Think Future Breakaway Sessions

Understanding & Activating Impact Investing

Participants in this session will explore ways of harnessing Impact Investing in the Early Childhood Development space.

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Session Champions

Aunnie Patton Power: Founder, Intelligent Impact

Jamie Martin: Founder, Injini EdTech Incubator

Ashley Becker & Shikha Goyal: Omidyar Network

Making Business Future-Fit 

What does the Business Sector need in order to consider the Early Childhood Care and Education services ecosystem as a space of interest? Let’s take a deep dive into creating a value proposition that gets Business behind the Business of early childhood.

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Making good investments at the right time is fundamentally good for business. The same principle holds true for the development of the human brain.

There is no other time in the life of a human being when an investment in human capital will have as great – or as lasting – a return as the first six years after conception. Yet, we continue to invest significantly more per capita in primary, secondary and tertiary education than we do in these formative years. In short, we are investing too late and too little in our human capital.

What role for business? Responsibility for the development of human and social capital is a collective one, and each stakeholder group brings particular strengths and resources. Business is no exception. The business sector offers unique competencies that are desperately needed, but remain largely untapped.

Most businesses are aware of their social responsibility and contribute to worthy causes through CSI spend or volunteerism. Innovation Edge would like to challenge businesses to think bigger and bolder, to explore how their core business processes, platforms, products and people can be harnessed for social good, and in ways that are fundamentally good for business.

This session will inspire business leaders with innovative examples that illustrate how social impact can be Baked into business, rather than simply Bolted on via CSI. We will showcase best practices and explore how these might be applied in different business contexts.

We invite you to join us and to become a champion for change amongst your peers! 


Session Champions

Vuyo Jack: Co-founder and CEO, Empowerdex

Nyeleti Magadze: Governance and Group Company Secretary, Group – Governance, Hollard

Ian Gourley: Creative Director, Barrows Design and Manufacturing (PTY) Ltd

Megan Blair: Co-founder, Earlybird Educare@Work

Just Do It 

What’s needed to create a more enabling environment for social entrepreneurship to thrive? Join the discussion after listening to our Session Champions sharing their personal stories on grit, success and failing forward

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Resilience, Imagination, Ingenuity …. these are the characteristics we seek to nurture in all young children. These are the same characteristics that define successful entrepreneurs. How do we build an ecosystem that nurtures social entrepreneurship?

Four dynamic social entrepreneurs, driven by passion and purpose, will share their personal journeys of success and failure, highlighting the essential ingredients of an enabling ecosystem.  

Session Champions

Matsi Modise – Managing Director, Simodisa

Kopano Matlwa Mabaso: Author, Spilt Milk and Coconut

Tracey Chambers: Founder, The Clothing Bank

Afzal Habib: Co-Founder, Kidogo Early Years, Nairobi

Ezlyn Barends: Founder, Dreamgirls 

Customer expectations in a digital world 

Customer expectations are transcending traditional industry boundaries. Engage thought-leaders around the ways in which increased access to technology is shaping customer expectations of services, and what this means for early care and education.

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If we see parents and caregivers, teachers and even children themselves as customers within the early education space, we must understand how they expect to be engaged and what their “New Norm” is.

Customer expectations are being defined by their experiences of digital services and social media, such as MPesa, Uber, WhatsApp, Facebook. How do we use this knowledge to design early childhood care and education services and systems with our customer in mind? What does this mean for how we communicate with parents, how we upskill teachers, how we manage administrative and payment systems, how we report on children’s progress…. ?

Session Champions

Wayne Hull: Managing Director, Accenture Digital for South and Sub-Saharan Africa

Anne Connelly: International Chief Executive, the IXO Foundation

Handhelds as a Handup

Spend time exploring ways in which mobile phones can be used as positive disruptors for Early Childhood Care and Education.

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Mobile access has long been acknowledged as a major disruptor in many fields. The increasing adoption of smartphones in under resourced communities is now providing the opportunity to leverage that access in a powerful and impactful way for early childhood care and education. 

Beyond 160 characters: images, emoji, video, audio, GPS locations, contacts, personalization. Real-time analytics on end-user reach, engagement, and outcomes. Instant responses to time-sensitive questions using the latest machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques. These are the new building blocks for innovation in digital services for early childhood development. 

Participate in an interactive co-design workshop that will bring together the smartest minds to re-imagine the potential of disruptive messaging in the early childhood development sector and explore how this can be applied to enhance your impact at scale.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Session Champions

Gustav Praekelt: Founder and Chairman, the Africa-based Praekelt Group

Let’s Talk about Scale

The Early Childhood Care and Education services ecosystem needs new, bold innovations to happen quickly and at scale. Easier said than done? Join the conversation.

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Many of the best ideas fail to achieve their potential for disruptive, system-changing impact because they are never implemented at significant scale.

Applied research over the last 15 years has shown that there are principles and good practices on scaling up that, if followed, can increase the chances of successful scaling and sustainability. This includes building scaling up in from the beginning or designing for scale.

In this workshop, we will collectively identify some of the challenges to scaling, briefly share our experience on principles and good practices that facilitate successful scaling, and brainstorm and problem solve as to how to apply these principles to the ideas and innovations of workshop participants. 

Session Champions

Richard Kohl: Principal and Founder, Center for Large Scale Social Change

Anisa Haq: BRAC

Childhood by Design Living Lab

Harness the power of your ideas and creativity to co-imagine everyday places being transformed into engaging spaces.

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A Living Lab sparks the creation and movement of ideas to improve outcomes for our youngest children and their families. This Living Lab breakaway session will address the challenge of using design to reimagine everyday spaces as engaging spaces for all young children.

Focused on the end-user (children and parents) and using human-centered design principles, we will develop new ideas for better aligned, collective action between the early childhood field, the arts, design, placemaking, and architecture. 

Questions this session will consider include: 

How can artists and other creatives help create better everyday places for children and families? 

How can we leverage architecture, urban design, and placemaking with what we know about how place and the built environment impact young children and their families to improve outcomes? 

How can cities and neighborhoods take account of children in their planning? 

How do we create places that encourage all people to value the culture of childhood and to prioritize the experience of growing up?

Session Champion

Joe Waters: Co-founder and CEO, Capita

Wild Card Session

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To be co-designed by YOU at Think Future

Tackling the Top Ten

At the Inspire and Ignite Morning Kick Start  participants will have had the opportunity of being exposed to the top ten idea pitches resulting from the ideation workshops on Day 2.

The Tackling the Top Ten Breakaway Sessions will offer interested participants the opportunity to get behind the idea that most appeals to them. In these sessions teams will work together to turn promising ideas into powerful products or plans.

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More info coming soon.

Session Champions

These sessions will be led by the participant/s who pitched the idea.