Fellow SA Rocktonian Max Kaizen wrote a piece this week about innovation in South Africa and it certainly spurred some heated debate amongst readers of this blog. I have to admit it also got me thinking because web-based innovators in South Africa are often called copy-cats for their apparent lack of originality.
So I decided that I’d do some searching to find some innovation and I registered as an attendee at the Futurex expo at the Sandton Convention Center. I figured that I’d go there and find lots of unique and innovative ideas that I could then report-back on and write about in my Technology Thursday post and I headed off yesterday morning to the most comprehensive showcase of products, services and solutions for big, small and home business.
My mandate was simple – find innovative products developed and/or manufactured in South Africa. I really wanted to find any technology that would promote the theme of SA Rocks and prove the critics wrong.
After spending three hours going through two large conference halls filled with hundreds of exhibitors I ended up with finding a grand total of zero innovative products made by us fellow South Africans.
What I did find was the large corporate giants showcasing their various software and broadband offerings and a whole bunch of smaller players showcasing products that were developed all over the world except South Africa.
It’s the first time also that I’ve seen Futurex promoting investment opportunities for countries like China and India and both countries had entire sections at Futurex that they could use to showcase their products to our market. This is fantastic to a point but not what I was looking for.
Futurex last year combined the expo with Linuxworld which I felt really helped promote the idea of Open Source and Linux to companies in South Africa. So much innovation is happening on the Linux front and for me the link between the two was very important and helped promote this innovation to big business.
After a disappointing expo my challenge now is to prove to the critics that South Africa is innovative and I’d like you to help me with this.
I need a list of home grown innovation so that we can shut the critics up so if you know of any innovative products, websites or services developed by South Africans that could be included in this list then please post a link to that website in the comments below.
Depending on the feedback received we might even be able to start a web directory on this site to help promote these home grown innovations so let’s get this thing going.
- South Africans are big innovators
- Linux for human beings
- Ubuntu on Dell plus an interview with Mark Shuttleworth
- One Laptop Per Child
- Using technology to catch the bad guys
Popularity: 2% [?]