A perspective on innovation in South Africa

Enhancement and positive development of a collaborative innovation and science ecosystem.

A national system of innovation (NSI) is a reflection of the various institutions, organisations, individuals and stakeholders that contribute in some way to the innovation efforts of a country. The better these individual elements of the system work together, the higher the innovative performance becomes, and ultimately, all the good things that come from innovation can be realised.

To help accomplish this design, RIIS organised a workshop on behalf of the client with the outcomes of mapping the already existing science and innovation ecosystem community. The workshop consisted of an interactive world café as well as a graphical recording made up of infographics and narratives merged with the 2013/2014 research and development survey. The graphical recording was used to reflect the thoughts and insights sourced from the world café.

This world café acted as a tool to explore the constraints and opportunities related to the South African NSI, to enhance the system and thus the country. Complimentary to the above, the world café allowed open dialogue to identify specific opportunities for ecosystem enhancement while capturing the viewpoints and recommendations of the delegates from across multiple sectors. These include all stages of private sector activity, government, academia, and civil society.

The final deliverable was an informative report highlighting the qualitative elements of the innovation ecosystem demonstrating opportunities in South Africa and for international collaboration. The insights were focused on human capital, financial capital, and system performance. Bold steps to enhance the NSI and inhibitors blocking the NSI were also communicated.

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