NLC Innovation Hub Profile feature

  1. What is your name, title and the name of your organisation?

Thabang Charlotte Mampane, Commissioner of the National Lotteries Commission

  1. Tell me about the work you do at NLC?

The National Lotteries Commission is the regulator of the National Lottery and all other lotteries in South Africa. From our regulatory activities, we generate revenue to fund good causes in the sectors of Charities, Arts & Culture and Sport and Recreation.

As the Commissioner, I am accountable to the board for the performance of all financial, administrative and clerical functions, as well as any duties which may be delegated to the board. I am responsible for ensuring that the Commission applies the principles of openness and transparency, exercise the functions assigned to it, that

(a)   The National Lottery and sports pools are conducted with all due propriety and strictly in accordance with the Constitution, this Act, all other applicable laws and the license for the National Lottery, together with any agreement pertaining to that license; and

(b)   The interests of every participant in the National Lottery are adequately protected.

The Commission upon request by the Minister, board or on its own initiative in consultation with the board, conduct research on worthy good causes that may be funded without lodging an application prescribed in terms of the Lotteries Act.

As well as that the Commission:

  • Promotes public knowledge and awareness by, amongst others—
    1. develops and implements educational and informational measures to educate the public about the lotteries and provisions of the Act
    2. educating the public by explaining the process, requirements and qualifications relating to the application for grants in terms of the Act.
  1. How did lockdown affect the way you work?

Covid-19 and the impact of lockdown has forced many organizations to adapt their way of working to uphold general productivity and still achieve strategic KPI’s.  Fortunately, the NLC was already geared to adapt to a virtual environment, something we took up steadily since the rollout of provincial offices in recent years. This has allowed for some on-site activity in order for business entities to evolve and to be sustainable. We’ve managed to navigate our office routines into remote working protocols by adhering to the following principles:

  • Maintain routine: As creatures of habits, we tend to seek routine which is why we encouraged our staff to do this remotely.
  • Love Yourself: We’ve rolled out several interventions through our Employee Wellness Programme which we’ve named Zithande (love yourself). These include physical wellness, and emotional support and resources to aid employees to cope with the impact of Covid-19 on various levels.
  • Policy: Remote work policies contributed to our employee’s happiness and also inspired them to stay.
  • Stakeholders: The need to stay in touch with our stakeholders introduced the use of new applications, online programmes and virtual meeting rooms.
  • Innovative thinking: Establishing remote working environments called for a reinvented business and operational strategy.
  1. What Changes did NLC make to cope with the pandemic?

From the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the NLC proved itself agile and quick to respond to beneficiary needs, which in turn, strengthened our resolve to develop an innovation strategy that will help to build a powerful culture of innovation throughout our organization.

The nature of our business is dynamic, and with this game-changing new initiative, we are looking for wide-ranging new and revitalized products, services and solutions across the spectrum of our business, including our processes, structures, models, culture, brand positioning, stakeholder experiences, and communication distribution channels.

Our strategic plan for 2020 – 2025 reaffirms the central tenets of the innovation strategy; especially in the vision: ‘To be a global innovative leader in regulating safe and sustainable lotteries and sports pools’, and as espoused in our mission ‘To ensure better regulation and social upliftment through innovation’.

The growing digital needs of stakeholders and the high level of non-compliant applications require us to come up with innovative ways of utilizing online platforms for education and awareness

  1. Tell me about the Digital Innovation Hub?

NLC Digital Innovation Hub (The Hub) is inspired by our recently adopted Innovation Framework & Strategy. One of the key pillars of our strategy relies on building our internal capacity to innovate, develop, and implement an Innovation Hub. The Hub will play a pivotal role in creating a transparent, exciting, and fun innovative culture. It will provide us with the digital and collaborative workspace required to observe & learn, effectively raise & vet ideas, evaluate the pros and cons of each business concept, and make educated decisions about how to proceed.

The Hub’s shared workspace will consist of a comprehensive set of templates and give teams a place where they can compile, post, and share important information on innovation projects. It will be a place where teams can explore new trends & technologies and discover customer frictions.

The rewards of seeing ideas grow to prototypes and ultimately to new stakeholder deliverables and business solutions it is what we, as NLC, are striving for. The Hub will be the enabling digital platform, which together with the newly adopted innovation framework, will create a powerful and collaborative eco-system that will ignite innovation within NLC 

  1. What do you enjoy most about what you do? Why?

For the past 30 years I’ve been involved in building communities and creating opportunities for people to develop skills, knowledge and capabilities that will create the necessary enthusiasm to reach for the stars. As commissioner of the NLC, my passion towards people & community is fulfilled, daily, as our organization not only empower South Africans, but also continuously change the lives of people for a better future.

By building communities, I have an opportunity to provide something to society that sounds unsexy, but is so fundamental to human happiness: a place of trust and belonging, In today’s increasingly disconnected and divided world, it is easier than ever to feel lonely, to doubt people’s intentions around us. Providing people with a place/sense of belonging is why I get up every morning, as I know that my efforts creates a space and time for people to be more connected, to feel loved, to become inspired and to seek opportunity to instill a better future for themselves.

  1. What makes you good at being commissioner at the NLC?

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example “John Wooden. Ever since I started my journey as commissioner of the NLC, my quest has always involved sharing unique experiences and learned principles. Knowing my purpose and understanding my role allows me to be a dynamic leader to those around me. Among other professional roles, I spent over 20 years at the SABC in various leadership roles, including leading the team that developed the Broadcasting strategy and plan for the 2010 Soccer World Cup. My experience requisite qualifications allows me to always question the “status quo” to push myself and my team to greatness.

I had the privilege to obtain the following academic qualifications that has aided myself in my career:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Public Administration and Political Science, from North West University.
  • Bachelor of Arts Honours in Public Administration from the University of South Africa
  • Master’s Degree in Management (Public and Development Management) from Wits Business School and in addition
  • General Management Certificate and Executive Development Programme from Wits Business School.

There’s a false impression that success and being great at what you do, comes with being flashy. This notion comes from the media focusing on outliers, whether it be events or personalities which diverge from the norm. I’ve always focused on running my own race and to remain consistent in what I do. Consistency isn’t necessarily the easiest way to success, but one that can be achieved with a higher level of certainty, rather than hoping for someone to “discover” you.

There is a famous saying from Napolean Hill which says, “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”. I would actually argue that quote should be, “If you cannot do great things, do small things a great number of times”. By focusing to consistently achieve small wins, I’ve managed to accomplish great things, through consistently persevering towards greatness.

  1. What did you want to be when you were a child? Why?

When I was a child, I wanted to go to university and become a teacher – (My parents, aunt and uncles were teachers), I also wanted to be a teacher so that I could conduct a choir.

As a child I have always been drawn to people. While growing up, my parents and their siblings were teachers, caring for young people and investing their time and energy in enhancing the learning experience of their students. I have always been drawn to the profession of teaching as I consider it to be the most invigorating and fulfilling thing one can do with one’s life.

Teaching is the kind of career where no day is the same. Kid’s ability to learn changes constantly, which in essence is one of the elements that was contradictory to my personality of being consistent in all that I do on a daily basis. However the love of teaching and changing lives is still what I am able to fulfil today.

  1. If you were eligible to win the lottery – what would you do with the winnings?

In my line of work, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing some life changing moments in granting people the necessary funds to achieve their dreams. As people we tend to look close to home first when fortune strike, which is why I would use some winnings to empower members of my family who are not well off. As my passion in life is towards building communities and empowering people to achieve greatness, I would also start a bursary fund towards aiding those with the desire for tertiary education, that’s otherwise not able to obtain higher education. Being educated is the most empowering force a human being can come to possess, as it not only opens up doors to a better a life, it also allows you to communicate on the same level as some of the great leaders in our society.

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