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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Oct 2010

INFOTECH: USB Benefits From New Intelligent Software


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Students at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) are to be the first in Africa to benefit from the use of new intelligent software, SenseMaker after the business school teamed up with two partners to bring the software for the first time to an African university.

The USB has joined forces with global software firm Cognitive Edge and its sole South African distributor The Narrative Lab. SenseMaker is one of the few software systems to be built on the basis of natural rather than management science and is designed to supplement rather than replace human decision making.

According to Dr Marius Ungerer, Professor of Strategic Management at the USB, the software allows researchers to improve levels of interpretation and to discover new insights in research data. “The benefit for USB students is that the partnership gives them access to this state-of-the-art software to support their research. By using this software students will acquire additional skills which they will be able to take back and utilise in their workplace.”

Ungerer says USB researchers will also be able to use the theme-based research produced by students for further meta-analysis and insights in order to help understand complex problems better.

SenseMaker was originally developed in the context of risk assessment and anti-terrorism for Governments but has now been utilised in a number of other fields worldwide. The USB has chosen three themes for students to complete primary research by using SenseMaker: Strategic management, Leadership; and Coaching.

Steve Bealing, CEO at Cognitive Edge, says SenseMaker is designed to rejuvenate management practices in order to better equip organisations when addressing difficult problems or seizing new opportunities in complex situations. “Where traditional approaches have failed to deliver success, techniques originating from this intelligence software enable the emergence of fresh and insightful solutions from multiple perspectives.”

We have an ongoing commitment to education and South Africa and are very excited about this opportunity to support both through this partnership with the USB.  We see this as a long-term investment. Africa has a bright economic future and we want to support the education of future leaders of African businesses,” says Bealing.

The Narrative Lab, the South African implementation and training partner of Cognitive Edge, will provide specialist on-the-ground development, training and analysis support on the various research projects undertaken as part of this agreement.

"We are especially pleased to be assisting USB in this endeavour. Research projects of this nature will broaden the narrative paradigm and result in substantial research contributions," says Sonja Blignaut at The Narrative Lab.

SenseMaker has been adopted by many leading educations institutions around the world including, among others, University College London, University of Western Australia, North Carolina State University, Middlesex University, University of Surrey and University of Melbourne Business School.

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