Innovation is widely recognised as a key ingredient in the growth of economies. At firm level, it is equally vital as a capability for businesses to cooperate and compete. International collaboration occurs when enterprises work together across borders with partners on joint innovation projects and is one way that businesses can optimise the innovation process on a much wider level.
Drawing on the latest available national South African innovation and R&D data, this fact sheet shows that while some South African businesses already collaborate internationally on innovation, more collaborate through local innovation partnerships, which includes R&D partnerships. As such, potential opportunities exist for more South African firms to share skills, risk, and resources by expanding joint work with international partners. Where international collaboration is not taking place, the barriers preventing it need to be understood and addressed at policy level.
Data collected through the surveys, and their historic data series, inform decision-makers on investment planning, policy-making, advocacy, and research in South Africa. Data streams also add to benchmarking and performance comparisons with our international counterparts. Please note that some indicator totals may be subject to rounding errors.
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.
The South African manufacturing and services sectors remain squarely in the crosshairs of economic and industrial policy makers and, equally, business leaders and sector analysts. Whether to stimulate much-needed growth, as in the case of the manufacturing sector, or to adapt to widespread technological change, as in the case of services firms, the argument for a reimagined industrial strategy could not be more compelling or urgent.
In this context, innovation is centrally positioned as both a key engine of development and a catalyst for growth. However, little is known about the impacts of innovation on productivity in manufacturing and services businesses in South Africa, with studies focussing mainly on the role of R&D.
Showcasing new econometric modelling, using data from the South African Business Innovation Survey, 2014-2016, the seminar will delve into relationships between different types of technological and non-technological innovation and business productivity. Policy issues and questions for discussion with national and sector stakeholders include: what factors or firm characteristics influence the decision to innovate? What support mechanisms incentivise innovation? Is the relationship between innovation and productivity always positive?
Date: 23 June 2021 | Time: 12h30 – 14h00 | Hosted on: Zoom
Moderator:Godfrey Mashamba, Deputy Director-General: Evaluation, Evidence and Knowledge Systems, Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME)
Discussant:Saul Levin, Director: Trade and Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS)
Dr Amy Kahn project manages the Business Innovation Survey at CeSTII. Her research at CeSTII has focused primarily on R&D, innovation and productivity in South African firms. She graduated with a PhD in Economics at the University of Cape Town in 2020 and has several years of experience running large scale socio-economic surveys in South Africa and East Africa.
Dr Atoko Kasongo is a statistician in CeSTII providing statistical support to all Centre projects. She has a research interest in R&D and innovation, as well as financial sector economics. She graduated with a PhD in Economics at the University of the Western Cape Town in April 2020, and has many years of experience in the academic arena working as a lecturer.
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.
Are South African businesses innovating quickly – and strategically – enough to improve their performance in the short to medium term? The results of the South African Business Innovation Survey, 2014-2016, released earlier in July 2020 by the Department of Science and Innovation, can help to answer this question.
Public policy debate about South Africa’s economy right now has tended to focus overwhelmingly on big picture explanations and recovery plans. Missing from this debate is a micro perspective, which places the emphasis on firm-level decisions and how these decisions ultimately drive or constrain business growth.
This is a harder discussion to enter into because of the evidence barrier in firms that are not publicly traded. Usefully, South Africa’s national business innovation surveys, which have been carried out since the 1990s, collect data retrospectively from businesses across the industrial and services sectors, through surveying a random sample of formal businesses, stratified by sector and size-class.
This method ensures that survey results can be extrapolated statistically to the national population of businesses, resulting in unique and vital data for business leaders, industry lobbyists and government policy-makers, as well as for international comparison.
Most South African businesses do actually innovate
At the aggregate level, the 2014-2016 survey results paint a promising picture of an innovative formal business sector. That is, 69.9% of businesses were trying to innovate through, for example, performing research and development (R&D), training their staff, or purchasing new tech and equipment. And nearly all (96%) of these “innovation-active” businesses actually ended up with an innovation.
An innovation, as measured by the survey, refers to the introduction to market of a new or significantly improved product (good or service), or the use of new or significantly improved process (methods for the production or supply of goods and services).
From this definition, which comes to us from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) statistical handbook for innovation surveys, the Oslo Manual, the focus is both on novelty (new or improved) and implementation (introduction to market or firm).
Looking back at the 2014-2016 period, businesses spent 1.97 % of the total turnover on innovation activities. Product innovations were found in 48.2% of South African businesses and process innovations in 34.6% of businesses. Marketing and organisational innovation was also reported for 41.7% and 42.0% of businesses, respectively.
Encouragingly, businesses that were trying to implement products and/or processes during the period 2014-2016 reported positive product, process and market outcomes of innovation.
For instance, improved quality of goods and services was considered by most (38.0%) of these businesses as a highly successful outcome of innovation, followed by increased revenue (31.8%), and improved profit margins (30.9%).
Improved health and safety (27.0%) and reduction in environmental impacts (23.3%) were also rated by these businesses as highly important, compared to financial and quality outcomes.
By contrast, entering new export markets or increased export market share was reported as a highly important outcome by only 7.5% of these product and/or process innovators.
Execution of innovation could be faster
A deeper dive into the data, however, points to some issues that should concern leaders from business, industry associations and government.
Key among these issues is that 80.5% of business turnover in 2016 (down from 85% in the 2005-2007 results), was generated from products that were marginally modified or unchanged, with the balance of turnover generated from products new to the market (10.8%), new to the business (7.0%), or new to the world (1.8%).
Put differently, at the end of a three-year period, only about 20% of total sales were brought about by new or improved goods or services (innovations), and less than 2.0% were accounted for by products considered by respondents as first-of-its-kind in the world.
Commentators may argue that businesses may just have been benefiting from innovations carried out prior to the survey reference period, or that innovation – especially R&D-led innovation – takes time to “bear fruit”.
These are both legitimate explanations, though would bring little comfort to businesses facing down uncertainty brought about by global dynamics and “exogenous shocks”, like the Covid-19 pandemic.
Indeed, in the current era of rapid change, driven to a large extent by technological advancement, the pace of innovation in some sectors can result in dramatic consequences for businesses and entire industries. There are countless examples of disruptive or radical innovations that demonstrate this.
For example, it took Uber’s founders just five years from 2009 to launch ride-hailing services in all the major global capitals, including the South African service in 2013, resulting in what, by 2019, was a business with assets in excess of $30-billion.
In this context, the company innovated relentlessly, introducing Uber Eats in 2014 and a plethora of market-specific services, like auto rickshaw rides on UberAuto in India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Equally, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced massive layoffs by Uber, about 14% of its workforce, and closed 45 offices, in a bid to keep the company afloat.
And yet, in this extremely challenging business context, the launch of Uber Cash in South Africa in June 2020, represents just one example of how the company is using innovation to pivot towards new business growth opportunities.
Strategy is key
In the context of the current global Covid-19 pandemic, which is fundamentally changing how businesses operate, South African businesses may need to change how they innovate in order to survive this “new normal”.
Working more collaboratively, for example, could be one strategy. The 2014-2016 survey results show that less than 10% of innovative businesses partnered with government research institutes (8%), universities (6.8%), or private research institutions (4.9%) to develop their innovations during 2014-2016. Indeed, leveraging synergies between formal knowledge producers, such as universities, and businesses through co-creation of innovations is an area of focus for the South African SME fund.
Additionally, reflection on the type of innovation activities in which to invest, against the survey’s data disaggregated by sector could inform firm-level strategy development processes.
It’s worth pointing out that innovation surveys also assess the constraints faced by businesses in deciding whether or not to innovate.
In 2014-2016, for example, financial barriers such as a lack of funds, or a lack of credit, coupled with market barriers, such as markets dominated by established businesses, impacted on innovation decision-making.
Much less significant, in this regard, were institutional factors such as legislation, regulation, standards and taxation, or lack of skills.
It is knowledge of these barriers, and other indicators delivered by a national innovation survey, that provides a critical starting point for businesses and government to consider how to support innovation within the formal business sector.
Within the context of the country’s economic recovery, leaders across the political, corporate and small business landscape would do well to consider this data, as well as the analysis thereof, as part of their decision-making toolboxes. DM/BM
Dr Moses Sithole, a mathematician and statistician, is Research Director at the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators at South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council. Dr Yasser Buchana is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators at the Human Sciences Research Council. Gerard Ralphs is Policy Analyst and Programme Manager at the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators at the Human Sciences Research Council.
The ‘one good thing’ caused by COVID-19, according to a recent Harvard Business School publication by Hong Luo and Alberto Galasso, is that it has catalysed innovation. This is apparent in South Africa too, where businesses are introducing changes to mitigate the risks of the pandemic. They are adjusting their practices and strategies, introducing new technologies, products and designs, and determining how they can use digital and automated technologies.
But will they last?
The country’s Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators, with the Department of Science and Technology and Statistics South Africa, has released the latest national business innovation survey. The survey helps to answer critical questions facing business leaders, industry groups and government policy-makers. The data can help the country’s understanding of the innovation taking place in businesses, so that more firms can be encouraged to innovate. The survey covered the period 2014 -2016.
How innovative are South African firms and what types of innovation have they implemented?
The survey found that innovation was pervasive across all sectors, but particularly in engineering and technology, manufacturing and trade. A high percentage – nearly 70% – of South African businesses were innovation-active. This meant that they had taken some scientific, technological, organisational, financial or commercial steps towards implementing an innovation. The proportion of innovation-active businesses compares favourably with trends in OECD countries.
But, to respond to current challenges, it is critical to understand what kinds of innovation firms are able to implement, and whether the kinds of benefits that result from them can contribute to business strategies and to inclusive and sustainable growth.
What types of innovation have firms implemented?
Innovation surveys typically measure four types of innovation. These are product, process, organisational and marketing.
The survey found that there were distinct patterns of these types of innovation in different economic sectors.
For example, mining and utilities businesses reflected low levels of innovation. For its part, manufacturing had the largest proportion of businesses with product innovation (59.8%) and marketing innovation (43.4%).
Process innovation was most prominent in logistics businesses (61.7%). More finance (52.0%) and manufacturing (49.1%) businesses reported organisational innovations than businesses in any other sector.
Each type of innovation requires specific forms of support.
Businesses most typically invested in innovation activities that helped them to prepare for technological and organisational change. They did this by training their workforces and investing in new information technology capabilities (Figure 1).
For both the industrial and services sectors, the biggest-ticket item of innovation spend was the acquisition of machinery and equipment.
A substantial number of innovation-active businesses reported the use or development of advanced new technologies. These included computerised design and engineering, material handling, supply chain and logistics technologies, business intelligence technologies, and green technologies (Figure 2).
These innovation capabilities suggest that there is a foundation for promoting more innovation that can lead to more positive economic outcomes.
Innovation was less likely to have an immediate impact on turnover, and was far more likely to be incremental than radical.
Innovations with high degrees of novelty, such as new to the market or to the world products, did not have a strong effect on the turnover of the businesses that reported product innovations. So, just over 80% of their turnover was generated by goods and services that were unchanged or marginally modified. This was in contrast to a product that was new to the market (10.8%), new to the business (7.0%), or new to the world (1.8%).
Quality improvement was the top-rated innovation outcome for innovation-active businesses. Improved quality of goods and services was considered by 38.0% of product and process innovators as a highly successful outcome of innovation. This was followed by increased revenue (31.8%) and improved profit margins (30.9%).
Similarly, for nearly 50% of organisational innovators, improved quality was the main innovation outcome.
Entering new export markets – or increased export market share – as a highly successful innovation outcome was reported by only 7.5% of product and process innovators.
Innovation-active businesses also accessed national and global markets more than their counterparts with no activity. This included markets in the rest of Africa, Europe and Asia. Businesses with innovation activity were more likely to have sold their goods and services on national markets (58.1%), when compared to non-innovation-active businesses (37.7%).
Firms that were not innovation active were more restricted in their reach. They accessed selected provincial markets (57.4%) more than any other market.
The challenge is to grow the scale and range of types of innovation, to ensure that such outcomes and benefits are more widespread across more sectors and businesses.
Businesses’ perceptions of the barriers to innovation were grouped into four sets of factors. (See Figure 3.) These provide critical insights into potential spaces for intervention.
The most significant barriers relate to market factors. These include market dominance of established firms, too much competition, and uncertain demand. For non-innovation-active businesses, the most widely reported barrier was a lack of demand for innovation.
To address these barriers requires stimulation of new and expanded markets. In the South African case this requires structural economic reforms. There are a number of steps government can take. It can, for example, ensure that regulatory conditions are more conducive for creating new businesses. It can also improve the transport and communication infrastructure.
Government also has an important role in stimulating demand in the context of the economic, social and health challenges of COVID 19.
Cost factors were also significant. These ranged from the costs of innovation being too high, to lack of funds for innovation within the business or from external sources such as government or private equity.
The vast majority of innovation-active businesses relied on their own funds to innovate (77.0%). Only 1.7% relied on government as a source of funds.
This points to the fact that public sector funding can be targeted more effectively to stimulate innovation. Examples include the new Sovereign Innovation Fund proposed in the 2020 budget or the R&D tax incentive.
But it’s equally important to create conditions that make private equity funding more attractive.
Knowledge factors were not as significant. Nevertheless, strengthening the link between innovation and skills development strategies would be valuable.
Institutional factors, such as legislation, regulatory and intellectual property rights frameworks, and infrastructure were not perceived as significant barriers.
In local, national and global contexts, rapidly advancing digital technologies and their applications have opened up the space for innovations as yet unimagined in products, processes, marketing and organisation.
The evidence from the business innovation survey is an invaluable opportunity to reflect on where South Africa’s innovation strengths and challenges lie. It also opens the door to interrogate how existing policies and funding mechanisms can be used more effectively to facilitate business innovation in the country.
Produced by the HSRC’s Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) for the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), the Survey delivers national data on the formal business sector’s innovation performance in the three-year reference period.
“In our current COVID-19 context, these results help us to reflect on the distinctive nature of innovation in South Africa, and point toward spaces for policy intervention so that we can encourage more firms in all economic sectors to innovate,” says Executive Head of CeSTII, Dr Glenda Kruss.
“To respond to the current economic, ecological and health challenges, we need to understand what kinds of innovation firms are able to implement, and whether the kinds of benefits that result from these forms of innovation can contribute to firms’ business strategies and to inclusive and sustainable growth.”
Alongside the annual R&D Survey, the HSRC has performed national innovation surveys since CeSTII was established in the early 2000s.
“South African innovation surveys follow the widely adopted OECD Oslo Manual methodology to enable international comparisons, and are conducted using a random sample of businesses stratified by size-class and across across the industrial and services sectors,” according to Dr Moses Sithole, CeSTII Research Director and the Survey’s technical lead.
“Data is then weighted to reflect innovation performance across the national population of businesses in those sectors, allowing for a unique snapshot of innovation performance in the formal economy.”
Adds Kruss: “The survey provides critical data on the kinds of barriers that prevent more firms from innovating, whether relating to cost, market, knowledge or institutional factors.”
“We tend to promote ‘islands of excellence’, the small number of firms that innovate at the technology frontier in ways that are new to the world. Most firms however, utilize incremental innovations that marginally modify their existing products and processes, or that are new to the firm and local market. So, it is essential to design policy support mechanisms that can mitigate the constraints on these incremental forms of innovation more widely across the business sector.”
Nigeria and South Africa are Africa’s largest economies, with a combined GDP that rivals those of all other African nations together. However, GDP growth rates in both countries have stalled in recent years, and major societal ills persist. As middle-income economies that have made a transition from primary industry to services-based growth, Nigeria and South Africa’s innovation performance should concern policy-makers.
As the manufacturing sector comparison illustrates, while firms in both countries use technology acquisition as the key innovation strategy to improve the quantity and quality of their value propositions, Nigerian and South African firms face critical financial and other barriers to innovation.
The services sector comparison illustrates that while services firms in both countries use training and technology acquisition as key innovation strategies to improve the quantity and quality of their value propositions, Nigerian and South African firms face critical financial and other barriers to innovation.
Behind the numbers
These fact sheets represent a joint product of the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) at South Africa’s Human Sciences Research Council and Nigeria’s National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM).
They were produced during a research visit to South Africa by NACETEM’s Dr Abiodun Egbetokun in May 2019, which was sponsored by the InterAcademy Partnership.
Both CeSTII and NACETEM are responsible for the production of science, technology and innovation indicators. Data is drawn from the South African Business Innovation Survey (2008) and from the Nigerian Business Innovation Survey (2010).
Both surveys were conducted using the OECD’s Oslo Manual, allowing for international comparability of data. GDP data was sourced from Statistics South Africa and Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics.
About CeSTII and NACETEM
CeSTII is a policy research institute of the Human Sciences Research Council, which performs national studies on R&D and innovation on behalf of the Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology. Learn more
Contact Dr Glenda Kruss | gkruss[at]hsrc.ac.za
NACETEM is an agency of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Science and Technology that provides critical knowledge support in the area of STI management for sustainable development. Learn more
Contact Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma | dg.ceo[at]nacetem.gov.ng
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.
Ok, we’re on… Joanne Yawitch from National Business Initiative underscores the importance of as a country, region and continent, where disruption happens on a daily basis and the issues it throws up are big.
Yawitch: We need as SA to be looking in a focused way at the future of skills and future of work. We need to build the momentum for a more focused and dynamic partnership between government and the future of work. #IAID2018# @BusinessUnitySA@dstgovza@the_dti
Patel: SA is going through process of re-looking the 1996 White Paper. We need to strengthen the national system of innovation. We need a greater level of inclusion in the fruits of the innovation process. #IAD2018
Patel: Are we including people in rural areas in the fruits of the innovation process. Transformative change is key to our discussions of Industry 4.0 in SA. We need indicators of *positive* change. #IAID2018
Patel: We need inclusion, transformative change, and transformation. But how do we set plans + priorities? This needs to be done in an inclusive way. The Decadal Plan is one way. We need understand private sector needs. #IAID2018
Patel: Our Sector Innovation Funds we want to expand… Also: We are working on the Next Generation Mining initiative – partnership Minerals Council SA and manufacturing sector, to reach reserves that are difficult to get to. #IAID2018
Shinga: We have brilliant innovators in South Africa. We have the ability to innovate. But the challenges are at the level of absorption of #innovation + the uptake of research. We have world class research + science councils. #IAID2018
Shinga: We need to build a culture of collaboration and of information sharing. We often say there is a gap between government and business, and there are trust issues. But seminars like this help us to identify + share our needs. Industry needs to input into policy. #IAID2018
From the floor… We have lots of conceptual speak from government, but we need a action mindset, particularly where the ‘rubber meets the road’. Entrepreneurs are avoiding regulation! We need more pragmatism & culture of inclusivity #IAID2018
Brenda Martin CEO of the South African Wind Energy Association SAWEA says lots of innovation in wind sector – blades/turbines/etc. The bottlenecks for a long time have been political. But now new power agreements signed. Market re-structuring is key. Regulations are restrictive!
Martin: R100bn industry. We need to create a more conducive environment for wind companies to invest in SA. We need to transform the demographic of the sector. We need to reduce procurement blockages – but also spread the benefits. #IAID2018
Martin: SAWEA needs to show leadership in the SA energy transition. But we can’t do this in a vacuum. We need policy certainty in SA. It is essential that citizen access to rooftop power is enhanced. Current regulations are stifling. @_sawea#IAID
Rodseth: Manufacturing Circle is an apex body. We are interested in unpacking the real threat + opportunity of Industry 4.0 for manufacturing. Jobs will be lost, but jobs will be gained (in different skills areas). We call this ‘shift’. #IAID2018
Geness: Data is gold. In our industry – we need to ensure that individuals ‘at the bottom level’ in a society how important this is… Industries need to set governance frameworks to work with this. #IAID2018
From the floor… We need to think very innovatively about the education and training landscape. Industry associations have an opportunity to play a key leadership role to address skills shortcomings establish systems + processes where occupational skillset recognition. #IAID2018
Martin: South African Wind Energy Association has adapted skills programmes to equip SA for the energy transition. E.g. the Wind Turbines Technicians Training Programme. In US this is a fast-growing employment area. But we need policy certainty – for career paths, too. #IAID2018
Rodseth: Manufacturing Circle supporting National Business Initiative on a study of skills in the manufacturing sector. We need to be training for skills of the future – and we’re needing to connect better to the training sector on this. #IAID2018
From the floor… Is it possible for big firms to set up ‘wings’ in the premises for small players to work on their machinery? Small entrepreneurs are blocked and need small enabling opportunities… #IAID2018
Roux: The role of an R&D organisation like the SA CSIR is to lower the risk for industry on its journey to commercialisation. CSIR has many platforms for industry to access its infrastructures, programmes + networks #IAID2018
Contrary to the view that diversification and structural change only result from industrialisation, there is growing consensus that the services sector can contribute to economic transformation in emerging economies. This is potentially good news for South Africa given the growth of the services sector to 65% of GDP by 2014, and the proliferation of Industry 4.0. This Research Brief uses data from the Business Innovation Survey 2010-2012 to illuminate the character of innovation activities* in two key services sub-sectors: wholesale and retail trade (WRT), and finance, real estate and business services (FI). These sub-sectors are now central to the South African economy in terms of their contribution to GDP growth, and their advancement is therefore a key consideration for economists, lobbyists, business leaders, and policy makers alike.
Our Research Briefs are concise papers based our ongoing work. Their goal? To provide empirical evidence and informed opinion that policy- and decision-makers can use to strengthen the quality of their thinking and action.
There is growing consensus that the services sector can contribute to economic transformation in emerging economies, contrary to the long-held orthodoxy that diversification and structural change only result from industrialisation. This is potentially good news for South Africa, given the growth of the services sector to 65% of GDP by 2014—growth that has occurred at the expense of the manufacturing and mining sectors. The risk is that growth in services may reflect new ways of increasing asset values through new types of speculative financial products that have a high GDP effect, but little effect on positive structural economic change. Bhorat et al (2016) therefore ask the core developmental question: Can South African exploit this shift to build globally competitive, employment-creating firms that can drive structural economic transformation? – Kruss, et al (2018)
In two brand new briefing papers, researchers from the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators at the Human Sciences Research Council investigate firm-level awareness of public funding for innovation in the manufacturing and services sectors.
Our Research Briefs are concise papers based our ongoing work. Their goal? To provide empirical evidence and informed opinion that policy- and decision-makers can use to strengthen the quality of their thinking and action.
The South African government invests a significant amount of effort into supporting innovation in the South African business sector. This support can either be financial in nature or through support programmes that make access to other resources easier. Given the right support from government, we should expect business to be better positioned to take their innovations further. We report on the extent to which firms access this funding, if they benefit in other ways, and detail the reasons why they do not access public funding. – Kruss, et al (2018)
The event will include short statements by the Survey’s technical team concerning the aims and expected outcomes of the research, as well as a statement from the Department of Science and Technology about the significance of the research for national policy.
Participants at the Cape Town venue will also have an opportunity to visit the ‘Innovation Survey Hub’, a dedicated research centre at the HSRC where all fieldwork will take place.
For more information, please contact Gerard Ralphs (gralphs[at]hsrc.ac.za) or 0214668000.