11:30-12:00 Cultural Intelligence in Science

Presenter: Mr Nkululeko Mthembu

Mr Nkululeko Mthembu

I am Nkululeko Mthembu, Director at PISTA, a design and innovation firm at the intersection of design thinking, cultural intelligence and technology. The meeting of these three disciplines is what I call innovation.

Through research, speaking and designing products and services, I unlock systems change to help organisationsrealise innovation. A multi-faceted combination of these disciplines help me solve problems in education, technology, government and corporate Africa.

I am responsible for Durban Hub and Startup Kwazulu Natal, initiatives geared to creating an enabling for innovation & entrepreneurship in the region.

We start by defining what cultural intelligence is not. It is not: something derived from clever marketing tools; an myriad of digital insights that inform marketing practices; a device that is on standby and called on when needed.

We begin by understanding cultural intelligence as the air that brings life to humans, the core of what informs daily human decisions, an underlying sense of connectedness and belonging innately placed before the idea of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs creeps into an adolescent youth on their path to existential inquiry.

Cultural intelligence is the idea that culture inherently is and of itself a sentient being, a living, breathing thing, in other words human; one with thoughts, ideas and basic survival instincts. To push the envelope, the idea of its own existence in the broader category of other social nuances.

Cultural insights is a more passive and evasive stance in understanding the makeup of a tribe.