Media release | Nation-wide survey of South African business innovation gets underway

Thursday, 24 February 2022 – On 14 March 2022 South Africa’s official Business Innovation Survey gets underway with fieldworkers reaching out to 5 500 businesses over the next six months.

This will be the seventh time the survey takes place in South Africa, which is performed by the HSRC’s Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators for the Department of Science and Innovation.

Innovation is internationally recognised as a key driver of economic growth. It takes place in many businesses – big, small, micro and informal. Countries are best placed to solve wide-ranging social and economic challenges when innovative products and processes are adopted, and technological capacity is built.

Covering a three-year period, 2019 – 2021, the business innovation survey method uses international measurement tools to compare South Africa with other countries.

The survey collects information about a business’s innovations. This may include new products, new processes, as well as improvements to existing products or ways of working.

“South Africa faces considerable economic challenges, worsened by COVID-19. Measuring our capacity to innovate and thus grow our economy and increase employment is now especially relevant” says Dr Glenda Kruss, head of the CeSTII.

Business leaders will be contacted by fieldworkers from GeoScope, the HSRC’s fieldwork partner for the survey. The survey can be self-completed online or via telephonic interview.

Covering the period 2019 to 2021 the survey will collect data from the sample of enterprises drawn from the business register held by Statistics South Africa. It will include enterprises in:
• mining
• manufacturing
• electricity, gas and water supply
• services, including wholesale and retail trade
• transport, storage and communication
• financial intermediation
• computer and related activities.
• research and development
• architectural and engineering activities
• technical testing and analysis

“Societies that innovate, and create the conditions to nurture innovative practices, prosper and grow. South Africa has long recognised the importance of innovation and several public programmes support innovation,” says Senior Policy Analyst of the Department of Science Innovation, Kgomotso Matjila-Matlapeng.

“We thank the business sector for supporting this important research by contributing their time and insight when approached to participate. We will be guided by the results of the survey and look forward to sharing the findings.”

HSRC and partners would like to send their gratitude to the business sector for supporting this important research by contributing their time and insight when approached to participate.

The survey results will be analysed in 2022/23 and published in 2023.




Adziliwi Nematandani, HSRC
Join the conversation: #BusinessInnovationSurvey #SAInnovationData

Event | Save the Date: 24 February 2022

Media briefing and knowledge-sharing webinar for journalists, industry association leaders,
and business analysts

The Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), together with the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) at the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), invite you to join this knowledge-sharing webinar to explore uses of innovation data for organisational decision-making and analysis, and for public knowledge purposes. Innovation scholars from South Africa will use practical examples to catalyse the conversation. The knowledge exchange will follow on from a media briefing with survey leaders announcing the start of fieldwork for the Business Innovation Survey 2019 – 2021.

RSVP on Zoom required by 22 February 2022

Why this event, now

Outside of public policy uses, South Africa’s innovation data are a unique and publicly available source of intelligence for leaders of industry associations, journalists, and business analysts. (To access the data sets, go to For previous survey reports, go to Depending on the type of analysis performed, new insights into the South African business environment can be generated using innovation data. Challenging common-sense perceptions of innovation, by using national innovation data, is important to developing more robust internal or public conversations.

Learn more

Gerard Ralphs | HSRC | gralphs[at]