Alistair Mokoena explains the symbiotic interaction between online and offline work spaces, and the need for deep digital skills post COVID-19.

Written by Topco Staff Writer


Head of Google South Africa, Alistair Mokoena, is a Professor of Practice in all spheres of his life, advocating for the pursuit of education and knowledge. Alistair believes that in order to grow and transform, South African businesses need to learn to adapt and upskill, by investing in digital tools.

In this week’s Business Unusual podcast, Ralf Fletcher, CEO of Topco Media engages in critical conversation with Alistair Mokoena to discuss the importance of digitalisation in businesses. From embracing failure to boosting accessibility – they unpack it all in length.  Alistair shares valuable messages of hope and purpose surrounding the challenges that all families and businesses are currently facing.

Key takeaways to listen out for in this podcast:

  • You must pursue education and knowledge in all its forms – we are always learning and adapting. This is essential for advancement in any field. Remember that research is a journey, not a once-off thing.
  • Read! Find out what’s happening around you. This way you will find your purpose in order to make a difference in life.
  • Always have respect and consideration for your audience, and listen to their opinions – this is imperative for producing products and services that have a lasting impact.
  • When building any brand or company, understand that whatever it is that you produce needs to be helpful and accessible, first and foremost.
  • Failure should be recognised and celebrated. This is the only way we learn what the best practices are.
  • In order to assist everyone working remotely through this time, partnering with the government is crucial for assisting employees and families with gaining necessary access to digital tools, such as Google Classroom and Google Input Tools.
  • People need to understand that small businesses are essential for economic recovery right now. However, they are facing a severe lack of resources. This needs to be remedied.
  • Small businesses can be empowered by being equipped with the best tools for taking advantage of the digital space; they need access to deep digital skills, digital certifications, training products, digital hubs etc.
  • The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here, and it’s here to stay. If you’re not equipped for this new way of life, you’re going to miss out on opportunities.
  • Invest in your business and digitalise. It is going to pay off in the end, as people are now living a fast-paced cycle of integrated online and offline praxes – the boundaries are constantly being blurred.


At present, Alistair Mokoena is the Country Director (SA) for Google ─ overseeing commercial business ─ which is located in Johannesburg, Gauteng. Mokoena, who has most recently served as Ogilvy South Africa CEO, has a long history in the South African advertising sector, having previously worked for the likes of Unilever, Mondelez and IAB South Africa. Today, with a strong background in branding and product development, he holds an LLB from Rhodes University, an MBA from MANCOSA and has just completed his PhD from the North West University School of Business (graduating in early December 2020). Recently, he was also appointed Professor of Practice by the Johannesburg Business School.


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