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Mining production process innovation : critical success factors to intersystem innovation at Jwaneng Mine Botswana

Mkonto, Strength (2009-03)

Thesis (MPhil (Information Science))--University of Stellenbosch, 2009.


The strategic focus in many organisations is on innovation. This is driven by the need to grow and sustain shareholder value. Innovation takes the form of business process innovation, technological innovation and social innovation through acts of organisational restructuring. Innovation strategies have become a priority for the mineral resource sector. This is due to the constraints imposed on business growth by the finite nature of the mineral resources. The need for innovation brings two organisational aspects into focus. These are the organisational system constituted of structure, process, culture and people and the business system constituted of strategy, throughput activities, resource configurations, and product or service offerings. The two systems are in constant interaction. Innovation is therefore an emergent phenomenon dependent upon interaction of such systems. A Systems approach is required to analyse the complex interactions that take place between the two systems in organisations. The Jwaneng Mine Production Interface (JMPI) consists of several inter-dependent subsystems and it is therefore appropriate to analyse it as an intersystem. The research focuses on the factors that impact the business system and the organisation system. Innovation requires the development of competencies and capability in people constituting the organisation. The way people interact with technology can be a determining factor for innovation. Theories of technology and social systems provide an important insight on how social and technological systems can be organised for innovation. The developmental paths of an organisation are influenced by its culture and structure. Theoretical insights are used to gain deeper understanding of how innovation can be derived from organisational systems and business systems. To gauge the status of innovation activities in the JMPI, specially selected case studies are used for detailed analysis. In addition, appropriate benchmarks in similar and dissimilar industries are also utilised. The critical success factors to mining production innovation are found to be social, structural and technological in nature. Innovation is shown to cover the whole life cycle of the business product or service offering. The design for innovation therefore requires a holistic approach that incorporates strategy, organisational structures, technology, business processes, leadership and people.

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