This year’s Innovation Summit aims to ignite Africa’s and South Africa’s inventive spirit over three days of inspiration, interaction and collaboration.
The summit, 28-30 August in Johannesburg, will bring together a high-powered panel of local and international inventors, entrepreneurs and left-field thinkers to apply their minds to reversing South Africa’s innovation slide.
Home-grown innovation is crucial to solving our economic and social problems and bolstering our international reputation, but SA has fallen 16 places on the Global Innovation Index over the past three years, from 43 to 59. There are currently no sub-Saharan African countries in the top 50.
The summit intends to address this challenge by providing a collaborative space where various role-players from business, government, academia and civil society can discuss, share their knowledge and experience and explore radical ideas and unorthodox methodologies.
The event will present a CEO in-depth panel discussion on leading innovation and creating Africa’s competitive edge. Various theme based panel discussions, presentations, workshops, case studies, and opportunities for inventors to pitch ideas to a panel of experts are designed to connect ideas to funders and markets.
A new unique feature in 2012, is a live, interactive video stream to five African countries with collaborating partners on the other end, that will share lessons learnt, and create a platform for co-innovation on the continent.
A wide range of issues will be explored, including the need for regional and national innovation systems, the latest theories and research on innovation and creativity, the role of innovative leadership, new business model strategies, new technologies, tools and techniques, funding and the importance of the senses to the creative process.
Among those taking part will be our lead sponsor’s Eskom’s, Dr Steve Lennon, Group Executive of Eskom Sustainability, looking at Innovation Leadership, internationally innovation leadership expert, Dan Buchner, future studies guru Prof Philip Spies; innovation systems specialist, Dr Shawn Cunningham; investor and entrepreneur in Africa, York Zucchi; the head of Technology Transfer and Innovation at Vaal University of Technology, Prof Deon de Beer, internationally acclaimed designers and founders of Design with Africa, Mugendi M’Raath and Roelf Mulder, IDC head of Green Industries, Rentia van Tonder , moving from single firm interventions to systemic interventions by Mrs. Adrie El Mohamadi from the CSIR and Explosive New Trends Making Africa a World of Possibilities by Chris Kanyane, Contributing Editor at Voices.News24.com – often regarded by peers as Curator of Ancient Africa and Ancient Wisdom.
The Innovation Lab, which had a hugely successful debut at last year’s event, will again be at the heart of the creative exchange. The Lab is curated by top South African brand consultants, and pioneers in contextual thinking.
One of Lab’s most important functions will be match-making entrepreneurs and inventors with technology providers, funders and government agencies, while providing delegates with real-time insights into the nitty-gritty of the innovation process.
The Lab’s architecture will demonstrate new ideas in sustainable design using organic and recycled materials to create an inviting space in which artefacts, installation art, architecture, design and the latest high tech inventions will all play a part in stimulating ideas and encouraging collaboration.
This year’s summit is taking active steps to recruit young South Africans to the innovation cause through a series of pre-summit activities including lab sessions and workshops for youth groups.
The youth sessions will be facilitated by the multi-talented Peter Greenwall, entrepreneurial mentor, entertainer and engineer, and Lydia Zingoni, founder and director of Teenentrepreneur.
In line with its commitment to inclusivity, the summit is inviting the public to experience the lab first-hand on its open day on 28 August.
Innovation heavyweights IDC, SPII, The Innovation Hub, Mail&Guardian, Management Today and African Entrepreneur are endorsing through sponsorship and knowledge share. A new partnership with Innovation Prize forAfricapioneered by the United Nations invites ideas to be upscaled through $ 150 000 prize money.
The 5th Innovation Summit runs from 29 to 30 August at The Forum on the Dimension Data Campus in Bryanston.