LONDON, Aug. 15, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Based on its recent analysis of the minerals and mining industry, Frost & Sullivan recognizes Exxaro Resources Ltd (Exxaro) with the 2013 Africa Frost & Sullivan Award for Visionary Innovation. Exxaro has a strong vision for innovation and a robust, systematic and technology innovation process to generate and implement ideas.
One of Exxaro's major business model innovations has been the establishment of a cleaner and renewable energy business, Cennergi, in partnership with Tata Power of India, as part of its energy strategy. Cennergi was formed to feed the national grid and third-party customers and focuses on greener power production to contribute to lowering Exxaro's carbon emissions and positioning South Africa as proactively driving sustainability.
"Exxaro aspires to increase its market capitalisation from $7 billion in 2012 to $20 billion by 2020, and is tuning innovation efforts to this end," said Frost & Sullivan Industry Analyst Philip Hoekstra. "Its innovation philosophy is based on the principles of Envisage, Communicate Vision, and Entrench Vision."
Exxaro actively seeks to identify global mega trends affecting the mining sector and those that affect its business. The company envisions innovation as a pathway to sustainability and long-term shareholder value. It utilizes corporate communications to foster a culture of innovation and increase the visibility of its innovation programmes, generating excitement and changing cultural perceptions. Finally, it is entrenching innovative thinking throughout the organization and encouraging employees to contribute to this process.
Exxaro's NEXT Programme was launched in 2012 as part of the 'innovation culture' drive. The focus of the programme is sustainability in environment, technology and employee development; and looks at three horizons - Vision 2020, Vision 2030 and Vision 2050. In addition to considering a range of other opportunities, the programme seeks to identify the technological developments required for a sustainable future business and to develop visionary leadership.
In 2010, Exxaro began to revamp organisational innovation to encourage innovation and blue sky thinking. The initial focus of this programme was technology R&D. In 2012, Exxaro launched a project called 'Internalising Systematic Innovation' to apply learning in technology innovation to HR, supply chain, growth and commodity businesses.
An idea management system has been developed to capture employee ideas. Depending on the type and level of an idea, it would move to an appropriate structure. For example, breakthrough or high-impact ideas would typically go up to the community of practice level, where it is ranked, evaluated, flagged and incubated. From here it goes to an appropriate business unit or R&D where it is further developed.
"Exxaro places great emphasis on the strategic alignment of ideas. Innovators must choose a level of strategic alignment when recording ideas, and slot them into 'sustainability,' 'improve reputation,' 'leadership and people,' 'improve portfolio,' and 'operational excellence,'" noted Hoekstra. "This demonstrates the effectiveness of Exxaro's systematic innovation process in channelling a variety of ideas from the idea generation stage through to implementation thereof."
Exxaro believes that the main stimulus for corporate innovation is acquiring and retaining the right talent pool. To achieve this, it is developing a profiling canvas that will be used to determine the skills and capabilities of prospective innovation practitioners and compare it against benchmarked innovation profiles.
"The company is in the process of integrating this innovation profiling tool with its standard recruitment process and HR strategy," observed Hoekstra. "This will enable it to become an employer of choice and a leader in the innovation space."
Each year, Frost & Sullivan presents this award to a company that demonstrates outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as competitive strategy, leadership, technology, and product development. The Visionary Innovation Awards underscore superior planning and execution of business processes including strategic alliances, mergers and acquisitions, distribution strategies, research and development, product launches, and customer service.
Frost & Sullivan Best Practices awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis and extensive secondary research to identify best practices in the industry.
About Exxaro Resources Ltd.
Exxaro is a South African based diversified resources company, founded in 2006. It is one of SA's largest diversified mining companies with interests in the coal, iron ore, char, titanium products, and energy markets. Exxaro employs approximately 7,000 people and in 2012 was rated in the top 10 of the Top 40 listed companies on the JSE. Market capitalisation in 2012 was US$7.1 billion.
About Frost & Sullivan
Frost & Sullivan, the Growth Partnership Company, works in collaboration with clients to leverage visionary innovation that addresses the global challenges and related growth opportunities that will make or break today's market participants.
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