Wits Innovation Centre (WIC)

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Letlotlo Phohole, Senior Programme Manager of the Wits Innovation Centre (WIC)Letlotlo Phohole

Senior Programme Manager

“My vision for the WIC is to ignite a passion for innovation and progress in all Faculties, inter-Faculty entities and members of the Wits community, with a focus on serving society through our efforts. We will achieve this by continuously embracing the spirit of learning, challenging our own mental models and collaborating with a diverse range of stakeholders both within and beyond the university. By doing so, we will maintain Wits as a leader in shaping the future and creating positive impact.”

Letlotlo Phohole is a seasoned technology and innovation management professional with over 25 years of experience spread across industry, government agencies, academia and entrepreneurship.

He has a proven track record of integrating engineering, systems engineering, technology management and business consulting to create effective holistic solutions that benefit multiple industries like mining, manufacturing, automotive, aerospace & defence, arts & craft and freight logistics.

Before officially joining the Wits Innovation Centre, Phohole played a key role in developing the Wits Strategic Plan on Innovation (2022 – 2026) and will continue to establish the Centre as a leading interface for research-led, researcher-led, and student-led innovation at Wits in collaboration industry and the National System of Innovation.

He has extensive experience in developing and implementing technology and innovation management strategies and technology transfer vehicles, and is very passionate about small business start-up development & support, education and training, and innovation-based enterprises.

Phohole holds an MSc in Technology and Innovation Management and has been instrumental in applying systems engineering to tackle wicked problems. He has taught systems thinking courses through various Wits institutions, as well as conceptualised the MIT FabLab Certification program - an informal, peer-to-peer, project-based technical education, now called Fab Degree.

His previous roles include, Acting Director of the Wits Transnet Centre of Systems Engineering (TCSE) and the Transnet Matlafatšo Centre, as well as the Chief Technology and Systems Officer of the TCSE; General Manager: Advanced Manufacturing at the Technology Innovation Agency; Technical Lead for the National Foundry Technology Network (a DTIC initiative on Technology Localisation); Technical Centre Manager at the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Strategy Implementation Unit (A DSI initiative); and Technology Analyst for DebTech (the R&D wing of De Beers Consolidated Mines).

In 2020, Phohole led a team of Wits heroes involved in designing and producing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers during the Covid-19 pandemic.

His experience has shaped his personality towards a higher degree of self-awareness, adaptive capacity and the competencies to thrive in any future.