The Innovation Systems Leadership Programme piloted by COFISA ended in a futures exercise whereby participants came up with ideas/ roles and commitments on how to take the main learning points like collaboration and building networks in innovation further. One of the main ideas participants felt should be taken further was to start a South African Network for Innovation with the acronym SAINe.
In parallel to the COFISA pilot, the SA Innovator magazine hosted a South African Innovation Summit with the theme: “Innovation on Trial”. This summit was used by RIIS, as content organisers of the event, to survey the need amongst participants for a networking club amongst role-players from the academic, government and business sector. Fourty three individuals/organizations that attended the summit indicated that they felt a need for a network in innovation. They also indicated that they wanted the network to be formalized and for it to contribute pro-actively to the innovation landscape in South Africa. Suggestions included that members fund research projects on innovation, that innovation lessons learnt and case studies are discussed and shared and that best practices in innovation management is benchmarked.
The main aim of the activities associated with the innovation network is to remedy the current lack of reliable data on innovation-related topics as well as contribute to information on progress made in South Africa on innovation. It will also serve as a national resource providing information on upcoming and ongoing innovation activities as well as assisting with local and international benchmarking (one company already indicated that they will sponsor a benchmarking capability for management of innovation practices).