Last week I was perplexed by the apparent lack of innovation in South Africa and I challenged all of you to help me find it. I am pleased to say that with the help of Rafiq, Nic, Sjefke and Karen we’ve managed to pull quite an extensive list of innovations coming right out of South Africa.
I’ll now look to do some more in depth reporting on these innovations but for now I thought it might be interesting to highlight some key innovation facts taken from the first official South African Innovation Survey.
The survey, modeled on the innovation survey conducted in European Union countries, was conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council on behalf of the Department of Science and Technology and found that South Africa compares favourably with countries like Sweden (where 50% of enterprises are innovative), the United Kingdom (43%) and Portugal (41%).
According to Deputy Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom South African businesses’ “are not being complacent and are responding to changes in their environment by producing new or significantly changed goods, services and processes.
“Our rate of innovation is well above that of the European average of 42% for 2004.”
SA companies spent in the region of R27.8-billion on innovative activities in 2004, representing about 2.4% of the total turnover of all business covered in the industrial and service sectors.
What is most pleasing to see is the support of public funding for innovation. According to the survey 10% of successful innovators had received public funding for activities.
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