FAQ | SA Business Innovation Survey, 2019-2021

Business Innovation Survey 2019-2021

*You can also download these FAQ

What is the purpose of the Business Innovation Survey?

The Business Innovation Survey aims to deliver an internationally comparable report on innovation activities in key sectors of the South African economy. Survey results will play a vital role in policymaking for technology, innovation, and economic development.

Why has my company been selected to participate in this round of the Survey?

Statistics South Africa has drawn a random sample of 5,500 companies from the business register in line with its agreement on official national statistics with the Department of Science and Innovation—and your business was selected. The sample consists of a variety of businesses, ranging from very small to very large firms that operate in key industrial and services sectors. Sub-sectors covered by the survey include:

  • financial intermediation
  • research and development
  • wholesale and retail trade
  • manufacturing
  • architectural and engineering activities
  • technical testing and analysis
  • computer and related activities
  • mining and quarrying, and
  • electricity, gas and water supply.

What will my business gain from participating in the Survey?

A source of business intelligence, the Survey’s results can be used to benchmark your company’s innovation activities against other enterprises in your sector, both nationally and internationally. An added benefit of participation is the opportunity it presents for an internal review of potential business development areas that might not otherwise be explored. The results of previous South African innovation surveys are available online.

What does South Africa gain from my company’s participation in the Survey?

National business innovation surveys provide an essential source of data for evidence-informed policymaking. In addition, the 2019-2021 survey round is being undertaken so that results are internationally comparable.

Is there someone on the Survey’s team that can communicate in my mother tongue?

The fieldwork team, based at GeoScope in Durban, are ready to deal with the questions, comments or concerns of Survey respondents. Should you need to speak to one of the research assistants in your mother tongue, they will gladly assist you in South Africa’s official national languages.

How can I complete my company’s innovation survey questionnaire?

The Survey questionnaire can be self-completed online through the RedCap platform or via telephonic interview.

How will my company’s data be managed?

Captured data is stored on secure servers at the Human Sciences Research Council premises in Pretoria, South Africa. All HSRC and GeoScope staff who work on the survey have signed strict agreements on the confidentiality of the data. Your company’s details and firm-level data will not be shared with any third party.

The definition of innovation

What are the different types of innovation the Survey measures?

The South African Business Innovation Survey recognises two types of innovation in firms:

  1. Product innovation (including both goods and/or services)
  2. Process innovation

This section of the FAQ provides detailed explanations and examples of each, as well as examples of what would not be considered an innovation in each category.

What makes a product or process an “innovation”?

Most people picture an invention new to the world when they think of innovation. In fact, three criteria are important in defining an innovation:

Does the product or process represent significant change or improvement?

Is the product new to the firm?

Has the product or process been made available to users or potential users?

Identifying an innovation: Three key criteria

If the change meets these criteria, it can be considered an innovation. While a given change could be an innovation for one firm, the same change may not be an innovation for another firm. In answering the Business Innovation Survey, each firm has to decide for itself whether a particular change is new to the firm, whether the product or process has significantly improved, and whether it has been made available for use.

When does an innovation belong to an enterprise?

  1. If an enterprise has internally developed and implemented its own significant changes.
  2. If the enterprise has significantly improved or modified its existing products, processes, services, methods or delivery processes, either by internal development or by introducing a new idea from external sources.
  3. If an enterprise has implemented a new or significantly improved change, which may have originated elsewhere, such as the head office or a subsidiary company, another company, sector or country.

What is a firm’s “innovation expenditure”?

Innovation expenditure is the amount of expenditure committed to innovation-relevant activities, including current expenditure (personnel, for example) and capital expenditure (for example, buildings or equipment). For the 2019-2021 round of the Survey, we request that you provide:

  1. turnover data for two years (2019, 2021), and
  2. expenditure data for one year.

If these data are not available to you when completing the questionnaire, please provide estimates. We also remind you that all firm-level data provided in this section of the questionnaire are kept strictly confidential and are not made public in any way.

Product innovation

What is a product innovation?

Product innovation relates to both goods and services. When a good or service is introduced to the firm and is new to that firm OR shows significant improvement with respect to the capabilities or planned uses, then the change represents a product innovation. A product innovation may include significant changes in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user experience, or other functional characteristics of the good or service.

Examples of product innovations that relate to goods and services in the industrial and services sectors

GoodsServices
Services sector*Ticket automation for cash or pay card (e.g. parking systems)
*New point of sale systems
(e.g. scanner cash box)
*Customised business software (e.g. anti-fraud software that profiles and tracks individual transactions)
*New multimedia applications
(e.g. tablet)
*New smartphone apps
*New logistics services
*Dial in services (e.g. goods delivery)
*New or significantly improved insurance services (e.g. gap cover)
*Remote software maintenance
*Direct clearance with hospitals
Industrial sector*Inclusion of eco-friendly products in product ranges
*Introduction of client or loyalty cards
*Changes to materials e.g. breathable textiles
*New types of paper for specific printers
*Improved purity of final mining product
*Automated tunnel borers
*Autonomous mine site infrastructure
*Online sales or direct sales to end-users
*New kinds of product certification services
*Combining solutions, such as technical and consulting services
*Introduction of extended warrantees on new or used products
*Remote software maintenance
*New information technology applications for client servicing

What is NOT considered a product innovation?

  • Design changes that do not alter the function or technical characteristics of a good or service.
  • Routine upgrades, or minor changes or improvements.
  • Customisation for a single client that does not include significantly different attributes compared to products made for other clients.

Process innovation

What is a process innovation?

A process innovation relates to improvements in production methods, delivery methods, distribution methods, marketing methods, information systems, or organisational processes. For these process improvements to be considered innovations, they must be new to the firm OR significantly improved. These significant changes include those that relate to specific techniques, equipment and/or software that are intended to improve the quality, efficiency or flexibility of a production or supply activity or logistics, or changes that reduce environmental or safety hazards.

Examples of process innovations by sector

Services sector*New online banking modules
*Improved premium clearing systems
*Electronic Data Interchange
*CASE tools for customer-specific hardware
*Introduction of software to identify optimal delivery routes
*New or improved software or routines for purchasing, accounting or maintenance systems
*A reduction in the number of management levels to create greater flexibility in decision-making
*Integrated monitoring system for firm activities (e.g. production, finance, strategy or marketing)
*The introduction of an organisational division to support new product development in a specific area
*Bundling existing goods or services in new ways to appeal to market segments
*Design of new consumer products (e.g. custom appliances)
Industrial sector*Robotics
*Digital printing processes
*Automated packaging
*Computerised equipment for quality control of production
*Mapping by drone
*Smart boreholes
*Smart volts and vents
*Installation of automated trucks and drill rigs

What is NOT considered a process innovation?

  • An increase in production or service capabilities through the addition of manufacturing or logistical systems that are similar to those already in use.
  • Changes in management strategy not linked to significant organisational change.
  • Introduction of new technology that has limited benefits or is restricted to a small division of the firm.
  • Routine or seasonal changes.
  • Minor updates in the appearance of packaging.
  • Advertising, unless based on the use of new media or a new advertising technique.

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 http://curation.hsrc.ac.za/Datasets-KDCAAA.phtml. For previous survey reports, go to http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/departments/CeSTii/reports-cestii.) 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]hsrc.ac.za

Seminar | Strengthening innovation measurement practice in firm-level surveys

Join survey practitioners, scholars of innovation indicators, and users of innovation data for policy making or programming to learn more about current methodological imperatives shaping innovation measurement. 

Why this seminar, now

Business innovation surveys are commonly used by both state and non-state actors to understand firm dynamics and to generate evidence in support of economic and innovation policy mixes. Where business innovation surveys follow the subject-based approach (OECD, 2018), as is predominantly the case, representative information on both the scale and types of innovation at firm-level as well as the drivers of and barriers to innovation, can be produced and analysed. Recent analysis, however, points to substantial measurement error risks in firm-level innovation surveys (Cirera & Muzi, 2020; Arundel et al, 2013). With a focus on recent empirical work using World Bank (WB) Enterprise Survey data, as well as a recent WB technology adoption survey, this seminar will delve into the issue of innovation measurement error, as well as key methodological imperatives that performers of firm-level innovation surveys can consider in improving survey performance. Discussant reflections will incorporate the experiences from South African Business Innovation Surveys, performed by the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII), since the early 2000s.

Download invitation and agenda
Zoom link for registration

Agenda

15h00 | Welcome remarks

  • Kgomotso Matjila-Matlapeng, Senior Policy Analyst, Department of Science and Innovation
  • Michael Ehst, Senior Private Sector Specialist, World Bank

15h10 | Introduction by seminar moderator

  • Dr Glenda Kruss, Executive Head: Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators, Human Sciences Research Council

15h20 | Measuring innovation using firm-level surveys:
Presentation of new evidence from developing countries

  • Dr Xavier Cirera, Firms, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Unit, World Bank
  • Dr Silvia Muzi, Enterprise Analysis Unit, World Bank

15h50 | Experiences from two decades of South African Business Innovation Surveys, 2002-present: Reflections from practice

  • Dr Moses Sithole, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators, Human Sciences Research Council
  • Dr Amy Kahn, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators, Human Sciences Research Council

16h20 | Open dialogue

16h50 | Concluding remarks

  • Prof. Fred Gault, UNU-MERIT/Tshwane University of Technology & Chair: CeSTII Advisory Committee

We are pleased to invite you join this HSRC Seminar Series event, which is arranged with support from the South African Department of Science and Innovation and in collaboration with the World Bank.

For more information or to contact the organisers please write to gralphs[at]hsrc.ac.za.

References: 

Xavier Cirera, Silvia Muzi, Measuring innovation using firm-level surveys: Evidence from developing countries, Research Policy, Volume 49, Issue 3,
2020, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.respol.2019.103912

Anthony Arundel, Kieran O’Brien and Ann Torugsa, How firm managers understand innovation: Implications for the design of innovation surveys, in Fred Gault (ed.), Handbook of Innovation Indicators and Measurement, Edward Elgar Publishing, 2013

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Oslo Manual 2018
Guidelines for Collecting, Reporting and Using Data on Innovation, 4th Edition 

Acknowledgement and disclaimer: This seminar is funded by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). The views and opinions expressed therein as well as findings and statements of the seminar series do not necessarily represent the views of the DSI. Please also note that this seminar may be recorded and published on the HSRC podcast channel.

FAQ | SA Agricultural Business Innovation Survey, 2016-2018

*Fieldwork for SA Agricultural Business Innovation Survey 2016 – 2018 ended on 30 September 2019. 

AgriculturalBISLogo_V2

*You can also download these FAQ

What is the purpose of the Agricultural Business Innovation Survey?

Commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology, and performed by the Human Sciences Research Council, the Agricultural Business Innovation Survey aims to deliver an internationally comparable report on innovation activities in South African agriculture, including farming, forestry and fisheries. Survey results will play a vital role in policymaking for technology, innovation, and economic development.

Why has my company been selected to participate in this round of the Survey?

Statistics South Africa has drawn a random sample of 1,690 agricultural firms from the business register in line with its agreement on official national statistics with the Department of Science and Technology—and your firm was selected. The sample consists of a variety of businesses, ranging from very small to very large firms that operate in agricultural sub-sectors. Sub-sectors covered by the survey include: agriculture (crops, wineries, livestock and poultry), forestry, and fisheries.

What will my business gain from participating in the Survey?

A source of business intelligence, the Survey’s results can be used to benchmark your company’s innovation activities against other agricultural firms in your sector, both nationally and internationally. An added benefit of participation is the opportunity it presents for an internal review of potential business development areas that might not otherwise be explored. The results of previous South African innovation surveys are available online
(http://www.hsrc.ac.za/en/departments/cestii/latest-results).

Will my company’s participation contribute to a national perspective on innovation in South Africa?

National business innovation surveys provide an essential source of data for evidence-informed policymaking towards increased inclusive economic growth and competitiveness. This is the first time South Africa will measure innovation in agricultural enterprises, filling an important gap.

Is there someone on the Survey’s team that can communicate in my mother tongue?

Our research assistants are ready to deal with the questions, comments or concerns of Survey respondents. Should you need to speak to one of the research assistants in your mother tongue, they will gladly assist you in South Africa’s official national languages.

I would prefer to print out the completed questionnaire and
return it via post. How can I do that?

Should you wish to submit your survey response via the postal services, please notify one of our research assistants, who will dispatch a questionnaire
and business reply envelope to your physical address, which you can use to return your questionnaire to us. Alternatively, please send your questionnaire to:
Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators
Human Sciences Research Council
Agricultural Business Innovation Survey 2016 – 2018
PO Box 15200
Vlaeberg
8018

I would prefer to complete the questionnaire electronically. How can I do that?

The Survey questionnaire is available to be completed and submitted online, as well as via an Adobe Acrobat form that you can save and email to us. The online tool allows respondents to save progress and return later using a ‘Return Code’, which will be automatically issued to you when you save. Should you have any problems submitting your firm’s response to the survey, please contact innovation@hsrc.ac.za.

How will my company’s data be managed?

Questionnaires are stored in secure rooms and captured data is stored on secure servers at the Human Sciences Research Council premises in Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa. All staff who work on the survey have signed strict agreements on the confidentiality of the data. Your company’s details and firm-level data will not be shared with any third party.

What are the different types of innovation the Survey measures?

The South African Agricultural Business Innovation Survey recognises four types of innovation in firms: 1. Product innovation (including both goods and/or services); 2. Process innovation; 3. Organisational innovation; 4. Marketing innovation. This section of the FAQ provides detailed explanations and examples of each, as well as examples of what would not be considered an innovation in each category.

What makes a product or business activity an “innovation”?

Most people picture an invention new to the world when they think of innovation. In fact, two criteria are important in defining an innovation: 1. Does the product or activity represent significant change or improvement? AND/OR 2. Is the activity or product new to the firm? If the change meets either or both of these criteria, it can be considered an innovation. While a given change could be an innovation for one firm, the same change may not be an innovation for another firm. In answering the Agricultural Business Innovation Survey, each firm has to decide for itself whether a particular change is new to the firm and/or whether the product, process or service has significantly improved.

When does an innovation belong to an enterprise?

  1. If an enterprise has internally developed and implemented its own significant changes.
  2. If the enterprise has significantly improved or modified its existing products, processes, services, methods or delivery processes, either by internal development or by introducing a new idea from external sources.
  3. If an enterprise has implemented a new or significantly improved change, which may have originated elsewhere, such as the head office or a subsidiary company, another company, sector or country.

What is a product innovation?

Product innovation relates to both goods and services. When a good or service is introduced to the firm and is new to that firm OR shows significant improvement with respect to the capabilities or planned uses, then the change represents a product innovation. A product innovation may include significant changes in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user experience, or other functional characteristics of the good or service.

Examples of product innovations that relate to goods and services in the agricultural sector

GOODS

  • Customised business software (e.g. farm management software)
  • Inclusion of eco-friendly products in product ranges
  • Automated harvesters
  • New wood, furniture or paper varieties
  • New wine blends
  • Drought-resistant seeds
  • Products with enhanced shelf-life
  • Bio-energy or bio-fuels

SERVICES

  • Customised business software (e.g. farm management software)
  • Inclusion of eco-friendly products in product ranges
  • Automated harvesters
  • New wood, furniture or paper varieties
  • New wine blends
  • Drought-resistant seeds
  • Products with enhanced shelf-life
  • Bio-energy or bio-fuels

What is NOT considered a product innovation?

  • Design changes that do not alter the function or technical characteristics of a good
    or service.
  • Routine upgrades, or minor changes or improvements.
  • Customisation for a single client that does not include significantly different attributes compared to products made for other clients.

What is a process innovation?

A process innovation relates to improvements in production methods, delivery methods or distribution methods. For these process improvements to be considered innovations, they must be new to the firm OR significantly improved. These significant changes include those that relate to specific techniques, equipment and/or software, changes that are intended to improve the quality, efficiency or flexibility of a production or supply activity or logistics, or changes that reduce environmental or safety hazards.

Examples of process innovations by sector

  • Predictive data analytics
  • Introduction of software to identify optimal farming practices (e.g. smart irrigation)
  • New or improved software or routines for purchasing, accounting or maintenance systems
  • Robotics and sensors
  • Vertical farming, Micro farming, hydroponics
  • Automated packaging
  • Computerised equipment for quality control of production
  • Mapping by drone
  • Smart boreholes
  • Installation of automated trucks and drill rigs
  • Radio Frequency Identity Tags

What is NOT considered a process innovation?

An increase in production or service capabilities through the addition of manufacturing or logistical systems that are similar to those already in use.

What is an organisational innovation?

An organisational innovation is intended to significantly improve the firm’s innovative capacity or performance characteristics. This can encompass significant changes in workplace organisation, business practices or external relations implemented in the firm.

Examples of organisational innovations

  • A reduction in the number of management levels to create greater flexibility in decision-making.
  • Integrated monitoring system for firm activities (e.g. production, finance, strategy or marketing).
  • The introduction of an organisational division to support new product development in a specific area.

What is NOT considered an organisational innovation?

  • Changes in management strategy not linked to significant organisational change.
  • Introduction of new technology that has limited benefits or is restricted to a small division of the firm.

What is a marketing innovation?

The implementation of a significant change in sales and marketing methods would qualify as marketing innovation. “Significant” would include improved product appearance and packaging that is intended to increase product appeal and/or consumer awareness.

Examples of marketing innovation

  • Bundling existing goods or services in new ways to appeal to market segments

What is NOT considered a marketing innovation?

  • Routine or seasonal changes.
    Minor updates in the appearance of packaging.
    Advertising, unless based on the use of new media or a new advertising technique.

Event | Tweets and slides from Industry Associations Innovation Day 2018

On 25 May 2018, about 60 industry association leaders, government officials, researchers and entrepreneurs gathered at Gauteng’s Riversands Incubation Hub. On the agenda? Innovation, government and Industry 4.0. This post shares the final programme and speaker list, presentations and Tweets from @HSRC_CeSTII.

IAID
Image credit: Department of Science and Technology

Programme and speakers

Did you attend? Rate your experience

Slides

How much R&D and innovation goes on in South Africa, and how we know this – Dr Glenda Kruss & Dr Moses Sithole, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators, Human Sciences Research Council

How industry/businesses can leverage CSIR platforms for innovation – Kobus Roux, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research

Tweets

 

Event | Coming up: Industry Associations Innovation Day 2018 – 25 May

InnovationDay_BannerImage_V1 [2160x1080px]
A collaboration of the Department of Science and Technology, and the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators of the Human Sciences Research Council and Business Unity South Africa, the Industry Associations Innovation Day 2018 will take place at The Canvas Riversands, Fourways, on 25 May 2018.

The Industry Associations Innovation Day 2018 is envisaged to facilitate a dialogue between industry association leaders across the range of sectors, thought leaders, researchers, and government, as well as encounter case studies, on how some industry associations are tackling the innovation question with and for their membership.

Register now

The Canvas Riversands

Download one-page invitation you can share around*

On the agenda*

*Note: The agenda has been updated to include speakers from the National Business Initiative, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Information Technology Association of South Africa

REGISTRATION (08h30-09h00)

WELCOME: Joanne Yawitch, CEO: National Business Initiative

KEYNOTE: Innovation, government and Industry 4.0: South Africa’s policy visionImraan Patel, Deputy-Director General, Department of Science and Technology

THOUGHT LEADERSHIP PANEL: The trends we can’t afford to ignore anymore, and what businesses can do about them… Themba Maseko, Business Leadership South Africa (Moderator), Etienne Vlok, Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers UnionNonkululeko Shinga, Department of Trade and IndustryMike Colley, Institute for Futures Research

EVIDENCE PRESENTATION: How much R&D and innovation goes on in South Africa, and how we know this, Dr Glenda Kruss, Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators, Human Sciences Research Council

BREAK (10h45-11h00)

PRACTICE LEADERSHIP PANEL: What industry associations can do to support an innovation agendaHenra Mayer, Innocentrix (Moderator), Dr John Purchase, Agricultural Business ChamberBrenda Martin, South African Wind Energy AssociationPhilippa Rodseth, Manufacturing Circle, Sunil Geness, Information Technology Association of South Africa

INFORMATION PRESENTATION:

LUNCH AND NETWORKING (13h00-14h00)

Learn more?

Write to Gerard Ralphs gralphs[at]hsrc.ac.za, or call 021 466 8000.

FAQ | SA Business Innovation Survey, 2014-2016

*Fieldwork for SA Business Innovation Survey 2014 – 2016 ended on 30 November 2018. 

cropped-bislogo_approved_v4-300dpi1.jpg

*You can also download these FAQ

What is the purpose of the Business Innovation Survey?

Commissioned by the Department of Science and Technology, and performed by the Human Sciences Research Council, the Business Innovation Survey aims to deliver an internationally comparable report on innovation activities in key sectors of the South African economy. Survey results will play a vital role in policymaking for technology, innovation, and economic development.

Which companies have been selected to participate in this round of the Survey?

Statistics South Africa has drawn a random sample of 5,000 firms from the business register in line with its agreement on official national statistics with the Department of Science and Technology. The sample consists of a variety of businesses, ranging from very small to very large firms that operate in key industrial and services sectors. Sub-sectors covered by the survey include: financial intermediation; research and development; wholesale and retail trade; manufacturing; architectural and engineering activities; technical testing and analysis; computer and related activities; mining and quarrying; electricity, gas and water supply.

What will businesses gain from participating in the Survey?

A source of business intelligence, the Survey’s results can be used to benchmark a company’s innovation activities against other enterprises in its sector, both nationally and internationally. An added benefit of participation is the opportunity it presents for an internal review of potential business development areas that might not otherwise be explored.

What does South Africa gain from businesses participating in the Survey?

National business innovation surveys provide an essential source of data for evidence-informed policymaking. In addition, the 2014-2016 survey round is being undertaken so that results are internationally comparable.

How will Survey respondent company data be managed?

Questionnaires are stored in secure rooms and captured data is stored on secure servers at the Human Sciences Research Council premises in Cape Town, South Africa. All staff who work on the survey have signed strict agreements on the confidentiality of the data. Your company’s details and firm-level data will not be shared with any third party.

What are the different types of innovation the Survey measures?

The South African Business Innovation Survey recognises four types of innovation in firms: 1. Product innovation (including both goods and/or services); 2. Process innovation; 3. Organisational innovation; 4. Marketing innovation. This section of the FAQ provides detailed explanations and examples of each, as well as examples of what would not be considered an innovation in each category.

What makes a product or business activity an “innovation”?

Most people picture an invention new to the world when they think of innovation. In fact, two criteria are important in defining an innovation: 1. Does the product or activity represent significant change or improvement? AND/OR 2. Is the activity or product new to the firm? If the change meets either or both of these criteria, it can be considered an innovation. While a given change could be an innovation for one firm, the same change may not be an innovation for another firm. In answering the Business Innovation Survey, each firm has to decide for itself whether a particular change is new to the firm and/or whether the product, process or service has significantly improved.

When does an innovation belong to an enterprise?

1. If an enterprise has internally developed and implemented its own significant changes.

2. If the enterprise has significantly improved or modified its existing products, processes, services, methods or delivery processes, either by internal development or by introducing a new idea from external sources.

3. If an enterprise has implemented a new or significantly improved change, which may have originated elsewhere, such as the head office or a subsidiary company, another company, sector or country.

What is a firm’s “innovation expenditure”?

Innovation expenditure is the amount of expenditure committed to innovation, including current expenditure (personnel, for example) and capital expenditure (for example, buildings or equipment). For the 2014-2016 round of the Survey, we request that respondents provide: 1. turnover data for two years, and 2. expenditure data for one year. If these data are not available to respondents when completing the questionnaire, we ask that estimates are provided. We also remind you that all firm-level data provided in this section of the questionnaire are kept strictly confidential and are not made public in any way.

What is a product innovation?

Product innovation relates to both goods and services. When a good or service is introduced to the firm and is new to that firm OR shows significant improvement with respect to the capabilities or planned uses, then the change represents a product innovation. A product innovation may include significant changes in technical specifications, components and materials, incorporated software, user experience, or other functional characteristics of the good or service.

Examples of product innovations that relate to goods and services in the industrial and services sectors

SERVICES SECTOR

  • Ticket automation for cash or pay card (e.g. parking systems)
  • New point of sale systems (e.g. scanner cash box)
  • Customised business software (e.g. anti-fraud software that profiles and tracks individual transactions)
  • New multimedia applications (e.g. tablet)
  • New smartphone apps
  • New logistics services
  • Dial in services (e.g. goods delivery)
  • New or significantly improved insurance services (e.g. gap cover)
  • Remote software maintenance
  • Direct clearance with hospitals

INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

  • Inclusion of eco-friendly products in product ranges
  • Introduction of client or loyalty cards
  • Changes to materials e.g. breathable textiles
  • New types of paper for specific printers
  • Improved purity of final mining product
  • Automated tunnel borers
  • Autonomous mine site infrastructure
  • Online sales or direct sales to end-users
  • New kinds of product certification services
  • Combining solutions, such as technical and consulting services
  • Introduction of extended warranties on new or used products
  • Remote software maintenance
  • New information technology applications for client servicing

What is a process innovation?

A process innovation relates to improvements in production methods, delivery methods or distribution methods. For these process improvements to be considered innovations, they must be new to the firm OR significantly improved. These significant changes include those that relate to specific techniques, equipment and/or software, changes that are intended to improve the quality, efficiency or flexibility of a production or supply activity or logistics, or changes that reduce environmental or safety hazards.

Examples of process innovations by sector

SERVICES SECTOR

  • New online banking modules
  • Improved premium clearing systems
  • Electronic Data Interchange
  • CASE tools for customer-specific hardware
  • Introduction of software to identify optimal delivery routes
  • New or improved software or routines for purchasing, accounting or maintenance systems

INDUSTRIAL SECTOR

  • Robotics
  • Digital printing processes
  • Automated packaging
  • Computerised equipment for quality control of production
  • Mapping by drone
  • Smart boreholes
  • Smart volts and vents
  • Installation of automated trucks and drill rigs

What is NOT considered a process innovation?

An increase in production or service capabilities through the addition of manufacturing or logistical systems that are similar to those already in use.

What is an organisational innovation?

An organisational innovation is intended to significantly improve the firm’s innovative capacity or performance characteristics. This can encompass significant changes in workplace organisation, business practices or external relations implemented in the firm.

Examples of organisational innovations

  • A reduction in the number of management levels to create greater flexibility in decision-making.
  • Integrated monitoring system for firm activities (e.g. production, finance, strategy or marketing).
  • The introduction of an organisational division to support new product development in a specific area

What is NOT considered an organisational innovation?

Changes in management strategy not linked to significant organisational change.
Introduction of new technology that has limited benefits or is restricted to a small division of the firm.

What is a marketing innovation?

The implementation of a significant change in sales and marketing methods would qualify as marketing innovation. “Significant” would include improved product appearance and packaging that is intended to increase product appeal and/or consumer awareness.

Examples of marketing innovation

  • Bundling existing goods or services in new ways to appeal to market segments.
  • Design of new consumer products (e.g. custom appliances).

What is NOT considered a marketing innovation?

  • Routine or seasonal changes.
  • Minor updates in the appearance of packaging.
  • Advertising, unless based on the use of new media or a new advertising technique.

More questions?

Write to innovation@hsrc.ac.za

Announcement | All the SA innovation survey info you need, right here

This blog has been designed as a resource for interested parties to learn more about the South African business innovation surveys and their data. It’s also a practical resource to support and encourage firms responding to surveys.

Content pillars

We’re blogging in four key areas, which you’ll see across our posts. These are:

  1. The meaning of innovation

2. Innovation indicators

3. Impact of innovation

4. Innovation at large

Our blog writers are based at the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) at the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa (HSRC).

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