A lawyer, a communication specialist and a change manager walk into a bar…

You know what they say about all work and no play…

At Novation we spend an above average amount of time talking, reading, watching series, cycling, drinking wine and playing Lego. We just don’t talk about it that much.

So whilst reflecting on the incredible 2018 that the company had, we asked each Novationer to answer a handful of questions about the past and the upcoming twelve months. In particular about their best reads, because we’re ultimately all a little nerdy.

Ilze Luttig Hattingh

Book of 2018?
The power of habit: why we do what we do in life and business, by Charles Duhigg, was a fascinating read. 40% of what we do is habitual – it is practically unconscious! The book explains how habits are formed and changed in individuals, organisations and societies. It taught me that even a small positive change can have a massive positive impact.

Song of 2018?
Freaking Out by Arizona

Highlight of 2018?
That five minutes in which we hired two new people.

Looking forward to in 2019?
Growing the Novcon family.

Personal goal for 2019?
Learning how to create and use pivot tables in Excel. Travelling to and celebrating my 40th birthday in Slovenia.


Thalia Kritzas

Book of 2018?
I loved The subtle art of not giving a fuck because of its fresh approach to life and views on positive and negative experiences. Sometimes choosing to see the positive in a negative experience is better than constantly desiring more positive experiences.

Song of 2018?
Rise by Jonas Blue (because it got Elizabeth and I amped on our drive from Novcon HQ to HPJ HQ).

Highlight of 2018?
So many! But one of my favourites was being asked whether Ilze was my mother.

Looking forward to in 2019?
Watching this kickass company expand!

Personal goal for 2019?
To upgrade from Padawan status.


Cobus Greyling

Book of 2018?
Astrophysics for People in a Hurry. In a way, it’s more extraordinary that way, anyway. You will learn about gravitational lensing, what dark matter really is, and to question existence itself. You will be thankful for having done the latter.

Song of 2018?
Star Fighter by Wice.

Highlight of 2018?
Learning that life without loved ones isn’t much of a life at all. And learning to put people first.

Looking forward to in 2019?
Personally, making some progress on my indie game, and, professionally, learning the right skills to be an asset for the company.

Personal goal for 2019?
Making as much progress on my doctorate as possible and not neglecting my physical or mental health.


Jana Walters

Book of 2018?
The subtle art of not giving a fuck, by Mark Manson.

Song of 2018?
It’s a toss up between Lorde’s Royals and Don’t you forget (about me) by Simple Minds.

Highlight of 2018?
Joining Hey Plain Jane.

Looking forward in 2019?
Developing my writing skills, and plain language writing skills and technical stuff.

Personal goals for 2019?
Going for a walkabout in Spain/France/Jonkershoek aka Jana Walker.


Liezl van Zyl

Book of 2018?
What to expect when you’re expecting pretty much sums up my year.

Song of 2018?
It’s not so much a song as a John Legend lyric: My head’s under water, but I’m breathing fine.

Highlight of 2018?
How do I choose?! Personally it was obviously the birth of my baby girl. Professionally it had to be the incredible support from the Novation and Hey Plain Jane team while I was away; adding Jana to our band of merry men; and seeing our plans come to life. Also learning that adulting is hard, but not lethal.

Looking forward in 2019?
Finally officially launching Hey Plain Jane; a little office make-over; and working with new people.

Personal goals for 2019?
Yes! But what are you going to do with that personal information?


Ann Jarvis Smith

Book of 2018?
Chasing the Scream by Johann Hari. It shows how sometimes putting very rigid rules in place has the exact opposite effect of what was intended. Instructing people not to do something without effective support only makes them want to do it more. Hmm, this change management thing gets in everywhere.

Song of 2018?
Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. I’m a sucker for a great song in a great movie.

Highlight of 2018?
Taking a leap without a safety net and realising that when you do that, the right people show up just at the right time

Looking forward to in 2019?
Working with those right people.

Personal goal for 2019?
Turn 50. I think surviving that is enough of a challenge for one year.


Paul Esselaar

Book of 2018?
Maps of meaning by Jordan Peterson. It goes to the heart of why we do things and often shows that we don’t really understand ourselves, although we think we do.

Song of 2018?
Shallow by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. For the true nerds, it was Andromeda Liberati by Antonio Vivaldi as sung by Philippe Jaroussky.

Highlight of 2018?
Elizabeth’s personal growth.

Looking forward to in 2019?
Branching out into new areas.

Personal goal for 2019?
Swimming 1600m in icy Cape Town water without a wetsuit. [Editor’s note: Paul, will that be in a speedo then?]


Elizabeth de Stadler

Book of 2018?
Nudge by Cass R. Sunstein, Richard H. Thaler is the ultimate book about change management – why people do (or don’t do) things. I am hoping it will help me design super-manipulative training!

Song of 2018?
Freaking Out by Arizona. But if I admit that I love a little bit of country, it’s Diane by Cam.

Highlight of 2018?
Coming up with Novation’s five-year plan.

Looking forward to in 2019?
The final season of Game of Thrones.

Personal goal for 2019?
To watch Game of Thrones.

2018-12-13T12:39:34+00:00By |News|