fast as anywhere in the world. Perhaps even faster due to emergent markets and transformation drivers, since we see disruption as a triple helix of:

  • exponential technology
  • market emergence
  • transformation & development.

 

It’s hard for anybody to keep up, so we compressed the most important things any company needs to know (and do) about disruption into an intensive primer. The primer includes an energised  two-day workshop with two half day follow-ups.

We start by distilling the big picture of what will drive disruption in your industry across the three strands of the helix. We undertake and share research into the deeper forces that lie behind current and emerging disruption drivers (such as multi-sided platforms, blockchain, African emergence, gaming, up-coming market segments, artificial intelligence, virtual worlds, smart cities and more) in your specific industry.

But we don’t stop there. We work with you to adapt your business model(s) to be disruption-proof and even better: to be disruptive! The business model is refined by building future scenarios with you to crystallise innovation and disruption potentials.  And we make it compelling by crafting a success story of how the company will thrive by managing disruption risks and seizing the opportunities.

Finally we work out the critical path needed to achieve the business model and prototype an optimum operating model. We end with a clear action plan.  

All with a minimum time “disruption” to keeping the business running!

The 5 NOW! Insights

The following insights are reflected in how we think about and design the work that we do

# 1: Disruption has just begun # 2: Transition management navigates disruption # 3: Human capital is fundamental # 4: Positioning is everything # 5: Capability maturity for sustainability

# 1: Disruption has just begun

The 4th industrial revolution has no historical precedent in regard to velocity, scope and systemic impact. It is evolving at an exponential pace, resulting in the disruption of almost every industry.

# 2: Transition management navigates disruption

Transition management is bold and courageous approach to manage a country, city, business or institution by looking at it as a system in transition. Successful transition management creates a spiral that reinforces itself, driven by multiple causalities and co-evolution.

Transition is a long-term, continuous process where inter-connected changes reinforce each other to change the system as a whole but take place in different areas e.g. technology, economy, institutions, ecology, culture, behaviour and belief systems. The philosophy of transition links past, present and future in the Now!, adding an historical perspective to what we would normally call “futurism”.

Of necessity, the first half of the 21st Century will involve a meta transition from an unsustainable to a much more sustainable planetary civilisation. Within this broad framework we identify seven mega transitions as “from-to” polarities, including an energy transition, a technology transition and a business & economy transition.

The systems-in-transition perspective is a window for anticipating, navigating and mastering disruption. We can do this by mapping out the networked linkages, triggers and feedback loops between transitions, root drivers, convergences, divergences, innovations and the market disruption which emerges.

But to manage transition successfully we also need to embrace three transitional dynamics within any enterprise or organisation:  

  1. the business life-cycle transition
  2. the talent life cycle transition
  3. the product life cycle transition

Now! The Transition Journey synchronises external and internal transitions to master disruption and sustain business competitiveness and sustainability in the energy of the 4th Industrial Revolution.

# 3: Human capital is fundamental

There are three levels where this insight is vital:

  1. Even as automation and Artificial Intelligence (AI) I will replace many facets of human work in the knowledge economy, the relative value of human as opposed to machine capability will increase. Human capital is this the key to “future proofing” companies
  2. Structures and process which support the agility and flexibility needed to master disruption are key, even as the customer journey and human capital become linked through transparent channels and social media.
  3. Our Transition Journey facilitators are adept at managing the strategic conversation but the content of that conversation must come from the client and the founder or leadership team. Deep insight into relevant convergences, innovations and disruptions in technology and business practices is most likely to be embedded in the people on the coal face.

# 4: Positioning is everything

In a world of constant disruption and a plethora of brands and business models, positioning is everything. Positioning is structural (geography, economic sector, platform and price / product mix) and competitive/ collaborative  (competitive differentiation, alliances and partnerships)

Positioning operates on many levels and asks the following questions:

  1. Meta Level: Who are we? What is our core purpose?
  2. Meso Level: In what space do we wish to play? How is that space being disrupted?
  3. Strategic Level: How do we play in that space, compared to competitors in that space? How do respond to or lead disruption? What disruptive alliances do we need?
  4. Operational level: How do we build the capabilities we need?
  5. Tactical level: How do we communicate and present ourselves in the customer journey ?

In a world of constant disruption it follows that these questions need to be asked frequently and could require repositioning the brand and re-focusing the communications strategy around key channels identified in the business model.

At the product development level design thinking is a solution focused and action oriented towards creating a preferred future. Design thinking draws upon logic, imagination, intuition, and systemic reasoning, to explore possibilities of what could be—and to create desired outcomes that benefit the end user (the customer).

# 5: Capability maturity for sustainability

With a disruption-proof business model, the challenge is to support it with a best-fit operating model that embraces digitization, advanced analytics, intelligent process automation (IPA), business process outsourcing (BPO), Lean process redesign and others (McKinsey 2017: the “next generation operating model”)

The transition from poor-fit or obsolete operating models is managed with a maturity model which can be viewed as a set of structured levels that describe how well the behaviours, practices and processes of an organization can reliably and sustainably produce required outcomes.

To measure the journey to capability maturity, a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) Framework is for transition management is required, which links the key transitions identified in the vision and articulated in the strategy, into indicators. These indicators link strategy with the transition management path.

Our Products

Start Now!

A group programme to design and actualize entrepreneurs’ and founders’ journeys to successful start-up

Right Now!

A single company programme to design and embed an enterprise journey from business as usual to Master of Disruption.

In the Now!

A group training and team building programme to understand and use futurist tools and models.

Avocado Pilot

A personal life strategy and transition management programme.
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Public Speaking Requests

for any of the following talks at corporate functions and conferences

The World in 2050: Superabundance? 

We live in an age of disruption that Shahid Solomon dissects as the necessary and inevitable symptoms of the transition from an adolescent, unsustainable civilisation to a mature, sustainable civilisation. By 2050 we will be living on planet that is dominated by China and India, is likely have stabilised its human population, has conquered all known diseases, developed environmentally sustainable technologies and begun to remove the grand inequalities and social ills that characterise the world in 2017.  But the transition journey to that point will be riddled with VUCA: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity.

Learn to Fly with Avocado Pilot  (Motivational)

Learning to fly means making room for realising the fullest potential of our future. It requires embracing the present, the past and the future and living to a life ambition that is inspiring, a lifestyle that works a personal brand that delivers and a clear plan going forward. Learning to fly is a process of making systematic transition path choices

This highly engaging and participative presentation by Shahid Solomon coaches “learner pilots” to:

  • Fly through transition: the interplay of past, present and future
  • Embrace their personal journey, or flight path
  • Understand the work, business, technology and societal transitions that the world is going through
  • Come to terms with the future transitions that lie before them and the choices that they need to make now in order to achieve the future that they want
  • Write the story of their lives as they want it to be lived
  • Be crystal clear about the next steps that they need to take in order to live the life, take the flight of their choosing
  • Maintain a Flight Navigation System of rolling targets and actions

Each participant is issued with the 17-Factor Novation 2050 Aviator Assessment Matrix © and develops four pictures of their personal future during the course of the presentation by applying the science of scenario planning. Participants take away a rich sense of future transitions and personal possibilities.

South Africa’s Rich and Rocky Transition Journey to 2030

By 2030, South Africa is projected to be the 23rd largest economy in the world up from the 31st in 2014. South Africa has a National Development Plan (NDP) to 2030 but the plan is deeply flawed. The NDP failed to take into account the long tail of the Global Financial Crisis, growing and intractable unemployment and the impacts of what we today call “state capture”. Rather than exploring scenarios and uncertainties, the NDP offered a rigid plan that has gone off track.

Shahid Solomon develops an alternative and optimistic view of South Africa’s transition 2017 – 2030 based on the inherent national capability to disrupt the negative perceptions and trends that characterise the 2017 mind-set. South Africa can capitalise on global transitions in the geopolitical balance of power, generational thinking, what it means to be human, technology, energy, ecology, business and the economy to emerge as the small, rich Switzerland of Africa. With sizeable obstacles in its path. He identifies seven reasons why South Africa could return to growth rates enjoyed in the early 2000’s and the opportunities that government, business and households should seize in order to craft a better story about South Africa’s future.

Joburg vs Cape Town
“Johannesburg or Cape Town? To invest, live, work, play or study?” The talk compares the two cities’ competitiveness present and / future: size, liveability, connectivity, live/work/play, cost of living, water and boldness of vision. Thanks to continental centrality, connectivity and size, Joburg will probably outstrip Cape Town in regards to numerical growth to 2030, but that competitive edge will not be sustainable unless Joburg does bold things to improve quality of life, liveability, and innovation-friendly infrastructure at large scale”.
Lessons From Cape Town's Water Disaster

 Cape Town’s current water crisis of 2016/7 is the start of a transition to a much drier region according to climate change models. But the City is facing many other transitions which, if not properly managed might prove to be time bombs.

The bars of Cape Town’s gilded cage include an unsustainable relationship with its environment, pernicious race-based inequality and grave disparities between the poverty and blight of the Cape Flats and the Northern / Southern growth areas. The Gilded Cage scenario remains constantly vulnerable to the Miami race riot scenario as an emerging generation of black millenials find themselves locked out of opportunity at all levels. A second nuclear power station on the precarious geology of Koeberg would power another 20 years of unsustainable growth.

 In the African Silicon Valley scenario the City aggressively develops the Bellville –Khayelitsha axis with a Science Technology and Innovation City and Aerotropolis that enables and capacitates explosive tech-driven growth, reconnects the city with its hinterland and greatly reduces the ecological footprint to conserve water, soil and energy.                

Staying on the Surfboard of Disruption

As a long time surfer, Shahid explains the basics of dealing with rivalry, catching waves, losing waves and wiping out. He applies it to the current business climate. When a big wave is about to rise up over a reef, thrashing water boils form. They can be strong enough to cause misalignment. This is over-futuring. The ocean supports multiple wave directions. Too singular a focus can be dangerous. Wipe-outs can be fatal or good failure experiences. Disruptive organizations learn through trial and failure to find the sweet spot and time of maximum yield. They develop the poise and agility to stay on the surfboard as they accelerate. They also know exactly where and when to pull out of a wave which is about to dump on a product or service.

Futurist Resources

Futurism:  futurism.com

Kurzweil:  kurzweilai.net

Michael Jackson:  shapingtomorrow.com

Patrick Dixon: globalchange.com

Richard Watson: nowandnext.com

Science Direct:  sciencedirect.com

The Guardian - Sustainable Business: theguardian.com/sustainable-business

Trendwatching:  trendwatching.com

World Futures Society: wfs.org

with highly experienced City Planner, Strategist and Futurist - SHAHID SOLOMON

SHAHID SOLOMON

Shahid Solomon is a highly experienced City Planner, Strategist and Futurist. He has a unique interest and specialised skills in working with the underlying forces or transitions that are re-shaping cities, South Africa and the world at large. He has facilitated scenario planning and designed long term economic and infrastructure strategies for South Africa and its largest cities including Cape Town, Johannesburg, Tshwane and Ekurhuleni as well as the Gauteng City Region’s 2055 Strategy. He has travelled extensively and presented seminars and insight presentations to audiences of many kinds.  He is a leading city visionary and is currently working on a plan to build an innovation city on Cape Town’s Northern corridor. As a practicing futurist he has developed “Now! The Transition Journey” a disruption-proofing programme for enterprises.

After graduating with distinction with a Master’s degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Cape Town in 1986, Shahid worked his way to executive level in planning and economic development in the City of Cape Town through its various transitions. He entered consulting practice in 2005 where he has worked on economic strategy, tourism, growth management, integrated planning and foresight strategies for cities, regions, provinces in South Africa and for South Africa as a whole.  As a leader and manager in the public sector for 17 years and in the private sector for 10 years, he has coached and developed people and teams in line, process and project settings. He has also managed mentoring enterprise development programmes, established and developed his own companies and mentored many entrepreneurs.  In addition to most of South Africa’s big cities, his clients have included Business Unity South Africa, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Industrial Development Corporation, the Johannesburg Development Agency and COFISA.

Recent Projects

City of Ekurhuleni:  Strategy Implementation Programme (Aug 2014 - May 2017)
Three-stage transition path for this city of 3, 4 million people 15 year urban infrastructure and investment programming. Corporate transition management strategies developed for:
  • Brand Management & Communications
  • Fleet Management
  • Human Settlement
  • Health & Social Development
SALGA Small Town Regeneration (2017)
Youth transition management framework and Restoration Centre for Ceres, Tulbach and Wolseley

JDA /City of Johannesburg: Commercialisation of Corridors of Freedom: (May 2016 – January 2017)
Commercialisation transition strategy with three Innovation / Regeneration Districts supported with urban management measures and incentives

City of Tshwane: Tshwane 2055 Review (2016)
Comprehensive review of Tshwane 2055 with a programmatic approach to the 2016 /2021 IDP
Johannesburg Development Agency: Hillbrow Tower Precinct Area-Based Management Plan (2016)
Area based urban management model that developed a range of practical measures to manage Hillbrow’s transition to liveable inner city high rise village

Greater Tygerberg Partnership: Programme Management Executive: (January 2013 - August 2014)
25 year Regeneration Framework for transition of Voortrekker Road Corridor and Cape Town’s Second Node including a new metropolitan station and nodal complex for Bellville, a regional Technology Incubator and an integrated air /sea/road/rail global logistics platform.

Our Partners

The Now! TTJ Team

Meet the Team

The Now! team are tenacious and seasoned practitioners with a high level of rapport and synergy with each other through working together in various capacities and settings over many years.

Shahid Solomon is a rainmaker, strategist, futurist and city planner with 35 years of experience.  

Zesuliwe Mkhize is a qualified coach, seasoned project and programme manager and social policy expert.

Busi Mhaga is an entrepreneur, transport and economic development specialist with more than 20 years of experience.

Buyisiwe Mncwabe is a seasoned entrepreneur and business developer who manages financial, administration, logistical and client management functions in the company.  

Akona Bovula is a Bcom graduate with a passion for business and development

Andiswa Mncwabe has is a Business Management graduate who specialises in customer relationship management.

Contact Us

Office number: 011 486 1126
Email address: info@thetransitionjourney.com

          

Physical Address:

  • 406 Great Martinhall Manor,
    5 Riviera Road, Killarney,
    Johannesburg, 2193