Our 25th anniversary celebrations in May 2023 served as an opportunity for Genesis staff to gather for three days in our Johannesburg head office to highlight our values and purpose in a world that has changed significantly for us.
Genesis has almost doubled in size since our 20th celebrations and has opened five more offices since then. We have now worked in more than 100 countries - and increasingly in the Middle East and Asia.
The pandemic changed the way we worked. From a firm with a few offices, we shifted to a hybrid working environment. For colleagues working in physical isolation in countries scattered across the globe it became a virtual workplace. The 25th was a time to get to know each other and rediscover why our value of Siyakhana (we build each other in isiZulu) is the bedrock of the firm.
The celebrations on Day One started with drumming and then ice-breakers to introduce ourselves to colleagues we had only met online, or never. Everyone was asked to bring a photo of themselves in 1998, the year the firm was founded. This was an impossible task for some as they had not yet been born and only a minority of staff had started working.
We then moved into the activity of the day in sprint teams using our internal G+ teamwork methodology to get two tasks done: write a script for a video that would be made on Day Three; and cook a meal in a pot from a recipe for our supper that evening (something called a potjie in South Africa).
The day ended with Genesis Has Got Talent and the presentation of Masterchef aprons to the winners of the potjie competition, judged by our own Masterchef, Ma’m Gertrude.
Day Two was Delta Day. We dived into discussions about what AI is doing to the world of consultancy, highlighted focus areas in our new Delta Strategy that puts the Young World at the centre of our plans, and considered why a gender lens needs to be applied to all the transitions the Young World faces.
We were lucky to include outside speakers: Stefan Dercon, the renowned head of the Centre for the Study of African Economies at Oxford University, led a panel discussion on Politics, elites and development. Crispian Olver, executive director of South Africa’s Presidential Climate Commission, led a lively discussion on Getting to a Just Climate Transition: a report from the coalface. And American academic and author, Eisha Armstrong, led a discussion on Productization which looked at how Genesis can move from offering a range of services to products.
The other 12 insightful sessions were by colleagues from across the firm on: How we build peer-to-peer networks in Africa for better health outcomes; Building a business from scratch: lessons from Francophone Africa; Regulating the digisphere; Turning data into politics into outcomes: the story of Salient; Ethiopia today; Making every child count: the moral urgency and promise of early childhood education; Should the Young World care about a climate problem it didn’t cause? A view from East Africa; Lighting up the Young World: building bold narratives with data pictures; Multinationals as value multipliers in Africa; Social protection in the Young World. It was hard to decide which sessions to attend.
The last day was movie time as our 10 sprint teams were given a masterclass on video filming and editing on a mobile phone. The reels had to be in by lunchtime for judging. The afternoon of Day Three was an Amazing Race using G+. And then it was party time.
We gathered high in the sky on a Sandton rooftop to pay tribute to our founder Stephan Malherbe. Oscars were handed out for the best videos and there were prizes for our annual Fun Awards, where we vote for our colleagues in categories ranging from best dressed to who is always late or first at work.
From the rapid development of AI in the 21st Century to climate change and shifts in global demography, there are many challenges for our work. Our 25th gave us the platform to start working on them.
Sign up to Genesis News
for the latest news and information