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ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e ¹
Enhancing Innovation in South Africa:
The COFISA Experience
February 2010
(oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 3
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- COFISA – the Origins
- Innovation Towards a Knowledge Economy
- Lessons from Finland
- Highlights
- Introduction
- The Finnish Perspective
- The Finnish Innovation System
- Why Test the Finnish Innovation Model in South Africa?
- COFISA – Conceptualisation and Inception
- COFISA Emerging
- Conclusions
- The Systems of Innovation Approach
- Evolution of the Programme
- Elements underpinning the COFISA Concept
- Challenges
- Conclusion
- The Knowledge Society, Innovation and Foresight Cycle
- Innovation and Foresight in the Developing World
- The Foresight Processes
- Possible Future of Futures in Africa
- Case Study – Taking Foresight Forward – KIRD in the Eastern Cape
- Introduction
- What is Activator
- How the Programme Started
- The Activator
Concept for Multi-Helix Collaboration and SME Development
- Development and Implementation of the Activator
- Existing Activator
- Activator
in the Future
- Introduction
- Background
- Living Labs
- Implementing the Living Labs Concept
- Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) in the Western Cape
- The Siyakhula Living Lab (Eastern Cape)
- The Living Labs in Southern Africa Network (LLiSA)
- The Future
Tina James
Activator Team, The Innovation Hub
Neville Comins
Bob Day
Daan du Toit
Aki Enkenberg
Peter Greenwood
Thando Gwintsa
Lauri Kuukasjärvi
Ilari Lindy
Rasigan Maharajh
Mmboneni Muofhe
Marlon Parker
Thomas Pogue
Reuben Rammbuda
Stanley Ridge
Kobus Roux
Nirvashnee Seetal
Thembinkosi Semwayo
Helena Tapper
Alfredo Terzoli
Rudi van der Walt
Ashley Westaway

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Copyright © February 2010
Department of Science and Technology, Government of South Africa
This book is available on www.cofsa.org.za
From July 2010 this can be accessed at http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
Hardcopies can be obtained from:
Department of Science and Technology, Private Bag X894
PRETORIA 0001, South Africa
Tel: +27 (12) 843-6341 email: mmboneni.muofhe@dst.gov.za
The information contained in this publication may be reproduced, used and shared without prior permission but
with acknowledgement of this publication as the source
|o¸e 6 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e .
Table 4.1 Selected Themes and High-Level Actions Emerging from the
Provincial Foresight Workshops 53
Table 6.1 Stakeholder Activities in the RLabs Project 80
Table 8.1 The Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework for COFISA 109
Figure 2.1 The Finnish Innovation System 27
Figure 4.1 Linkages between Foresight, the Development of Innovative Regions,
and the Development of Innovation Systems 50
Figure 4.2 An Example of a Futures Wheel as Developed in the South African
Regional Foresight Workshops 52
Figure 4.3 Quadrant-based Innovation Scenarios for the Eastern Cape 55
Figure 8.2 LogFrame Extract for COFISA 111
- History of Science Parks in South Africa
- The Role of COFISA
- Case Studies
- Lessons Learned
- Introduction
- History of Beginnings: A Learner Paradigm
- The ME&L Framework for COFISA
- The Logical Framework(LogFrame) Approach
- Qualitative Monitoring and Evaluation
- Quantitatively Measuring Outcome and Impact
- Conclusion
- Introduction
- Assessment Instruments
- Innovation System Scoreboards
- Innovation Policy Scoreboards
- Innovation System Appraisals
- Innovation Policy Appraisals
- Systemic Assessment of the COFISA Programme
- Conclusion
- Introduction
- Inception
- Governance
- Alignment
- Linkages
- Stakeholder Management and Awareness Raising
- Resources, Workplan and Administration
- Making a Contribution
- The Way Forward
- References
- Authors
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started this acknowledgement by writing down a list
of the people whom I thought should defnitely be
named for their unselfsh and invaluable contributions
to COFISA since 2006. However, as the list grew longer I
realised, frstly, how impractical the task was becoming
but secondly, and more importantly, how lucky COFISA
in fact was to have built up such a strong backbone of
trusted, competent and dedicated intellectual resources
that helped carry us through our journey.
Sadly, its time to say goodbye to COFISA but the
relationships that have been built up during its time
will endure long after. On behalf of the Programme, the
Department of Science and Technology and the Finnish
Ministry of Foreign Afairs I want to extend my sincerest
gratitude and appreciation to all those who have had a
hand in shaping and realising COFISA .
Finally, a special thank you to the editor and the various
authors who helped bring this book to life and thus
preserve COFISA’s legacy a while longer.
Nirvashnee Seetal
South African National Coordinator
December 2009
t is with pride that I launch this milestone publication.
The Cooperation Framework on Innovation Systems
between Finland and South Africa (COFISA) has proven
that through hard work and determination, new and
ambitious projects can be implemented to improve the
efectiveness of the South African national system of
innovation. My Department is pleased that this Finland
and South Africa collaboration has led to success in
creating efective innovation systems. COFISA was
designed to be a pilot programme − a catalyst that would
challenge our thinking and approaches to innovation
systems development. The programme has successfully
delivered on its mandate, and whilst COFISA ofcially
closes on 28 February 2010, my Department is committed
to building on the networks, relationships and projects
that the programme has put in place.
This book represents part of COFISA’s legacy. It captures
the lessons and experiences of a pioneer project that
undertook the task of contributing to the improvement of
the national system of innovation, primarily and uniquely
through the development of regional (provincial) systems
of innovation. This approach represents my Department’s
commitment to ensuring that South Africa becomes a
vibrant multi-level system of innovation that responds
efectively to our socio-economic needs.
I am confdent that you will fnd this publication both
inspiring and enlightening, and I encourage all its readers
to pay attention to the important messages that it conveys.
Only through collaborative hard work, a will to succeed,
a shared vision of our country’s future, and an innovative
mindset can we ensure that South Africa truly soars.
I would like to extend my gratitude to the Finnish
Government for their partnership in this Programme and,
fnally, I would like to congratulate all those who have
been actively involved in making COFISA a success.
Naledi Pandor, MP
Minister of Science and Technology
South Africa
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lobalisation is challenging all economies regardless
of their phase of development and position in the
global landscape. Today, the interdependency
between countries and regions has become stronger than
ever before. Many of the developed countries are building
up their economies based on knowledge - education,
science and research and development. The majority of
developing countries are today resource based economies
and at an early stage of building their knowledge
societies. An innovation system is one of the key elements
in this building process.

During the last decades, Finland has heavily invested in
our innovation system, research and development as well
as in education. Close and fexible collaboration between
public and private sectors is characteristic in fnancing.
Competitiveness of the innovation system is continuously
evaluated and its operations are adjusted to meet the
future challenges in Europe and globally.

As a small country, Finland is strongly dependent on the
world economy. Global economic and fnancial crises
hit us hard. However, we have learnt how to cope with
these challenges. In the early 1990s Finland sufered a
severe fnancial and economic downturn. During that
period Finland made an investment in an information and
knowledge based economy. The impact of these changes
has been increased productivity and competitiveness. ICT-
solutions have also been applied in traditional industries.

The collaboration between South Africa and Finland
in the area of information society and knowledge
economy started with the COFISA programme in 2006.
This programme focuses on strengthening the national,
provincial and local innovation system in South Africa. The
programme is the frst of its kind in Finnish Development

COFISA has focused on building innovation systems in
three provinces, Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern
Cape. The outcomes can be measured in new activities
and continuity with various organisations. Some of these
activities and outcomes are the following: using Foresight
in planning, rural innovation, development of science
parks and innovation forums that bring together public
and private stakeholders.

COFISA has strengthened Finnish and South African
partnerships between various organisations. We would
like to see this collaboration continue into the future.
The lessons learned from COFISA will also be introduced
to the entire Southern African region. Innovations will
strengthen economically and ecologically efcient
allocation of natural and human resources and increase
overall sustainability in the development of these

Paavo Väyrynen
Minister for Foreign Trade and Development
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AURP Association of University Research Parks
CBD Central Business District
CHEC Cape Higher Education Consortium
CIPRO Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Ofce
CMT COFISA Core Management Team
CoE Centre of Excellence
CoE Centre of Expertise
COFISA Cooperation Framework on Innovation Systems between Finland and South Africa
CPUT Cape Peninsula University of Technology
CSIR Council for Scientifc and Industrial Research
DAS Drug Advice Support
DST Department of Science and Technology
EIS European Innovation Scoreboard
ELIDZ East London Industrial Development Zone (South Africa)
ELSTP East London Science and Technology Park
ENoLL European Network of Living Labs
EU European Union
FDI Foreign Direct Investment
FOR-RIS Foresight Regional Innovation Systems applied in NACs
FOSS Free and Open Source Software
GDP Gross Domestic Product
GERD Gross domestic Expenditure on Research and Development
GM Genetically Modifed
GSM Global System for Mobile Communications
HEI Higher Education Institution
HIV/AIDS Human Immunodefciency Virus / Acquired Immune Defciency Syndrome
IASP International Association of Science Parks
ICT4D ICT for Development
ICTs Information and Communications Technologies
IDM Impact Direct Ministries, a community organisation
IDZ Industrial Development Zone
INSPIRE Provincial Information society strategy initiative (Limpopo/ Northern Cape, South Africa)
IP Intellectual Property
IPA Innovation Policy Appraisals
IPR Intellectual Property Rights
IPS Innovation Policy Scoreboard
ISA Innovation System Appraisals
ISS Innovation System Scoreboard
JDF Joint Development Forum (Northwest Province, South Africa)
KAD Knowledge for African Development
KIBS Knowledge Intensive Business Services
KIRD Knowledge and Innovation for Rural Development
LAN Local Area Network
LFA Logical Framework Approach
LLiSA Living Labs in Southern Africa Network
M&E Monitoring and Evaluation
MDGs Millennium Development Goals
ME&L Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
NACs Newly Associated Countries (European Union)
NBIA National Business Incubator Association
NEPAD New Partnership for Africa’s Development
NGO Non-Governmental Organisation
NRDS National Research and Development Strategy
NSI National System of Innovation
NWSP North-West Science Park
NWU North-West University
OECD Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
OSKE Centre of Expertise Programme (Finland)
PNC on ISAD Presidential National Commission on Information Society and Development
PSI Provincial System of Innovation
R&D Research and Development
RDI Research, Development and Innovation
RIS Regional Innovation Strategies
RLabs Reconstructed Living Labs
S&T Science and Technology
SABS South African Bureau of Standards
SADC Southern African Development Community
SAFIPA South Africa-Finland Partnership on ICT
SAINE South African Innovation Network
SANORD South African- Nordic Centre (located at University of the Western Cape)
SANSI South African National System of Innovation
SEDA Small Enterprise Development Agency
SHOKS Key strategic high-technology sectors of innovation (Finland)
SITRA Finnish Innovation Fund
SLL Siyakhula Living Lab (Eastern Cape)
SLLMU SLL Management Unit
SME Small and Medium Enterprise
SMME Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprise
STI Science, Technology and Innovation
STP Science and Technology Parks
SU Stellenbosch University
TEKEL Finnish Science Park Association
TEKES Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation
TeLL Tshwane eHealth Living Lab Activator
TIA Technology Innovation Agency
TIH The Innovation Hub
TRM Technology Roadmap
TUT Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria
UCT University of Cape Town
UNDP United Nations Development Programme
UNISA University of South Africa
USAASA Universal Service and Access Agency of South Africa
UWC University of the Western Cape
WAN Wide Area Network
WiMAX Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access
WSIS World Summit on Information Society
WSU Walter Sisulu University, Eastern Cape
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Mmboneni Muofhe
Department of Science and Technology
South Africa
Daan du Toit
Department of Science and Technology
South Africa
Thi s chapt er gi ves some cont ext
f or t he concept ual i sat i on and
evol ut i on of COFI SA. I t al so
gi ves a sense of how COFI SA f i t s
wi t hi n t he broader Sout h Af r i can
Nat i onal Syst em of I nnovat i on
as f oreseen by t he Sout h Af r i can
Whi t e Paper on Sci ence and
Technol ogy of 1996, and mapped
out i n t he 2002 Nat i onal Research
and Devel opment St r at egy. I t
al so expl ai ns how t he progr amme
f i nds expressi on and rel evance
i n t he “I nnovat i on Towards a
Knowl edge-Based Economy:
Ten Year Pl an f or Sout h Af r i ca
( 2008-2018) ”. The chapt er
ref l ect s on t he rel evance of t he
progr amme i n addressi ng cur rent
chal l enges i n Sout h Af r i ca and t he
appropr i at eness of Fi nl and as a
nat ur al par t ner i n t hi s i ni t i at i ve.
Fi nal l y, f ol l owi ng i t s shor t but ver y
i mpact i ve l i f espan, t he chapt er
concl udes by hi ghl i ght i ng some of
COFI SA’s achi evement s.
he origins of COFISA, the Cooperation Framework on Innovation
Systems between Finland and South Africa, can be traced back to
the last decade. The policy framework for South Africa’s fedgling
democracy, which included a National System of Innovation (SANSI), was
developed through a comprehensive series of international policy learning
and comparison engagements. This has, since the late nineties, included a
number of study visits to Finland by South African ofcials and innovation
policy experts. This cooperation formed part of the Finnish Government’s
early and subsequent consistent and strong support to assist the economic
development of the young South African democracy, most notably in the
fght against poverty. The role played by science and innovation during
the early days of the South African–Finnish development cooperation
partnership was largely ad-hoc in the absence of an overall, concerted
coordination framework to leverage the synergy between innovation and
development. The development of COFISA therefore found its motivation in
an attempt to better harness the role cooperation could play in innovation
policy and programmes to support development.
Internationally, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002
and the World Summit on the Information Society in 2003 placed greater
focus on the role played by knowledge and innovation in supporting
development. It sparked an emerging global policy consensus on the
critical need for development cooperation partnerships with developing
countries and emerging economies which extended beyond the traditional
areas of cooperation, science, technology and innovation capacity-
building. Leveraging its own domestic strengths in innovation system and
information society development, Finland was eager to include innovation
systems cooperation as an important component in its cooperation with
the developing world. It found in South Africa an eager partner to prepare
and implement such a frst pioneering initiative.
By 2004, as South Africa celebrated its frst decade of democracy, the
country was ready to enhance its innovation system development to the
next level, building on the work of the frst decade. This was undertaken
by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, and then
the Department of Science and Technology, in creating South Africa’s frst
comprehensive policy framework for the SANSI.
The creation of the fully-fedged Department of Science and Technology
in 2002 also led to a signifcant strengthening of the Department’s
institutional capacities to build international partnerships. A dedicated
division was, for example, created to seek to leverage international
resources and investment to enhance South Africa’s science, technology
and innovation (STI) capacities. It was this division which in 2004 engaged
with the Finnish Embassy in South Africa to prepare the way for what would
We wish to acknowledge the signifcant inputs provided to the COFISA programme by Dr Neville Arendse, Department of Science and
Technology, during the conceptualisation and planning stages of COFISA.
become COFISA. From late 2004 a series of scoping exercises and studies
were undertaken to determine the areas of intervention where Finland’s
unique expertise could be best leveraged to support the strengthening
of innovation capacities in South Africa. These studies were undertaken
by Finnish and South African experts working in close cooperation – even
during the initial preparatory phase the emphasis on transnational
partnership and close cooperation was one of the hallmarks of COFISA. The
engagements included meetings and consultations across South Africa
with a range of public and private sector policy- and decision-makers.
The preparatory phase itself therefore became an important catalyst and
facilitator for a deepened national innovation policy discussion in
South Africa.
The COFISA preparatory phase, through its meticulous and thorough
consultation, ensured that COFISA would address policy objectives
prioritised by South Africa, such as the development of provincial/
regional innovation systems, where cooperation with Finland would
ofer a unique comparative advantage. Due care was also taken to ensure
that the programme would not duplicate any of the existing national
South African initiatives but would serve to complement them. From the
outset ownership of the programme would reside with South Africa. The
intention was to create a programme which would become an instrument
at the disposal of the Department of Science and Technology, to be best
deployed as it deemed ft and mainstreamed with its broader national
programmes. Harnessing innovation to fght poverty was always going to
be at the heart of the programme and the preparatory efort did not shy
away from proposing innovative interventions in this regard. An important
pattern of intervention was therefore set early on for COFISA, building
carefully on what had been achieved before but also proposing bold, new
interventions where circumstances so required. The ground-breaking
COFISA programmes in the Eastern Cape were a clear manifestation of
this philosophy.
It was also evident during the early days that an intervention of the nature
and of the planned scale of COFISA had not yet been undertaken by any
other development cooperation partners. There was much talk about
innovation for development, but COFISA was the frst to put this into
practice in a concerted manner. COFISA would therefore ofer rich learning
for other parties, and it was agreed early during the preparation to include
a component of learning with other Southern African Development
Community (SADC) partners. The excellent cooperation between Finland
and South Africa in the preparation of COFISA also provided a platform for
the partners to convene, in partnership with the World Bank in May 2006, a
major international conference on the role played by knowledge in Africa’s
development. This critically analysed the essential interface between
innovation, education and information society technologies.
Prior to COFISA’s launch, South Africa and Finland also embarked on the
See Section 2, Chapters 6 and 7 for more details.
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preparation of two additional programmes, one targeting
information and communication technology partnerships
for development and the other support for biotechnology
programmes in the Southern African region, the latter in
support of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(NEPAD’s) science framework. COFISA was thus bearing
fruit before it was even ofcially started.
The South African-Finnish partnership in science and
technology has brought an interesting new dimension
in ofcial development assistance, one that emphasises
partnership, local ownership and sustainability. This
partnership between South Africa and Finland was
described as refreshingly unconventional and as one that
could set the benchmark for future bilateral programmes.
This is primarily due to its strong focus on science
diplomacy and insistence on capacity development and
knowledge transfer. The joint fnancial investment by the
two governments was to efectively facilitate access by
South African researchers, entrepreneurs, government
ofcials and representatives of the private sector to
Finnish innovation experts and institutions.
The South African National Research and Development
Strategy (August 2002) towards whose implementation
COFISA was intended to contribute, gives expression to
the national goals of economic development and the
improvement of quality of life for all citizens through
three strategic objectives:
• Achi evi ng mast er y of t echnol ogi cal change i n t he Sout h Af r i can
economy and soci et y ( I nnovat i on) ;
• I ncreasi ng i nvest ment i n Sout h Af r i ca’s sci ence base ( Human
Capi t al and Tr ansf or mat i on) ; and
• Creat i ng an ef f ect i ve gover nment sci ence and t echnol ogy
syst em ( Al i gnment and Del i ver y) .
With tremendous strides having been made in the past
couple of years to establish the SANSI, the desired levels
of innovation are yet to be achieved. Some of the key
problems were identifed during the formative stages
• National level defciencies in understanding the
workings of the SANSI and its necessary evolution,
mainly expressed through the lack of Foresighting
capabilities at national and provincial levels;
• Lack of a shared understanding between SANSI
stakeholders as to the roles, operation and interactions
of SANSI components;
• Insufciently developed provincial systems of
innovation that are poorly integrated with the SANSI;
• Lack of provincial innovation mechanisms such as
science parks;
• Poor communication and collaboration between
national and local levels;
• Lack of realisation of the potential of STI to address
issues in rural and impoverished communities; and
• Lack of connection between the frst and
second economies.
Planting, Sasha (6 April 2007). From Aid to Trade. Financial Mail. http://free.fnancialmail.co.za/innovations/07/0406/cinn.htm
Innovation Towards a Knowledge Economy
outh Africa is well known for its mineral wealth,
biological diversity and clear skies. As a resource-
rich country, South Africa has largely relied on
this natural endowment to build what is today one
of the largest economies in the continent. However,
it is widely accepted that knowledge, far more than
endowment, has become the major driving force of
economic and social development globally. The concept
of a ‘knowledge economy’ has become a focus for
many progressive economies, based on the generation
and adoption of new knowledge created by scientifc
research and technological advances; investments in
education and research; adoption of best practices; and
openness to social, economic, and cultural innovations.
For advanced industrialised countries with high labour
and infrastructure costs, the knowledge economy ofers
competitive advantages in high-technology product
manufacture and efcient service sectors. For natural
resource-based economies it ofers improved technologies
and higher-value added products with closer customer
linkages, as well as a path for sustainable development.
Developing countries such as South Africa look at
knowledge for possibilities to short-circuit development
phases, leapfrog technologies, and more quickly integrate
into the global economy by becoming more attractive to
international investors. In acknowledging the innovation
partnership between the two countries, Minister
of Science and Technology, Mr Mosibudi Mangena,
remarked at the launch of the COFISA programme in
September 2006, that
“South Afri ca and Fi nl and’s
common obj ecti ve to mai nstream
knowl edge and i nnovati on as basi c
i mperati ves of the gl obal struggl e
agai nst poverty and sustai nabl e
devel opment has found expressi on
i n di fferent i nternati onal forums,
and most notabl y, at the recent
Worl d Summi t on the Informati on
Soci ety.”
He added that COFISA ofered a unique opportunity to
demonstrate in practice the logical interface between
sustainable development and poverty alleviation, and the
innovative application of knowledge and technology.
Lessons From Finland
ntil recently, Finland was a resource-driven
economy whose factors of production were mainly
timber resources, some minerals, hydropower
and waterways for transportation. Firms in Finland relied
mainly on technologies adopted from elsewhere. As a
consequence, the economy was sensitive to fuctuations in
world commodity prices. It therefore came as no surprise
when Finland’s economic situation in the early 1990s went
through a severe economic recession characterised by a
major banking crisis, high unemployment rates and the
accumulation of government debt from modest levels
to over 60 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) that
were approaching international lending limits.
What makes Finland an appealing partner for South Africa
in innovation is that in a relatively short period, it has
transformed itself into a model knowledge economy. In
recent years, it has been consistently ranked among the
top performers in international competitiveness rankings.
Measured by many indicators related to the knowledge
economy, it has been ranked frst. As Minister Paavo
Vayrynen put it during his address at the Finland-South
Africa business Forum in South Africa recently, Finland has
always understood the importance of open economy and
liberal trade, and had to strive to use natural resources
and other productive assets to the best knowledge in
order to be competitive in the world. Minister Vayrynen
further remarked that this is the source for the strong
Finnish know-how that is so central to the success of
the country’s forest industry and technology, energy
technology, environmental technology and Information
and Communications Technologies (ICTs).
One of the key steps taken to turn the situation around
was Finland’s 1993 publication of the National Industrial
Strategy White Paper by the Ministry of Trade and Industry.
This strengthened a focus towards developing and
promoting a national innovation system in the context
of industrial clusters. This and other Finnish innovation
policies generally call for collaboration, networking and
internationalisation. This approach seems to be at the
core of Finland’s success. In terms of the governance of
the system of innovation, the strategic development
and coordination of science and technology policy are
the responsibility of the Science and Technology Policy
Council (recently renamed the Research and Innovation
Council). This body involves a much wider range of sectors
than similar councils elsewhere in the world, is chaired
by the Prime Minister and boasts the participation of the
Ministers of Education, Trade and Industry and Finance.
The governance and coordination role of the Research and
Innovation council no doubt shares the credit for Finland
being one of the world’s most ICT-intensive countries in
terms of R&D, employment and exports. By the standards
|o¸e 20 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 2¹
of international research institutions, it ranks among
the most competitive countries in the world. The Public-
Private-Partnerships characteristic of Finland’s science
system enables the common use of limited resources
and the formation of joint ventures. Finland also tackles
its challenges by allowing the science system to respond
to prevailing challenges. As a sparsely populated nation,
Minister Vayrynen also argues that Finland needed a new
channel of communication with friends and relatives
often living far away, thus raising the need to connect
people by means of telecommunications. This became an
opportunity for growing a telecommunications industry,
one for which Finland is currently known.
A bedrock of Finnish success is its efcient education
system. The education policy exhibits the principle of
equality in terms of gender, region and socio-economic
background while in South Africa the education system
is still plagued by many challenges. Education in Finland
is publicly funded and run, making it free. The system is
also well supported by the social security system which
incentivises young people to continue
educating themselves.
uring its short lifespan from 2006 – early 2010,
COFISA embarked on a mission to play primarily
a facilitative role and to support programmes
relevant to respective provinces so that sustainability
could be continued by existing institutions post COFISA.
Below are some of the highlights achieved by COFISA:
• Building Provincial Foresight – this process entails
methods and techniques used to develop viable and
sustainable futures for communities. These are crucial
in the short term for the development of strategies
as they are proactive and a departure from short term
incremental planning which typically focuses on how
to solve present problems. The value of Foresighting
is on the “what can be” and then directing eforts
towards systematically developing the desired futures.
This exercise was conducted in the three targeted pilot
provinces – Gauteng, Eastern Cape and the
Western Cape.
• Establishment of the Activator Initiative - adapted
from successful Finnish experience focusing on triple-
collaboration in innovation-based projects,
Activator aims to assist in bridging the innovation
chasm though the translation of research into useful
products, services or businesses in a more direct and
efective way.
• Science Parks – COFISA has been instrumental in
increasing awareness and understanding of the role
of Science Parks as key innovation-enabling
mechanisms across South Africa, and has conducted
studies related to their coordination and development.
• Support for a Network of Living Labs – The Living
Lab platform focuses on promoting open, user-driven
innovation in rural ICT services and applications.
• Development of Knowledge and Innovation
for Rural Development Platform (KIRD) – KIRD
is an initiative which intends to build on European,
and particularly Finnish, experience and expertise to
turn the Eastern Cape from being the core of
South Africa’s rural (and urban) poverty, to becoming
an exemplary region of socio-economic stability
and growth based on an environmentally sustainable
urban-rural balance. The idea for KIRD arose out of
the Foresight exercise conducted during the frst year
of the implementation of COFISA, wherein the need
for sustainable interventions for stimulating
innovation in rural areas in the Eastern Cape
was identifed.
• While COFISA was only piloted in three provinces,
all SANSI stakeholders stood to beneft from a number
of instruments, one such being the COFISA Seed
Fund. This mobility fund aimed at funding individuals
and organisations in support of exchanging
knowledge; information sharing; skills transfer; sharing
resources; and building long term networks. The
purpose of the Fund was to support and motivate
actors involved in the SANSI to explore, network,
gain international experience and infuence others
within their networks to create long-term relationships
for the development of the SANSI. Benefciaries of the
fund included ofcials from national, provincial and
local government, research agencies and the private
sector, mainly Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
• COFISA has benefted stakeholders far beyond the
three pilot provinces, with the Limpopo province,
through the Ofce of the Premier, taking its own
initiative to seek COFISA support in the development
of their regional innovation strategy. Ofcials from
this province also participated in study visits to Finland
and were able to establish their own networks and
build capacity in amongst other areas, understanding
the importance of Living Labs and the role and
relevance of a science park in the province.
As a pilot, COFISA was meant to provide useful lessons
on how the system of innovation can be strengthened
to address social and economic challenges efectively.
A number of lessons have been learnt, some of which
will be shared with other provinces in South Africa and
exported to the rest of the Southern African region and
the continent. It is with much contentment that one has
begun to witness commitment from various stakeholders
to take ownership of some programmes initiated during
COFISA. Although COFISA as a formal programme has
now been concluded, building on the foundation laid
the DST will continue to work with a series of partners in
Finland to develop new innovation partnerships.
The Triple Helix refers to the notion of cooperation between stakeholders from the private sector, public sector and research.
|o¸e 22 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 23
Gl obal i sat i on chal l enges al l
count r i es i n t he wor l d t o f i nd t hei r
economi c ni che so as t o enabl e
t hem t o be compet i t i ve and
t hus gener at e economi c weal t h
f or t hei r peopl e. One of t he key
el ement s of a knowl edge-based
economy i s i nnovat i on - how
best t o br i ng new ser vi ces and
product s t o mar ket . I nnovat i on
i s based on a st rong educat i on
syst em, sci ence base and
communi t i es of research and
devel opment . An i nnovat i on
syst em i s one of t he key el ement s
of a knowl edge-based economy.
Through COFI SA t he col l abor at i on
i n st rengt heni ng t he i nnovat i on
syst em bet ween Fi nl and and
Sout h Af r i ca has gi ven i nsi ght t o
bot h count r i es on how t o manage
gl obal chal l enges and f i nd l eadi ng
ni ches i n t hei r economi es. Thi s
chapt er hi ghl i ght s and di scusses
t hose chal l enges and sol ut i ons
i n bui l di ng i nnovat i on syst ems i n
t wo ver y di f f erent count r i es and
economi es.
Hel ena Tapper
Embassy of Fi nl and, South Af ri ca
I l ari Li ndy
Mi ni stry of Forei gn Aff ai rs, Fi nl and
lobalisation makes countries and economies increasingly
competitive and ofers considerable opportunities for those
who can seize what globalisation makes available. Globalisation
increases the mobility of goods, money, capital, people, ideas, cultures
and values across borders with increased interdependency between
countries, economies and cultures. For those who are not able to do so,
globalisation poses great risks of further marginalisation from global
trade and investment fows, and even of disappearing from the map of
global markets. Many of the leading countries in the global economy are
knowledge-based economies which have invested in education, research
and development and through those investments have been able to build
their innovation system and science and technology base.
An innovation system consists of producers of knowledge (researchers
and communities of practice), users of knowledge and their interactions.
The key elements of an innovation system are education, research and
development, and knowledge-intensive industries. But the key question is:
Why i nvest i n an i nnovat i on syst em, or
sci ence and t echnol ogy?
The short answer is that investment in an innovation system generates
economic growth and employment; enhances productivity and through
economic growth enhances the wealth of a country or region. One of the
long-term impacts is poverty reduction.
To build an innovation system, a country or region needs to integrate
innovation policy and science and technology policy into its economic
policy objectives and identify the key objectives to build its knowledge
economy, priority areas and instruments to implement these policies. In
addition to policy the establishment of a national or regional innovation
system is key to understanding the stakeholders, their roles and the
expected outcomes of the system.
The South African government requested support from Finland to develop
their innovation system in the early 2000s. After government consultations
the two countries agreed to share experiences in science, technology
and innovation (STI). In October 2006, the COFISA programme was the
start of this unique collaboration between the two respective ministries,
the Department of Science and Technology (DST) (South Africa) and the
Ministry for Foreign Afairs (MFA) (Finland).
After just over three years of extensive work, from 2006 – 2010, COFISA
has brought in new elements and interventions, particularly in regional
Previously with the Embassy of Finland, South Africa.
Contrasti ng the South Af ri can and Fi nni sh
Systems of I nnovati on
The Fi nni sh and Sout h Af r i can i nnovat i on syst ems are
di f f erent and have ver y di f f erent economi c and soci al
cont ext s. The Fi nni sh i nnovat i on syst em i s based
on a sci ence, t echnol ogy and i nnovat i on pol i cy t hat
suppor t s t he bui l di ng of a knowl edge-based economy.
More i mpor t ant l y, i t i s l ed by a common vi si on of
t he rol e of i nnovat i on i n economi c growt h and soci al
devel opment .
The Fi nni sh I nnovati on System
The Fi nni sh i nnovat i on syst em f or ms par t of t he
sci ence and t echnol ogy pol i cy of t he count r y, wi t h
a move t owards a research and i nnovat i on pol i cy.
The common under st andi ng i s t hat i nnovat i on i s a
key cat al yst f or economi c growt h and devel opment .
Fi nl and has i dent i f i ed key st r at egi c sect or s f or
i nnovat i on ( SHOKs) t o l ead t he count r y t owards f ut ure
economi c growt h. I nnovat i on i s al so seen as a key
el ement i n regi onal devel opment . The mai n message
f rom Fi nl and, however, i s t hat t here i s a common
vi si on f or t he count r y’s f ut ure devel opment , based on
a syst emi c approach and col l abor at i on, and whi ch has
t he pol i t i cal suppor t of t he gover nment .
The pi l l ar s of t he i nnovat i on syst em are:
• Educat i on i n sci ence;
• I nvest ment i n R&D; and
• Col l aborati on between the publ i c and pri vate sectors.
Through i t s i nnovat i on syst em, Fi nl and i s bui l di ng
knowl edge capaci t y i n t he count r y. As t he basi c
resource i s human capaci t y, i t i s t hat capaci t y whi ch i s
enabl i ng Fi nl and t o be a pl ayer i n t he gl obal economy.
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The South Af ri can I nnovati on System
The Sout h Af r i can i nnovat i on syst em
i s a resource-based economy. The
Nat i onal I nnovat i on Pl an ( 2008- 2018)

and t he ear l i er Nat i onal Research and
Devel opment St r at egy ( 2002)
are t he
gui di ng pol i cy and st r at egy document s f or
Sout h Af r i ca. The Nat i onal I nnovat i on Pl an
expresses cl ear l y t he need t o st rengt hen
human capaci t y i n sci ence i n sel ect ed
areas such as nanot echnol ogy, space
t echnol ogy, bi osci ences and i nf or mat i on
and communi cat i on t echnol ogy ( I CT) , t o
l ead t he count r y t owards a knowl edge-
based economy. The devel opment of
t he Sout h Af r i can nat i onal and regi onal
( provi nci al ) i nnovat i on syst em i s l ooki ng
at f i l l i ng t he gaps i n t he i nnovat i on
syst em by di rect i ng resources t o
sci ence educat i on and research and
devel opment . One of t he key aspect s i s
t o enhance col l abor at i on bet ween t he
st akehol der s i n t he i nnovat i on syst em.
The Nat i onal I nnovat i on Pl an emphasi ses
t he devel opment of a knowl edge-based
economy by 2018 as a f ut ure goal -
i nvest ment i n R&D educat i on i s a key
el ement i n maki ng Sout h Af r i ca a gl obal
pl ayer i n sel ect ed areas.
I t i s wi t hi n t hi s cont ext t hat Fi nl and and
Sout h Af r i ca, t wo di f f erent economi es,
st ar t ed shar i ng knowl edge t o devel op
t he Sout h Af r i can Nat i onal Syst em
of I nnovat i on ( SANSI ) t hrough t he
COFI SA progr amme.
(provincial) innovation systems. The challenges have been
great but understanding the role an innovation system
plays in economic growth has expanded.
The Finnish Perspective
lobally Finland is one of the leading information
societies measured by technology and its use,
competitiveness and education levels.
has managed to change its economic development
from a state of severe economic crisis in the early 1990s
(the result of the collapse of the industrial base of the
economy), to an information economy and society. This
development took place with collaboration between
the public and private sectors and a long-term trust-
building process in the broader society. Some of the
key characteristics of Finland have been the long-term
investment in public education and R&D, building political
trust, government support for the development of the
Information Society (Information Society Programme), a
regulatory environment supporting competition, and the
participation of all key stakeholders in decision-making to
build an information or knowledge-based society.
ICT, innovation capacity and education are the key
elements of a knowledge-based society, and building
the knowledge base is perhaps the strongest element of
competitiveness and success of any country today and in
the future.
Finland’s recent economic development has been as a
result of policies supporting innovation and information
society. Tarmo Lemola
summarises the development of
Finland’s technology policies in the following way:
“From t he l at e 1960s onwards
t he pol i cy can be di vi ded on t he
basi s of i t s cont ent i nt o t hree
phases. The same condi t i ons,
i nst r ument s and oper at i ng
modes of t echnol ogy pol i cy
appear i n each phase. The
f i r st phase, whi ch began i n t he
mi d-1960s, can be cal l ed t he
per i od of research pol i cy. The
f ocus dur i ng t he second phase,
whi ch began at t he t ur n of t he
1980s, was on t he devel opment
of t echnol ogi es and may be
ref er red t o as t he per i od of
t echnol ogy pol i cy. The l at est
i nnovat i on pol i cy phase began
i n t he ear l y 1990s. I nnovat i on
pol i cy i nvol ves bot h sci ent i f i c
and t echnol ogi cal devel opment
bei ng exami ned f rom t he
st andpoi nt of i nnovat i ons,
t aki ng account of i nnovat i on-
promot i ng f act or s such as
sci ence and t echnol ogy, and
emphasi si ng t he per spect i ves
of t echnol ogy t r ansf er, di f f usi on
and commerci al i sat i on. The
t r ansi t i on f rom t echnol ogy
pol i cy t o i nnovat i on pol i cy
was al so shaped by economi c
cr i si s. ”
In the early 1990s an information society policy and
strategy was produced to guide the transition from an
industrial economy (that was in a severe recession at
the time) to an information economy, where ICT was the
leading technology. The goal of the policy was to make
Finland a global leader in ICT products and services.
The Innovation Policy aims at the following:
• Promote the overall functionality of the innovation
system and the system’s ability to renew itself;
• Enhance the knowledge base;
• Improve the quality and targeting of research;
• Promote the adaptation and commercialisation of
research results; and
• Secure adequate economic prerequisites for the
The continuous development of human resources also
ensures top-quality competence for the future.

The Finnish Innovation System refects innovation as an
instrument to economic growth, with both division of
labour between stakeholders and collaboration between
the public and private sectors.
South African Department of Science and Technology. Innovation towards a Knowledge Economy. The Ten Year Plan for South Africa (2008 – 2018). http://www.dst.gov.za/publications-policies/strategies-
reports/The%20Ten- Year%20Plan%20for%20Science%20and%20Technology.pdf
South Africa’s National Research and Development Strategy (August 2002). http://www.dst.gov.za/publications- policies/strategies-reports/reports/sa_nat_rd_strat.pdf
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (2006). Science Competencies for Tomorrow’s World. OECD.
President of Advansis Ltd., Finland.
Lemola, Tarmo (2001), Management of Engineering and Technology, 2001. PICMET apos: 01. Portland International Conference, Vol. 1, Issue 2001, p.483.
Tapper, H. (2001). The Potential Risks of the Local in the Global Information Society. Journal of Social Philosophy, Winter 2000, vol.31, no. 4, pp. 524-534, Blackwell Publishing, USA.
Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland (2006). Science, Technology, Innovation Series of publications: Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland.
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The Finnish Innovation System
inland, based on its population size, is a small
country of only 5.2 million people. The economy
was previously dominated by strong pulp and paper
industries, while the metal industry gradually became
the second largest sector. In the early 1990s Finland
sufered a strong economic recession due to a number of
concurrent factors:
• The fall of the Soviet Union, one of Finland’s biggest
export countries for industrial products;
• The economic recession in Finland’s other main export
countries, which led to the fall of both export volumes
of pulp and paper products as well as their prices; and
• The liberalisation of fnancial markets in a carefree
fashion, which led to an overheated economy. As a
result, the country’s creditworthiness fell, many
companies went bankrupt, and the unemployment
rate rose to close on 19 %.
Finland had to re-invent itself and formulated a new vision
and national policies for the future of the country. One of
the major goals was to build Finland as a knowledge-based
society and global player in ICTs.
The transformation was not just about undertaking the
correct analyses and drafting appropriate policies, but
also carried with it a fair amount of luck. At the time Nokia,
today one of the globally leading mobile communications
companies, changed its industrial path from pulp and
paper, consumer electronics, tyres and rubber boots to
that of being an ICT company. Nokia has since become a
world leader in mobile phones and their applications, and
is a major company in telecommunications networks with
Siemens, as Nokia Siemens Networks. The Nokia cluster is
today a key player in the Finnish economy.
HowdidFinlandmanage the change ina relatively short time?
• Finland invested, for decades, in building its
education system - it is public and free for everyone,
from kindergarten to the doctoral degree level;
• The public sector provided the initial push to build the
Finnish innovation system, but gradually the private
sector increased its investment in R&D, and is currently
fnancing two-thirds of the total R&D investment;
• A systemic approach was put in place to build
collaboration between stakeholders in science and
technology on the one hand and the Finnish
innovation system on the other;
• Finland has built a common vision as a knowledge-
based society - or information society - and as a global
player in ICT;
• The information and communications environment
was deregulated and liberalised for free competition
at a very early stage, in order to make ICTs serve the
business, people and the country - and not the other
way round.
A key task for STI policies is to ensure balanced
development of the innovation system and strengthening
cooperation within it. Alongside this, and increasingly
important, are cooperation relationships with other sectors
such as economic, industrial, labour, environmental and
regional development, and social welfare and health care
A key element of the Finnish innovation system has been
the collaboration between universities and research
institutes, industry and the public sector. This collaboration
is supported by measures such as the funding of research
programmes that encourage collaboration between
universities and industry (Academy of Finland); funding
private sector R&D and its commercialisation (TEKES, The
Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation);
identifcation of key strategic high-technology areas of
innovation (SHOKs) and supporting the collaboration
between research organisations and the private sector; and
funding of specifc thematic areas for innovation (SITRA, the
Finnish Innovation Fund).
The science policy is supporting long-term development of
the Finnish innovation system and is implemented by the
Ministry of Education.
The technology and innovation policy supports
competitiveness of the Finnish industries and their
innovation environment. The Ministry of Employment and
the Economy is responsible for implementing this policy.
A new national innovation strategy is being prepared.
In addition to technology, emphasis is given to the
commercialisation of innovations, service innovations and
the growth of businesses.
The Fi nni sh I nnovati on System
Dur i ng t he cur rent t er m of gover nment , R&D f undi ng wi l l be i ncreased f rom 3. 5 - 4% of
Fi nl and’s gross nat i onal product . Thi s f undi ng wi l l be al l ocat ed t o cent res of st r at egi c
excel l ence i n sect or s t hat are key t o t he devel opment of t he nat i onal economy, soci et y
and ci t i zens’ wel f are. The regi onal i nnovat i on base as wel l as cooper at i on bet ween
busi ness communi t i es, and educat i on and research communi t i es, wi l l be st rengt hened
t hrough a Cent re of Exper t i se Progr amme t hat consi st s of cl ust er-based net wor ki ng.
Finnish science and technology system
Research and
Innovation Council
Advisory Board for
Sectoral Research
Ministry of
Ministry of Employment
and the Economy
Other Ministries
Academy of
Tekes Sitra
Universities, Polytechnics and Public Research Institutes
Business Enterprises and Private Research Institutes
Figure 2. 1 The Finnish Innovation System
The Fi nni sh i nnovat i on syst em i s coordi nat ed by t he Research and I nnovat i on Counci l
i n t he Mi ni st r y of Educat i on, chai red by t he Pr i me Mi ni st er. The Counci l coordi nat es
and advi ses al l mi ni st r i es on t hei r act i vi t i es i n research, t echnol ogy and i nnovat i on.
The Counci l i s responsi bl e f or t he st r at egi c devel opment and coordi nat i on of Fi nni sh
sci ence and t echnol ogy pol i cy as wel l as of t he nat i onal i nnovat i on syst em as a
whol e. The emphasi s of t he sci ence and t echnol ogy pol i cy i s on i nnovat i on. The
Counci l represent s t wo mai n mi ni st r i es, t he Mi ni st r y of Educat i on and t he Mi ni st r y of
Empl oyment and t he Economy, and t hei r respect i ve pubi c or gani sat i ons i n sci ence and
t echnol ogy and i nnovat i on.
|o¸e 2S ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 29
The Advi sor y Board f or Sect or al Research was est abl i shed i n 2007 t o coordi nat e
t he over al l st eer i ng of st at e sect or al research. I t s act i on i s geared t o suppor t
and st rengt hen per f or mance management of sect or al research i n each f i el d of
admi ni st r at i on. The ai m i s t o i mprove mi ni st r i es’ commi ssi oni ng know-how, enhance
t he t ar get i ng of sect or al research and st ep up t he ut i l i sat i on of research over
admi ni st r at i ve boundar i es.
The key research f undi ng or gani sat i ons are t he f ol l owi ng:
• The Academy of Fi nl and f unds basi c research t hrough research progr ammes. I t
encour ages col l abor at i on bet ween uni ver si t i es and f unds research chai r s and post s,
and post -doct or al progr ammes. The Academy of Fi nl and f al l s under t he Mi ni st r y
of Educat i on.
• TEKES, t he Fi nni sh Fundi ng Agency f or Technol ogy and I nnovat i on, i s t he mai n
publ i c f undi ng or gani sat i on f or research, devel opment and i nnovat i on i n Fi nl and.
I t f unds pr i vat e sect or R&D t hrough t echnol ogy and i nnovat i on progr ammes. I t i s t he
l ar gest f undi ng agency f or R&D i n Fi nl and and f al l s under t he Mi ni st r y of Empl oyment
and t he Economy.
• SI TRA, t he Fi nni sh I nnovat i on Fund, i s an i ndependent publ i c f und whi ch, under t he
super vi si on of t he Fi nni sh Par l i ament , promot es t he wel f are of Fi nni sh soci et y. I t
f unds progr ammes i n key areas f or t he Fi nni sh soci et y such as ener gy, heal t h care,
muni ci pal devel opment and growt h progr ammes f or mechani cal i ndust r y.
I n addi t i on t here are publ i c and pr i vat e research or gani sat i ons and uni ver si t i es t hat
car r y out basi c and appl i ed research. There are 20 uni ver si t i es i n t he Mi ni st r y of
Educat i on sect or : t en mul t i di sci pl i nar y uni ver si t i es, t hree school s of economi cs and
busi ness admi ni st r at i on, t hree uni ver si t i es of t echnol ogy, and f our ar t academi es i n
Fi nl and. Some of t he uni ver si t i es and school s of economi cs wi l l mer ge i n 2010. The
most f amous one i s t he Aal t o Uni ver si t y t hat wi l l mer ge wi t h t he Hel si nki School of
Economi cs, Hel si nki Uni ver si t y of Technol ogy and Hel si nki Uni ver si t y of Ar t s i n 2010.
The future challenges of the Finnish innovation system have
been identifed in a recent study.
These challenges are
specifc to Finland but also refect the global environment:
1. Globalisation. Finland is losing traditional and lower-
level industrial jobs to other parts of the world;
economic growth is also shifting to other parts of
the world.
2. Change in the population structure. The aging
population in Finland has an impact on labour markets,
consumption and needs for services. Changes in the
population structure change the economy and society
as a whole.
3. ICTs are opening new opportunities as information
and knowledge become accessible and ubiquitous.
This changes communication patterns, work methods
and social interactions between individuals.
4. Sustainable development presents challenges and
requires long-term investments in the environment.
Climate change, changes of world’s ecosystems, water
problems and waste management call for new
solutions in consumption as well as in the production
of goods and services.
5. A competent workforce is crucial for success in
any country. There is increased competition globally
for a competent work force. In the future there is
need for investment in competencies that integrate
scientifc and technological know-how with business,
cultural, social and legal competencies. Good living
and working environments for a competent workforce
become increasingly important. Finland needs to fnd
its competence areas within this globally
competitive environment.
6. Open source becomes more relevant globally. Work
becomes independent of time and location globally
as organisations are global and managed through
ICT networks. Therefore, Finland needs a more skilled
and competent workforce in this changing and globally
networked environment.
7. Multicultural equality becomes important. People are
increasingly working in multicultural environments
where multicultural equality is a must.
8. Global governance and managing change requires
more international cooperation, regulations,
standards and agreements. Nation-states continue to
be important players but they will need to work
together with international and domestic players to
secure their interests. Managing risks and security
become increasingly important.
Why Test the Finnish Innovation Model in South Africa?
irstly, there was a request by the South African
government to assist in the development of the
South African National System of Innovation (SANSI)
and particularly the regional (provincial) system of
innovation. It was the systemic structure and combination
of knowledge transfer mechanisms that South Africa was
also looking for in partnership with Finland.

South Africa was the frst country in which such
collaboration was attempted, in this case through the
COFISA programme. This was not without its challenges in
• Finland is a country of 5,2 million people; South Africa
has over 45 million;
• The size of Finland is one third that of South Africa;
• Finland is a knowledge-based economy, South Africa a
resource-based economy; and
• The Finnish innovation system has adopted a systemic
approach based on STI policy to build a knowledge-
based society; South Africa has several sectoral
policies. South Africa has identifed key strategic
areas for the science and technology development of
the country, as well as a strategy to become a
knowledge economy. The STI policy is implemented
through the Department of Science and Technology.
Other departments are implementing their own
policies and plans.
The main challenges are in how to share a Finnish model
in a country with a very diferent political and economic
culture, and to do it in such a way that supports national
and regional development. The answer lies in the fact that
this is what Finland has done in the Finnish environment,
and that the results have been measurable. The Finnish
model may provide some advice and experience of
interventions and support mechanisms to develop the
SANSI, but ultimately the main task remains in South
African stakeholders’ hands. Finland could only be a
pathfnder in this process, to share what was learned in
that context.
nternational trade and fows of fnance are increasingly
moving from south-to-north and south-to-south to
link the technological capacity of the North to the
growth markets of the South. Skills and ability to scale
technological inventions into innovations advancing
social and economic development are today found in
Finnsight, 2015. http://www.fnnsight2015.f
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global knowledge networks instead of closed laboratories
of advanced economies. Recent years have seen a shift
towards ‘south–south’ technology alliances amongst
emerging economies instead of ‘old north-south’ thinking.
Fast-paced development of ICTs combined with a young
and increasingly skilled population may also gradually
transform the developing countries from aid recipients into
equal partners in technology alliances. Thus the ongoing
global re-allocation of economic resources calls for a new
type of cooperation and partnerships between advanced
economies and the developing world. Such was also the
thinking of the MFA when discussions were initiated with
South Africa on how to match development cooperation to
the needs and modalities of the new Millennium.
In the annual consultation between the Governments
of Finland and South Africa, held in Helsinki in June
2003, it was confrmed that Finland would continue its
bilateral development cooperation with South Africa
until 2010. The cooperation would continue focusing
on the education sector, the environmental sector, job
creation and SMME development as well as human
rights and democracy development. As the gradual
phasing out of the bilateral grant support eventually
commences during the latter part of this decade, special
focus would be put on strengthened trade relations
and increased institutional linkages. It was also agreed
that more attention would be given to the role of ICT in
development along the lines envisaged by then Prime
Minister Lipponen and then President Mbeki during their
meetings in both Skagen (2000) and in Molde (2002).
Hence all new bilateral programmes to be prepared
would focus on capacity development in the area of
the information society. A dedicated expert was to be
posted in the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria to guide the
preparation of these new programmes.
COFISA - Conceptualisation and Inception
t the time the access of developing countries to
the benefts of ICTs was becoming one of the key
themes of discussion in international development
policy fora. Both Finland and South Africa were active
participants in this debate and expressed their support
for the UN Millennium Development Goals and the
declarations adopted by the WSIS (World Summit on
Information Society) in Geneva in 2003 and later in Tunis
in 2005.
It was evident that lack of access to information had
become a major problem in a growing number of
developing countries including economies in transition
such as South Africa. Developing countries did and still
do not have the same possibilities to make use of digital
information and communications that industrial countries
commonly enjoy. The challenge of the ’Digital Divide’
also includes concerns relating to the widening gap in
overall access to information and to the opportunities
for communication and knowledge which are the key to
economic and social development. Thus mainstreaming
ICT into the diferent sectors of society in order to attain
the development goals can remain unaccomplished
without the creation of more general preconditions for
sustainable development both globally and regionally.
The pre-conditions – or enabling environment – for a
sustainable information society call for an extensive skills
and knowledge base among the citizens, legislation,
strategies, the required infrastructure, and information
economy instruments that support development. This
can be done only in partnership between the private
and public sectors as well as research/academia and civil
society cooperating in the production of key services.
Such a framework for a sustainable Information Society
can also be seen as laying the groundwork for national
innovation systems.
Such thinking provided the starting point to establish
frst and foremost a cooperation platform – COFISA
- which would facilitate the operating environment for
the identifcation, assessment and take-up of ICT and its
applications. By focusing on an enabling environment
such an instrument would also establish itself as a broad
platform for actively drawing in a new type of constituency
– R&D - into the cooperation with South Africa. The
existing platform could also give Finnish public and private
institutions a springboard to act as partners in future
strategic projects in South Africa. Broad guidelines for the
COFISA programme were thus starting to become visible.
COFISA Emerging
he frst initiative for cooperation in the feld of
Innovation Systems took place in September 2001
when the former Minister of Arts, Culture, Science
and Technology, Dr Ben Ngubane, and the then Director-
General of the Department of Science and Technology
(DST), Dr Rob Adam, visited Finland. This included the
city of Oulu and its Centre of Expertise Programme.
Following the visit and topical discussions, a specifc
report investigating conditions for ICT and development
cooperation in South Africa was prepared by the
Department of Development Studies at the University
of Helsinki. As follow-up a Finnish S&T delegation
reciprocated with a visit to South Africa in May 2002 and
participated in the SA-Finland Workshop on Innovation.
By then the seed for the future thematic cooperation on
innovation was frmly planted.
From 2004 onwards the new Counsellor for Information
Society and STI at the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria was
already participating in discussions with the South African
DST in identifcation of concrete areas for cooperation
within the STI framework. Both parties quickly agreed
to support the idea by the DST, which was to establish a
specifc programme inside the Department to support the
South African national and provincial innovation system
development. DST and the Embassy of Finland formed a
partnership to develop a framework for cooperation in
the area of national and regional innovation systems, the
latter focused on three pilot provinces, namely Gauteng,
Western Cape and Eastern Cape.
An identifcation study for a dedicated programme
was commissioned by the MFA in early 2005. This study
assessed the SANSI and its component institutions
and was generally very positive. The identifcation
recommended several issues be considered for further
work in South Africa:
• A national, more focused innovation programme
coordinated by the DST;
• Innovation management activities based on regional
• Development of cluster-based programmes in key core
competence sectors;
• Strengthening the coordination of a national Centres
of Excellence (CoE) Programme;
• Identifcation of provincial innovation programmes
coordinated by local science/technology parks;
• Target-based R&D activities to promote local and
foreign companies;
• Increased and more efective utilisation of foreign
technology; and
• Well-defned spin-of and start-up processes including
fnancial and commercialisation tools.
There was signifcant agreement on the recommendations
dealing with issues that were common to the later COFISA
programme preparatory study commissioned by the MFA.
However, the approach of the identifcation study did not
take sufcient note, for example, of the large diferences
in economic development between the provinces, and it
did not address directly the issue of poverty alleviation
and the role of science and technology (and ICT) in this
process. These gaps were later flled by a number of
studies, including a draft Programme Document which
laid the foundation for the COFISA programme. The draft
programme Document paved the way for the selection of
a Finnish-South African Technical Assistance team which
kick-started the programme in the latter half of 2006.
inland’s science and technology policies represent
historically long-term investments in the knowledge
base of society. STI policy is integrated into
economic and industrial policies but also into education
policies. The national innovation system functions because
of collaboration between the public and private sectors,
and there is a division of labour between actors in the
innovation system. A small country can achieve this easily.
There is also a new networked approach to develop
the strengths of Finland to be able to play a role in the
global economy.
South Africa has recognised investments in a knowledge-
based economy and education and research as necessary
|o¸e 32 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 33
to become a strong player in the global economy and in
Africa. The DST is focusing on the knowledge economy
and innovation in its Ten-Year Plan, 2008-2018. The focus
on the innovation chasm - transforming innovations
into commercial products and services – has also been
recognised. The new Technology Innovation Agency (TIA)
has been established and clusters based on regional/
provincial strengths are supported. South Africa is a large
country with a large economy. It has great potential to
create provincial clusters and build collaboration at the
national and provincial levels. Building the knowledge
base of society takes years and decades, and building
provincial innovation systems by establishing new fora
and collaboration between the public and private sectors
may provide new platforms for building a provincial
innovation system that is supported by the national
innovation system and enabling environment.
The COFISA programme is well in line with the guidelines
of the Finnish Development Policy Programme and the
Guidelines of ICT and Information Society in Finnish
Development Cooperation (2005) emphasising that
special attention be paid to the creation of preconditions
for information economy development in partner
countries. Based on Finland’s own experiences related to
the Information Society as well as economic and social
policy, it is important that, by upgrading local innovative
activities, legislation and economic policy, development
cooperation ensures economic and social growth and its
more balanced distribution especially to the beneft of the
poorest parts of the population. It is also vital to secure the
establishment of a nationally signifcant entrepreneurial
sector in developing countries, which will step up local
employment and encourage content production based
on national languages and cultures. In its small regional-
specifc activity, COFISA can provide an example of how to
support the coherent development of innovation policy
and system development related to regional or national
activities and how it links to the Millennium Development
Goals and poverty reduction.
COFISA has done valuable work in South Africa and its
impact in creating a culture of innovation in southern
Africa will bring it close to Finland’s new National
Strategy of Innovation calling for stronger incentives
in international cooperation and pioneering markets
regardless of their location. Through the COFISA
Programme both countries have been able to learn from
each other. COFISA’s interventions in support to rural
development and innovation, science and technology
parks, Foresight and enhancing collaboration between the
public and private sectors have contributed to building
the SANSI. These activities will continue through various
organisations after the COFISA programme has ended.
Participants at the Eastern Cape Provincial Foresight Workshop
Community meeting – Siyakhula Living Lab, Eastern Cape
|o¸e 34 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 35
he National System of Innovation (NSI) as a policy framework was
adopted in Finland in the early 1990s for developing policies and
structures for promoting science, technology and innovation. This
concept, and an associated policy framework, is something both Finland
and South Africa have endorsed, South Africa having adopted it since 1996
when the White Paper on Science and Technology was published.
The next major national step in planning and implementing innovation
policy in South Africa was the development of the National Research
and Development Strategy (NRDS), which was approved by Cabinet in
July 2002. COFISA was conceptualised utilising the NRDS as the basis
for its approach. Within the NRDS the South African National System
of Innovation (SANSI) was characterised by several weaknesses and
challenges, which informed the design of the COFISA programme as a
means to enhance the SANSI. These were among others the fragmentation
of relations between organisations/actors, the mis- or non-alignment of
policies and strategies, the innovation chasm, weak articulation of the
innovation systems approach at Provincial level and inadequate human
resource capacity.
To simplify the situation, the COFISA programme was designed to translate
the existing policies into new practices, to adapt experiences from Finland
into a developing country context and to investigate how the national
policies, strategies and practices of South Africa could be pushed forward
and given extra momentum. What the programme documents stipulated,
was that the system needed to be enhanced, made more efcient in terms
of how the knowledge it produced translated into real-life solutions, new
products and services, innovations commercialised and taken to the
market. A basic premise of the programme was that this was to be achieved
primarily by enhancing the way cooperation and collaboration took place
in the system.
From the very beginning, COFISA was designed to follow and utilise the
NSI as a fundamental framework for development. The regional (provincial)
derivative of the concept, a Regional System of Innovation, was equally
important as it placed the level of analysis and development more frmly on
the provinces of South Africa, many of which are equally or more populous
than the whole of Finland. For this, COFISA focussed on the provinces of the
Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Gauteng. The main aim was to strengthen
collaboration between key stakeholders and to pilot a well-functioning and
sustainable support structure for enabling and promoting innovation for
greater economic growth and social development within the three target
Thi s chapt er ser ves
t o gi ve t he reader
i nsi ght i nt o t he
COFI SA Progr amme
as exper i enced on-
t he-ground by t he
Progr amme’s pr i mar y
oper at i onal t eam. As
such t he chapt er del ves
i nt o var i ous concept s,
approaches, pr act i cal
si t uat i ons and processes
whi ch f undament al l y
under pi nned t he
Progr amme’s
i mpl ement at i on.
Now at the Confederation of Finnish Industries, Finland.

Now with the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme, & Susinno Ltd, Finland.
Nirvashnee Seetal
Department of Science and Technology
Aki Enkenberg

Lauri Kuukasjarvi

provinces. Furthermore, the Programme aimed to enhance collaboration
between national and provincial level stakeholders in the NSI, based on
the understanding that the provincial (regional) systems of innovation are
integral components of the SANSI.
COFISA was of too short a duration to mitigate the SANSI’s identifed
weaknesses and threats. The Programme was thus designed to be an
experiment in catalysis. It was created to test various elements of the South
African innovation fabric and in so doing provide lessons to interested and
afected parties to be taken forward as part of the agenda of South Africa’s
economic growth and development.
Evolution of the Programme
he original project documents ofered a general framework and a
multidimensional description of the system to be developed. These
were mostly based on the experiences of Finland and lessons learned
in South Africa from the early to mid 1990s. The importance of both the
public and private sectors in the innovation system was recognised and
within these categories, emphasis was specifcally placed on actors in
the spheres of research and development, industry and public sector.
Promoting the development of intermediaries like science parks were seen
as playing a key role in innovation systems development. The outlined
approach strongly emphasised the role of the national government, with
the idea that the Department of Science and Technology (DST) could and
should play a leading role in organising and promoting innovation in the
country and its provinces.
The frst plans that the Finnish team developed in the tender phase formed
an interpretation of all these factors. The outcome was relatively general in
nature and did not pay much attention to the concrete activities that would
form the heart of the eventual programme. Certain operation principles,
the four-pronged component structure of the programme, composition of
the project team and the way that Finnish expertise would be drawn in and
utilised in the programme were already evident at this stage. The network
of Finnish experts ready to provide their services for the programme also
started to take shape.
Between September and December 2006, the COFISA operational team
was brought on board. This comprised the Chief Technical Adviser (Finn),
Junior Professional Ofcer (Finn), South African National Coordinator
(South African) and the Project Ofcer (South African). The Steering
Committee and Supervisory Board were constituted in early 2007 and the
operational team produced the frst COFISA workplan during this time.
The frst workplan was strongly premised on national-level management
with no real recognition of local or regional players and their role in the
forthcoming implementation. This was due to many factors, but with
hindsight, it is evident that the discussions and preparatory consultations
with many of the key stakeholders were to some extent superfcial and did
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not receive enough attention in the COFISA design phase.
Nevertheless, the frst workplan was crafted and the
programme took its frst steps in implementation.
The importance of monitoring and evaluation
was understood from the very beginning and the
corresponding function for carrying out this work was
established in mid 2007. An independent team was
appointed to conduct COFISA’s monitoring and evaluation
on an ongoing basis. This would allow the operational
team, to examine the Programme against evidence of
how things were really working on the ground. The team
was thus able to learn and make adjustments to the
Programme as it unfolded.
The second and third annual plans for 2008 and 2009 were
produced with more practical and specifc knowledge
of what seemed to be realistically achievable. The
Programme plans were never static, but responded to
the evolving thinking of the team and also to external
circumstances and pressures at the time. This kind of
fexibility was necessary. In Programmes such as COFISA,
it is impossible to envisage both the success of the
actions and the changes in the operating environment
beforehand. The plans, including logical frameworks
and/or other planning instruments must be sensitive to
this fact. Throughout the Programme’s implementation
however, certain key elements or principles remained
Stakeholders as Partners
inding the right stakeholders to take over projects
to ensure the sustainability of the COFISA eforts
was a challenge that was always at the forefront of
the team’s minds. Therefore, a critical message conveyed
during the entire duration of COFISA was that of local
ownership of the Programme’s projects and results. The
projects initiated had to be championed or owned by
strategic stakeholders to ensure their sustainability after
the Programme closed. COFISA thus actively nurtured and
relied upon the regular feedback of its stakeholders as
the various initiatives unfolded. It took the lead in getting
pilot projects of the ground and investing crucial fnancial
and human resources in the various initiatives. During
this process, stakeholders were kept closely involved
and potential champions were capacitated to allow for a
smooth transition with the exit of COFISA.
Triple Helix Collaboration
nnovation does not occur in isolation but within a
complex, interactive and interdependent network of
multiple actors and infuences, and within dynamic
systems. As a process it is systemic, non-linear and iterative,
involving a variety of agents interacting with each other
and with their external environment for seeking, acquiring
and exploiting intellectual resources
. A varied milieu of
organisations and institutions with both functional and
structural connections is therefore important for a local
innovation system.
The Triple Helix in essence refers to the benefcial
collaboration between frms, academia and government
in supporting and developing innovations. Most
concrete and visible examples of the triple helix are
local ecosystems such as science parks, or innovation
programmes such as the Centres of Expertise in Finland
(CoE) that have tried to foster this collaboration with
the goal to provide diferent support services, facilitate
innovative activities and enhance the commercialisation
processes of new technologies and innovations.
Simplifed, government is there to facilitate and invest
in infrastructure and know-how, academia leads the
research, and the private sector takes the results to the
market. Even where geographic proximity is a limiting
factor it is fundamental for the triple-helix structure to
operate within an enabling institutional framework.
Triple helix collaboration was actively sought throughout
COFISA’s implementation. A variety of mechanisms were
used to achieve this, including the simple act of ensuring
that role players from the diferent sectors were jointly
invited to events, to more complex projects such as the
Gauteng Activator
initiative which was modelled on the
Finnish Centres of Expertise.
aried knowledge sources are an important element
of any system of innovation. Today, businesses
increasingly rely and build their R&D functions on
external sources of knowledge such as other companies,
their customers, universities or research institutions.

Diferent types of networks thus play a critical role in
linking businesses and other role-players into broader
environments, enabling an interactive system of
knowledge creation and transfer. Persistent problems that
have confounded the development of vibrant innovation
networks in South Africa have been the low levels of
cooperation between academia, government and the
private sector, silo-mentalities and self-reliant attitudes.
Innovation performance is not however a simple matter
of having many or sufcient organisations and institutions
that interact. The nature of their interactions/relations,
their role within the broader objective of the system of
innovation, constraints that negatively impact innovation,
stimuli for innovation, and knowledge networks are
also important considerations.
Furthermore, besides
geographic proximity, cognitive proximity is important.
Role players within the system must know each other
and maintain open communication channels. COFISA
pushed for the creation of various linkages among actors/
organisations and actively encouraged the exchange
of ideas and information. Various mechanisms were
employed to get players around the same table to discuss
perspectives originally deemed disparate. Foresight
(Provincial, Biotechnology and Local Municipality)
one such a mechanism. Other networking mechanisms
included regular information sessions, the establishment
of the South African Innovation Network (SAINE), the
annual COFISA Conference and the various COFISA study
visits to Finland. These worked well towards our goals, but
are naturally not the only tools or mechanisms that one
could use.
A critical factor for creating the necessary connections
and conversations essential for innovation system
development is the presence of competent network
managers. This is a competence that South Africa
desperately needs in order to build the bridges between
the various actors in the innovation system.
Refer to Section 2, Chapter 6 for a more detailed description.
OECD (2008). Open Innovation In Global Networks. OECD Publications, Paris.
Edquist, C. (2001). The Systems of Innovation Approach and Innovation Policy: An account of the state of the art. Lead Paper presented at the DRUID Conference, June 2001.
Refer to Section 2, Chapter 4 for a more detailed description.
Varis, M. and Pellikka, J. (2004). Local Technology Policy in the Kuopio Region: A System of Innovation Perspective. Department of Business and Management, University of Kuopio. http://web.bi.no/
Eastern Cape Foresight Workshop, Port Alfred
|o¸e 3S ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 39
Strategic Focus
he sectoral characteristics of an economy are said to afect the nature,
direction and intensity of innovation.
A local innovation system
should be built on the particular strengths and opportunities of the
local economy, because for any particular area, the ability to be competitive
in all business environments and all areas of the value chain is very difcult.
A certain strategic focus and a process of making choices of where and how
resources should be invested is therefore necessary. In this way, the local
milieu of actors, organisations and institutions can be developed and relevant
competence areas pushed forward intensively. Regions must thus establish
the capability to identify, nurture and exploit their assets; and engage in
collaborative processes for socio- economic growth and development. In this
way the regions and consequently the NSI will be able to ensure an efective
response to the global knowledge economy.
In one sense, this comes down to having the relevant strategies and visions
in place to guide decision making in the regions. COFISA placed particular
emphasis on supporting the process of strategy development and decision-
making. However, given that government (national, provincial and local)
planning cycles are long and could not be controlled by the Programme, most
of the activities were related to kick-starting the kinds of networks, thinking and
concrete activities that could support the regions in their work. For instance,
Foresighting, science park development and the CoE programme were some of
the tools that were provided.
From t he per spect i ve of nat i onal coherence, i t
i s i mpor t ant t hat l ocal or regi onal choi ces are
suppor t ed by, and i n t ur n, suppor t nat i onal
pr i or i t i es as mapped out i n t he NRDS and l at er
i n t he t en-year pl an f or i nnovat i on.
Godinho, M.M.; Mendonca, S.F.; Pereira, T.S. (2003). Mapping Innovation Systems: A Framework Based on Innovation Data and Indicators.
Globelics Conference Paper.
Knowledge Difusion & Technology Transfer Mechanisms
As briefy noted above, innovation requires that the spheres of knowledge
production and knowledge utilisation in society connect, interact and
beneft from each other. Networks, triple-helix collaboration, public-private
partnerships, and clustering activities were all promoted through COFISA.
These and other such mechanisms relate directly to the manner in which new
knowledge is difused among the diferent elements of the system. Technology
transfer plays a key role within any system of innovation, most notably in how
intellectual property rights (IPR), knowledge and technology produced within
the sphere of universities or research institutions can be exploited elsewhere
by other parties. For this reason COFISA used its access to technical experts
to inform relevant South African stakeholders on how to build and manage
technology transfer ofces. The workshops were aptly titled “Learning through
Sharing and Collaboration” and were intended to support the implementation
of the recently promulgated IPR Act.
Human Social Dynamics, Trust and Neutrality
Networking and other types of interactions within an
innovation system rest strongly on a foundation of human
social dynamics. Trust has a critical role to play in social
interactions and thus in innovation processes. Trust is
important as it can promote the free, unrestricted trading
of questions and ideas.
Establishing trust is however a
complex process that can be frustrated by organisational
cultures, cultural diversity, power distances and various
other factors. Establishing trust requires commitment
and persistence from all role-players as well as a mindset
conducive to collaborative knowledge creation and sharing.
Therefore, an inclination to accept change and new ways of
thinking and acting is important.
COFISA’s frst year proved to be extremely trying. Coupled
with a limited stakeholder understanding of the innovation
system concepts and mechanisms, the team was faced
with the daunting task of building relationships with
potential stakeholders from a zero baseline. Consequently
the creation of environments and attitudes conducive to
the promotion and development of innovation systems
became the frst priority of the COFISA team. The process of
building and maintaining its credibility and trustworthiness
began in earnest in 2007 and had a signifcant role to play in
how COFISA was thereafter perceived and accepted by the
various role players in the system.
The process of building this credibility and trust involved
a range of “soft issues”which the team as a whole
continued to give precedence throughout the Programme’s
implementation. Face-to-face engagements, regular
feedback, increased visibility of Programme members, a
display of competence, the willingness to listen and learn,
and an overall approach that involved the co-construction
of knowledge and experiences comprised some of the
human elements that went into building strong credibility.
In addition, COFISA’s perceived institutional “neutrality”
also provided signifcant credibility mileage. Whilst being
recognised as part of the Department of Science and
Technology, the Programme’s nimbleness and fexibility
was seen as uncharacteristic of government bodies. A short
timeframe, coupled with an ambitious agenda and a small
results-driven operational team provided the ideal setting
for a spearhead Programme with much to achieve.
Nielsen, M. (2008). Building a Better Collective Memory. http://michaelnielsen.org/blog/?p=448, 17 July 2008.
www.cofsa.org.za; after July 2010 this website will migrate to http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
“COFI SA has achi eved t he si gni f i cant val ue t hat i t has ( and despi t e
some weaknesses t hat have been i dent i f i ed) because i t has been
abl e t o operat e i n a f l exi bl e way, t o move wi t h agi l i t y, and t o t ake
cal cul at ed ri sks where appropri at e. The rol e t hat COFI SA has
pl ayed woul d not have been possi bl e wi t hout t hi s abi l i t y t o operat e
f l exi bl y. At t he same t i me, t he cl ose l i nk t hat COFI SA has had wi t h
DST has provi ded i t wi t h l egi t i macy and a credi bi l i t y t hat have
al so been essent i al t o i t s success. I t s f aci l i t at i ng and enabl i ng
rol e requi res t he uni que charact eri st i cs of bei ng cl osel y l i nked and
al l i ed t o DST, whi l e at t he same t i me bei ng di st i nct . ”
Moni t ori ng, Eval uat i on and Lear ni ng I nt ervi ew, June 2009
Information Dissemination
A well-maintained and regularly updated website
cofsa.org.za), coupled with newsletters, brochures, guides
and emails served as the key media in ensuring that the
knowledge emerging out of COFISA was readily accessible
to all interested and afected parties. Furthermore, the
operational team was active in ensuring that platforms (e.g.
conferences and seminars), providing the opportunity to
exhibit COFISA, were readily exploited – both nationally and
|o¸e 40 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 4¹
COFISA’s readily available information played a contributing
role in building and maintaining the Programme’s credibility
and positive profle. It was important in ensuring that the
Programme “walked the talk”by sharing its information,
knowledge and experience and making channels available
for others to share and learn.
Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
n a development programme such as COFISA,
monitoring and evaluating the state and progress
of activities against the set targets and examining
whether the planned outcomes were achieved is
extremely important. But equally important is to question
those targets and forms of activities themselves, and
continuously follow and improve the programme’s
structures and modes of operation based on evidence
collected along the way. A formative monitoring,
evaluation and learning (ME&L) project for supporting
this was put in place in 2007.
This very critical element
of COFISA served as an invaluable source of constant
learning and renewal for the operational team. It allowed
the team to make needed adjustments, based on the
perceptions and demands of stakeholders, thus allowing
the Programme to maintain an efective degree of
responsiveness and stability.
The COFISA ME&L approach allowed for both quantitative
and qualitative assessments of the Programme’s
performance. Qualitatively, the Programme was judged
based on wide-ranging stakeholder interviews that were
conducted on a bimonthly basis. Quantitatively, the ME&L
team applied the LogFrame methodology and an objective
data-based approach to the measurement of performance.
This involved an analytical assessment of innovation-related
indicators at a national and provincial level.
hat follows is a brief overview of several of the
challenges faced during the implementation of
Limited alignment with key national institutions, strategies,
programmes and projects made the Programme’s start-
up complicated. The team had to focus a lot of efort and
energy on attempting to build the necessary mutually
reinforcing relationships that would hold the Programme in
good stead through the rest of its implementation.
The limited introduction of the Programme into the NSI
prior to the team’s appointment and the limited support
during the initial phases of its implementation to “open
doors”proved challenging. Building the necessary
networks, awareness and working relationships with
the many organisations and individuals took a lot more
time and resources than expected. This impacted on the
implementation of the frst workplan as the team had to
frst make up ground. The lack of a shared understanding,
language and culture of innovation and innovation systems
in South Africa further complicated implementation.
There was strong emphasis in the early days of the
programme on achieving quick wins but ultimately, many
of the projects that seemed like quick wins were among the
most difcult and time consuming to implement. The team
learnt quickly that all activities should be carefully planned
and executed only after evidence supports them, and all
targets should be realistic.
Building a cohesive project team proved to be amongst
the most challenging issues for COFISA. A new team, from
diferent cultural and work backgrounds, mandated to
implement a short but ambitious Programme, was a recipe
for chaos. However, the team’s individual and collective
aspirations to make COFISA a resounding success proved to
be more compelling than diferences of opinion and
work style.
For a more detailed perspective refer to Section 3, Chapter 8.
any factors infuence the development of a local
/ regional system of innovation. They include the
existence of relevant, functioning institutions and
organisations that are within geographic and cognitive
proximity. In addition, the existence of a sound network of
users and producers of knowledge; innovation incentives;
support services and strong learning environments;
the presence of social capital in the form of innovation-
propitious mindsets, attitudes and behaviour is critical for
the development of innovation systems.
All of these issues were included, in some form, on COFISA’s
agenda. The diferent development activities and projects
started under the Programme had one principle in
common: the investments made were almost completely
on intangibles - learning, knowledge, know-how and
competence; capacitating people and organisations to be
innovative and innovate.
It is difcult to even attempt to guess which aspects of the
programme will remain and have a lasting impact in fve
to ten years’ time. However, any developing country or
region will probably beneft from having an organisation
such as COFISA challenging perceptions, linking diferent
organisations, and mediating between the many players
that make up the innovation system. This does not need
to take place in the form of a programme or project, but
the function that COFISA performed in its limited timespan
should be given serious thought, and particularly how its
legacy can be sustained in the future.
One key message is that any policies related to advancing
science, technology and innovation have to be increasingly
open, outward and fexible to global trends and
circumstances. No single country is able to stay still or
focus on just itself anymore. Even the Finnish success story
of the past decades is not guaranteed to last in the future
without constant vigilance and increased agility. The global
economic system is open to new countries and regions
in a way that we have not seen before, which makes it
increasingly challenging even for Finland to maintain its
position. At the same time, the world is faced with dramatic
challenges that require new solutions to be found. For any
country, including South Africa, these are the times when
investments in innovation are needed.
Di s c u s s i o n s a b o u t
i n n o v a t i o n a r e
o f t e n q u i t e a b s t r a c t
a n d r i d d l e d wi t h
p r o f e s s i o n a l j a r g o n
t h a t i s i n d a n g e r o f
l o s i n g i t s l i n k t o a n y
p r a c t i c a l d a y - t o - d a y
r e a l i t y. Wh i l s t p l a c i n g
e mp h a s i s o n t h e s e
a b s t r a c t t e r ms a n d
c o n c e p t s , COF I S A
a l s o t r i e d t o f o c u s
o n i n i t i a t i n g c o n c r e t e
j o i n t p r o j e c t s ,
p r o c e s s e s o f wo r k i n g
a n d d o i n g t h i n g s
t o g e t h e r . I t wa s
a l wa y s t h e i n t e n t i o n
t h a t t h r o u g h s u c h
a p p r o a c h e s mi n d s e t s
c o u l d r e a l l y s t a r t
t o c h a n g e .
|o¸e 42 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 43
|o¸e 44 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 45
I n t he cont ext of t he emer gi ng
knowl edge soci et y, t hi s chapt er
has t wo mai n t hemes. Fi r st l y,
t hat Foresi ght i s a power f ul
mechani sm f or addressi ng ever
more compl ex f ut ures, and
secondl y, t hat Foresi ght can and
shoul d be under st ood and used
by al l , whet her i ndi vi dual l y or
col l ect i vel y. Af t er out l i ni ng i t s
evol ut i on, we descr i be t he many
f acet s t hat make up Foresi ght ,
and t hen f ocus on i t s st rong
rel at i onshi p wi t h i nnovat i on i n
t he cont ext of t he devel opi ng
wor l d. Next , we share some
Sout h Af r i can exper i ences f rom
t he recent appl i cat i on by COFI SA
of sever al Foresi ght t ool s and
processes t o st i mul at e i nnovat i on
at t he sub-nat i onal and cl ust er
l evel s. Fi nal l y, we out l i ne some
exci t i ng prospect s f or t he more
i nnovat i ve use of Foresi ght i n
t he f ut ure.
Bob Day
Non-Zero Sum Devel opment
Thembi Semwayo
Ontol l i gent Sof tware Servi ces
he knowledge society is at the door. Some view it as providing the
opportunity to build a world without want, where mankind (at last)
can and will live in sustainable harmony with his fellows and the
biosphere. Others treat it with various levels of suspicion and even fear,
seeing it as the new face of neo-colonialism, destined and intended to
entrench and even widen the gap between the traditional “haves” and
“have-nots”, both between and within countries.
The negative view is the stuf of self-fulflling prophecies, yet it does not
have to be so. Einstein is famously quoted as saying:
“The probl ems t hat exi st i n t he wor l d
t oday cannot be sol ved by t he l evel of
t hi nki ng t hat creat ed t hem. ”
The majority of today’s global population, especially the leadership core,
has been raised in an industrial socio-economy. Therefore, the industrial
approach dominates our thinking. Assuming Einstein was right, we are
unlikely to progress towards the “true” knowledge society if we continue
to use industrial thinking, and to look in the same directions (via the same
industrial mechanisms) for solutions.
Foresight provides a mechanism not only for exploring both the above
possible negative and positive futures of the knowledge society (and
many others between these poles), but also for helping us all, individually
and collectively, to infuence which of them comes to pass. Foresight can
bring innovation and balance to the thinking (and particularly the strategic
thinking) not only of “experts”, but of us all.
A Brief History of Futures Thinking
ur ability to consciously consider our long-term futures is one
of the characteristics that diferentiates humans from all other
life forms on planet Earth. Earlier societies across the continents
- the Egyptian pharaohs, the Ancient Greek Oracle, the Inca Priests, the
Monomotapa and Nguni kings of Southern Africa, to name but a few
- invested signifcant time and resources in a lone, invariant strategy to
improve their futures, i.e. by placating the relevant deities of the day. Is
there any greater power (whether vested in men or deities) than the belief
throughout a population that some entity has control over their individual
and collective futures? Surprisingly, the popularity of astrology even
in today’s most sophisticated societies indicates that many retain what
appears to be an innate belief that our futures (individual and collective)
are somehow pre-determined, and beyond our control. 26
Refer to the Reference section at the end of this book for some useful resource materials.
A long established, alternative way to think about, and to try to infuence,
our futures is to develop strategies. “Strategy” is an ancient concept of
unknown origin, but was recognised by the Chinese military around
500 B.C. in Sun Tzu, their military classic, as well as by ancient Greek
philosophers, notably Socrates.
Only much more recently has strategic thinking been considered
seriously by business leaders, who have invested signifcant resources in
management research. In the 1930s, Alfred Sloan introduced “strategic
thinking” to General Motors, although recent events indicate that they
managed to lose this ability in the past decade. In the 1950s, the need to
rebuild nations after the Second World War resulted in strategic decision
making being infuenced by a range of futures activities, such as strategic
planning, technological forecasting and economic analysis. By the 1960s,
Shell and General Electric had taken the next step of introducing futures
activities into their corporate planning to explore both new markets and
new products. Since the mid-1960s, strategic business planning has been
extensively practised, researched and taught in a growing number of
management schools around the world. In the following decades, strategic
business planning theory has itself become a growth industry, acquiring
ever greater diversity and complexity, with questionable benefts.
In many minds, scenarios and futures thinking have become synonyms.
The frst documented use of scenarios for strategic planning was by the
USA military following the Second World War. Herman Kahn then adapted
scenarios for strategic business planning in the 1960s with the aim of
identifying and analysing as many possible futures as could be imagined in
order to generate better strategic decisions.
In the late 1960s, in response to the growing inadequacy of their traditional
forecasting techniques, Royal Dutch Shell employed Pierre Wack, who
transformed their use of scenarios. Wack’s scenario approach was to
highlight the ways in which the future would not resemble the past. He
used scenarios to promote “the gentle art of reperceiving”, without which,
he believed, decision makers would soon (usually subconsciously) revert
to their habitual assumption that tomorrow would bring more of the
same. The growth in Shell’s success during and following the Wack era
is legendary.
The Delphi method, an anonymous survey technique developed in
the USA which questions experts on the future likelihood of certain
issues, has become widely used (e.g. in Japan since 1971 in the National
Technology Forecast Survey). Another widely used futures method is
trends analysis. Many additional methods have been developed, but
their use and efectiveness varies widely.
However, the corporate use of
all these Foresight methods has become more professional as they have
become more widespread, and now they are applied not only to strategy
development, but also increasingly to innovation, as well as in marketing
and Research and Development (R&D).
|o¸e 46 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 4.
By the 1990s, the systematic organisation of these
methods within large scale (usually national) technology
Foresight programmes was fairly common in many parts
of the world, even in developing economies. In European
countries, Foresight methods have become widely used
in policy-making. Of particular interest to Africa has been
the success of the widespread application in Europe
of Foresight methods in regional (i.e. sub-national
planning and decision making.
What is Foresight?
he terms “futures”and “foresight”are largely
interchangeable, and Foresight means diferent
things to diferent people. Rather than being a fully
fedged academic discipline, Foresight should be viewed as
an evolving (and growing) set of processes and tools that
mankind has devised to help us imagine, capture, analyse
and act upon a range of possible longer-term futures.
Foresight is a family of mechanisms intended to capture
the dynamics of change by re-evaluating today’s reality
within the context of tomorrow’s range of possibilities.
• It is inherently proactive, refecting the belief that the
future may be infuenced by today’s decisions and
actions – i.e. a mechanism for shaping the future.
• It is NOT prediction, recognising instead that
addressing the future necessitates the management
of uncertainty.
• It examines development trajectories within a range
of alternative futures, in contrast to what is currently
believed to be most likely, or “business as usual”.
• It emphasises the human abilities of forethought,
creativity, and systems thinking, in addition to the
traditional emphasis on analysis and judgement.
The short-term nature of consumerism, the interests of
share-holders, and the electoral cycle, make it difcult for
today’s decision makers in both the public and private
sectors not to neglect longer-term challenges. Yet events
such as the current economic down-turn are raising
concerns. The traditional projection techniques, such as
forecasting and trend analysis, which use indicators about
past and current trends in order to extrapolate about the
most probable, usually shorter-term, futures, have serious
limitations. Awareness is growing of the need to focus on
longer-term time horizons as the context even for shorter-
term responses.
Foresight is not intended to replace such well-tried and
tested projection techniques. Instead, it complements
them and increases their efectiveness. Used alone, they
may provide a dangerously narrow picture of the future,
and often give a false impression of certainty about
their predictions due to the sophisticated statistical and
modelling techniques employed. Foresight, on the other
Throughout this chapter, the term “regional” is used in a sub-national sense (similar to “provincial”, or at a cluster level), rather than the alternative multinational sense, as for example in defning the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) region.
hand, can identify opportunities and risks which would
not otherwise have been considered, as well as helping to
identify strategies that are robust to a variety of outcomes,
to examine the unintended consequences of decision
options, and to shape long-term actions. Foresight is
essential in providing a more balanced approach to and
context for short-, medium- and long-term strategies.
Many of the methods that are commonly associated with
Foresight e.g. Delphi surveys and scenario workshops,
derive from futures research. Although Foresight
continues to gain from such futures research, it difers
from it. Whereas futures research can be highly academic,
and even abstract, Foresight programmes are designed
to be much more practical, intended to infuence policy,
strategy and decision making, and to lead to tangible
actions and results.
A common concern regarding many Foresight activities
is that the many tools and processes employed, such as
the production of scenarios, can take precedence over
implementation and action. Yet Foresight is intended to
anticipate plausible future events with the specifc aim of
feeding insights back into the strategic processes to help
decision makers take action. This can be a one-of activity,
but it is more efective as part of a continual process of
challenging both the ends and the means of the strategic
process. However, to date mechanisms are lacking which
cycle Foresight thinking back into policy, strategy and
decision making processes. Examples of tangible actions
that can and should result from Foresight activities
include: framing policy goals; creating an organisational
vision; setting research priorities; building networks; or
aiding participants to develop or adjust their own strategy.
Another common concern relates to the level of participation
best suited to Foresight activities. Participation can lie
anywhere between the following two “Foresight poles”:
• Expert-driven: where expert evidence about the future
informs debate on longer-term strategic issues.
However, use of expert opinion can lead to images of
the future that appear incontestable and downplay the
assumptions and uncertainties on which they
are based.
• Participatory: which are more interactive and more
likely to challenge the assumptions of expert
knowledge. They take into account a greater number
of views, gather widely distributed knowledge, and
place more emphasis on uncertainties and
inter- relationships. The participants can include
public authorities, business, research organisations,
non-governmental organisations and the wider
public. While this increases the legitimacy of, support
for, and implementation of the outcomes, it is more
time consuming and complex to organise.
A further concern is raised by the fact that the growth
in futures activities has not yet been matched by
monitoring and evaluation that is both systematic and
transparent. More resources need to be devoted to
the open evaluation of Foresight activities to assess, for
example, whether objectives have been met, how the
exercise was managed, and to defne follow-up actions.
Evaluation should focus on the contributions made
to the achievement of outcomes and impact, such as
changes in the behaviour and activities of the people and
organisations involved.

As such, the Foresight landscape is far from fnished – it is
a work in progress. There is room for improvements to and
customisation of many of the existing tools and processes,
as well as their application in as yet untried circumstances
and communities. There is also room for new tools and
processes to fll any gaps in futures thinking that may
emerge. This is particularly true for “regional Foresight”
and “community Foresight”, and their development and
application in a developing world context.
Innovation and Foresight in the Developing World Context
s the knowledge society emerges, we are experiencing
a world where uncertainty abounds, change occurs
ever more often and more rapidly, and complexity
appears to be growing exponentially. In the developed world,
it is hoped that the knowledge economy will bring sustained
growth and prosperity, whilst in developing countries the
knowledge society is expected to bring not only economic
growth but also to eradicate poverty. It is recognised that a
major pillar of the knowledge society is a well-functioning
system of science, technology and innovation (STI), with a
much broader concept of innovation being both understood
and practised throughout all sectors and levels of society.
|o¸e 4S ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 49
A Broader Def i ni t i on of I nnovat i on
“I nnovat i on i s t he process of creat i on, exchange, evol ut i on and
appl i cat i on of knowl edge t o produce new goods, ser vi ces or
soci al ar r angement s t hat are exper i enced as benef i ci al by a
communi t y, a mar ket , or soci et y. I nnovati on needs t o be
under st ood as f undament al l y i nvol vi ng hi gh l evel s of i nt er act i on
bet ween a r ange of peopl e; i nnovat i on i s not done i n i sol at i on.
I nnovat i on cannot be det er mi ned mechani st i cal l y; i t needs t o
be nur t ured so t hat i t may emer ge or gani cal l y f rom a f er t i l e
envi ronment . I nnovat i on i s rel at ed t o i t s cont ext : what i s new
i n a par t i cul ar cont ext and has an i mpact i s i nnovat i ve, even i f
i t has been done el sewhere. For i nst ance, i t must be nur t ured
at var i ous l evel s, and i n a way t hat i s not onl y sensi t i ve t o
i t s cont ext , but t hat t ur ns i t s cont ext i nt o an advant age. So,
maki ng caref ul use of i ndi genous knowl edge and har nessi ng t he
possi bi l i t i es of l ocal condi t i ons i s key. ”
Knowl edge f or Af r i can Devel opment ( KAD) Bookl et
ht t p: / / www. dst . gov. za/ l i nks/ cof i sa
It has become clear (particularly from European experience
over the past decade) that a well-functioning STI system in
general, and widespread innovation in particular, require
Foresight to be understood and practised where and when
required, using the most appropriate techniques across
all levels and sectors of society. In other words, a culture
of Foresight is an essential, ubiquitous component of an
emerging knowledge society. Such a ubiquitous culture of
Foresight is a goal that has not yet been reached anywhere in
the world. We next discuss how far we have gone in reaching
that goal at the national and regional levels of government,
as well as in the private sector.
Al t hough Sout h Af r i ca seems t o be unusual i n t he wi despread
use of Foresi ght ( and par t i cul ar l y scenar i os) f or publ i c
pol i cy pur poses, wi t h many exerci ses havi ng been under t aken
at t he nat i onal l evel over t he past t wo decades, t here i s a
common percept i on t hat t hei r resul t s i n many cases have been
di sappoi nt i ng, due t o: i nadequat e moni t or i ng and eval uat i on;
processes t aki ng much t oo l ong; and i nadequat e awareness
campai gns and di ssemi nat i on of out comes.
Foresight at the National Level
oday, most industrialised countries conduct national
Foresight exercises of some form, driven by the
escalation in industrial and economic competition
and increasing pressures on government spending. The
European Commission has been infuential in promoting
technology Foresight by supporting Candidate Countries
to develop a full Foresight capability.
Most public Foresight programmes in the 1990s had a
technology focus, with participation limited to experts in
nominated felds. However, there is now a trend towards
increased participation and the inclusion of broader socio-
economic challenges, as undertaken in the UK, Germany
and Japan. One of the merits of broader models of Foresight
is their ability to take account of scientifc, economic, social
and environmental factors in any felds, even the most
technologically complex .
The European Foresight Monitoring Network is the most
comprehensive database of futures activities available.
Its clear bias towards science and technology Foresight
and national level activities almost certainly refects the
dominance of this level of Foresight activities over the past
twenty years.

It is a concern that the historical top-down, national
approach to Foresight initiatives across Africa has created
unfortunate misconceptions, particularly among those in
leadership roles, that Foresight is (and can only be) done by
experts, and is a major exercise to be run only once every
(say) 10 years.
Foresight at the Regional Level
n many countries there is movement towards
complementing their national innovation policy with a
strong regional development focus. For example, in the
UK, greater user-centred and demand-based approaches
to Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), alongside
increasing devolution of political authority to the regions,
has led to the successful use of Foresight techniques
in the development and delivery of regional policies
by engaging with local communities. The participative
approach to Foresight is particularly well adapted to
the local and regional levels, where a wide array of
participants can actively be involved to build a vision of
possible regional futures. Local Foresight exercises allow
solutions which ft the specifcs of local circumstances,
such as demographics and economic factors.
In 2001 and 2002 the European Union (EU) launched a
range of projects aimed at developing and implementing
Regional Innovation Strategies (RIS) in the ten Newly
Associated Countries (NACs
). Major activities aimed at
achieving this objective have included:
• Applying Foresight in a context of RIS projects in many
European regions (over 150 to date);

• Developing regional Foresight into a more permanent,
often embedded, activity; and
• Creating synergy by combining Foresight and RIS into a
broader perspective, i.e. as a basis for the
development towards knowledge-based regions.
Foresight techniques have been widely used in each NAC
(under the acronym FOR-RIS) and are continuing to prove
of high value at every stage of the process of establishing
and “wiring up” their RIS (See Figure 4.1).
The most distinct diferentiation of Foresight from most
other RIS activities is the LONGER time horizon, which
also underpins the main benefts of RIS-related Foresight,
• Foresight uses both quantitative and qualitative
methods which allow consideration of several
alternative development possibilities;
• The long time horizon “neutralises” contentious issues,
facilitating cooperation between diverse regional
actors, reducing (and even resolving) confict, and
building consensus;
• Foresight enables continuation, expansion and
establishment of dialogue and collaboration between
the RIS’ main stakeholders; and
• The regional innovation policy should be linked to
other regional policies (industrial and labour policy
for example) and the need to coordinate with related
development measures is often amplifed by
Foresight activities.
The NACs are: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
|o¸e 50 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 5¹
The development of knowledge-based region =
innovative-driven region
The development of
regional innovation systems
RISS projects
wiring up
a very
aim of
Foresight can
be used also
for other kinds
of futures
Other goals of regional development
Figure 4. 1 Linkages between Foresight, the Development of Innovative Regions, and the Development of Innovation Systems
In South Africa, the national system of innovation (SANSI)
has been criticised for the weak integration between
policy at the national level; and at the provincial and local
levels, innovation-related policy and support measures
as well as organisations. The concept of a regional
innovation system is relatively new in South Africa. Hence,
successful innovation processes need to be developed
between a large number of actors such as companies, R&D
organisations and the public sector. Regional innovation
policies and aligned mechanisms, such as regional and
local Foresight activities, are needed to provide platforms
for cooperation between these diferent actors.
Regi onal Foresi ght was one of t he maj or mechani sms chosen by
COFI SA t o st i mul at e t he devel opment of Sout h Af r i ca’s regi onal
syst ems of i nnovat i on.
Foresight and SMEs
istorically, in the private sector, Foresight has been
a tool mostly employed by large companies and
multinationals, but is almost certainly beyond
the capabilities (and current thinking) of many Small
and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Yet, SMEs are widely
recognised as essential mechanisms for sustainable,
organic growth in developing and emerging economies.
But, most of these countries are slow to adapt their
regulations and policies to the needs and realities of
SMEs, many of which, as a result, stay outside the formal
economy in “grey” systems. However, the potential
benefts of Foresighting are probably the greatest for
these entities.
Governments throughout Africa (including in South Africa)
have yet to recognise this need. Ideally, they should
develop mechanisms to facilitate SME Foresight, but
without over-bureaucratising the process, which would
likely drive away the very people that need to
be encouraged.
In summary, much of the evolution of the application
of Foresight to date has been focused on the military,
national governments and large corporations, and
quite naturally, most of the commonly-used tools and
processes refect this focus. However, the more recent
focus on sub-national Foresight (particularly in Europe),
and its application beyond the traditional development
of policies and strategies, opens the door to much wider
horizons and the exploration of a variety of possible
futures. This is where the collaborative COFISA initiative
has benefted from Finnish experience and has shown
that these tools can be useful to a wider, and diferently
motivated (and constituted) audience, including
impoverished regions and clusters. This has signifcant
implications for how the South African Foresighting
experiences can be applied elsewhere.
A si gni f i cant number of SMEs di d t ake par t i n t he COFI SA regi onal
Foresi ght act i vi t i es. They were at t r act ed by t he f ocus on a subj ect t hey
coul d readi l y i dent i f y wi t h ( i nnovat i on) , t he brevi t y of t he process, and
t he prof essi onal i sm of COFI SA’s approach. I t was encour agi ng t o t he
or gani ser s t hat f ew SME par t i ci pant s dropped out dur i ng t he process.
I ndeed sever al remar ked subsequent t o t he exerci ses t hat t hey had
benef i t ed f rom t he new vi si ons and f rom t he net wor ki ng. They al so voi ced
ent husi asm about usi ng some of t he Foresi ght t echni ques regul ar l y as
par t of t hei r ongoi ng st r at egi c processes.
Regional Foresight in South Africa
egional Foresight has been one of the major
mechanisms chosen by COFISA to stimulate the
development of South Africa’s regional systems
of innovation. To our knowledge, Foresight techniques
have not been used previously at a provincial level, either
in South Africa or elsewhere in Africa. Given Finland’s
globally recognised expertise in futures research and the
application of Foresight techniques, particularly as applied
to its world-class innovation systems, Finnish expertise
was called on throughout the exercises by the South
African Foresight experts and practitioners.
Between October 2007 and April 2009 two main Foresight
exercises were undertaken by COFISA in three of the nine
provinces - the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, and Gauteng:
Provincial Innovation Foresight (2007 - 2008), followed
by Provincial Biotechnology Foresight (2008 - 2009). This
summary of these Foresight exercises is based on the
ffteen detailed reports and two overviews (intended for
both practitioners and researchers) that were generated
during the process.
http://www.cofsa.org.za; After July 2010 http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
The Foresight Processes
or both Provincial Foresight exercises the general
objectives were to:
• Introduce participants to the role of futures thinking,
particularly in helping to establish and maintain
regional innovation systems;
• Introduce participants to the value and practice of
appropriate Foresight tools and processes;
• Encourage participants to use these methods
collaboratively to create a range of possible futures for
their province, to consider and prioritise the challenges
and opportunities that emerged, and to devise action
plans that would enable them to be addressed;
• Encourage the multi-sectoral, multidisciplinary
networks of people established via the Foresight
exercises to continue to communicate and collaborate
with each other; and
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• Build regional Foresight facilitation capacity by
involving in the process a coordinator from each
province (with little previous Foresight experience),
who would receive training in a learning-by-doing mode.
Prior to each of the two main Foresight exercises, a full-day
Foresight capacity building workshop was held with the
provincial coordinators, COFISA team members and the
Foresight experts. Further capacity building and process
learning sessions were held in the evenings before and
after each of the workshops.
Throughout the process, workshop participants were
drawn from the public, private and tertiary education
sectors, as well as civil society. The objective was to have
inputs of ideas, issues and opportunities from as many
legitimate viewpoints as possible, thereby encouraging
lateral thinking and creativity.
All workshops in each province began with an
introductory session which provided: an update on the
COFISA programme; a summary of the background and
status of the Foresight initiative; and an explanation of the
rationale behind the Foresight techniques chosen for the
exercise. In all these workshops, a small number of groups
(usually three) of between four and seven delegates was
established to work together in learning and applying the
Foresight techniques.
Provincial Innovation Foresight
Nine workshops were held between October 2007 and
March 2008, made up of three workshops in each of the
three target provinces. In the frst set of workshops, each
group created a futures wheel capturing their main ideas
about innovation in their province in 2050 (an example of
a futures wheel is given in Figure 4.2), and then prioritised
the most important themes identifed. They then drew
up tables capturing the most important characteristics of
their theme.
Based on each of these specifc themes, subject matter
specialists were identifed and added to the invitees for
the remaining workshops.
Fi gure 4. 2. An Exampl e of a Futures Wheel as Devel oped i n the South Afri can Regi onal Foresi ght Workshops
In the second set of workshops, each group worked on
one of the main themes. They developed futures wheels
for 2050 for their theme, which allowed them to identify a
range of more focused issues which they again prioritised.
In the third and fnal set of workshops, each group worked
on one of the focused issues for which they produced
fairly detailed action plans.
The focus of the frst two workshops in each province was
at a high level. The outputs constituted a multi-faceted,
often complementary (but sometimes contradictory)
picture or vision of what life in the province would look
like in 2050. Although independently developed, there
was signifcant commonality between these visions, along
with features that were specifc to each province. The
aspects of the visions that were common across the three
provinces were:
• Free societies, with full participation in the economy,
and governance through free and transparent access
to user-centric knowledge;
• “Green futures”, where there is no contradiction
between meeting human energy, housing, and food
needs, and maintaining a high-quality environment
where people live in a self-sustaining, pollution-free
• A knowledge society, with a knowledge-driven
economy; and
• Innovative societies with a particular focus on
innovative green technologies.
The third workshop focused at a more detailed level. Each
working group developed action plans for one focused
theme that they selected as being central to the future
that they desired to see emerge by 2050. One example
from each province of these high-priority, focused themes
and their corresponding high-level actions, is presented in
the following table:
Eastern Cape
Province Theme High-Level Action(s)
Western Cape
Platform for Agrarian Innovation and Transformation
Service Innovation via Knowledge Intensive Business
Services (KIBS)
Free Info-infrastructure: Breaking the Monopolies
Establish rural integration framework
Kick-start Knowledge Intensive Business
Services (KIBS) for “clusters” via mapping
Use market drivers and awareness
creation to kick-start process
Tabl e 4. 1. Sel ected Themes and Hi gh- Level Acti ons Emergi ng from the Provi nci al Foresi ght Workshops
Provincial Biotechnology Foresight
Six workshops were held between October 2008 and
March 2009, made up of two, two-day residential
workshops in each of the three target provinces. Two sets
of documents were prepared as inputs to the frst set of
• Biotechnology trends analysis (at global, regional and
South African levels); and
• Sets of three provincial innovation proto-scenarios
(2030) for each target province.
In the frst set of workshops, each group examined the
biotechnology trends analysis document, and added
emerging trends at the provincial and local levels for their
province. Next, each group chose one of the provincial
innovation scenarios, and used futures wheels sessions
to create material to transform them into biotechnology
In the second set of workshops, the delegates were
frst coached on the benefts, basics and creation of
Technology Roadmaps.
Each group then selected a main
theme from their biotechnology scenario, and produced a
biotechnology road map till 2030 for their theme. Finally,
This is a complex and intense process, which is described in some detail in the relevant reports available at www.cofsa.org.za; After July 2010 http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
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they identifed specifc opportunities for existing and
potential SMEs within their biotechnology road map.
The facilitators were particularly impressed with not only
the large numbers of opportunities for SMEs that were
identifed, but also the wide variety of niches (often inter-
sectoral and interdisciplinary) that emerged and required
SMEs to fll.
Being a much more focused, technology Foresight
exercise, the two sets of workshops in each province
resulted in a fairly comprehensive set of products:
• A general Biotechnology Trends Report, supplemented
by information on emerging trends within each province.
• Three sets of three full biotechnology scenarios were
developed for each province, incorporating a wide set
of scenario fragments from every working group.
• Technology Road Maps, consequent action plans, and
opportunities for SMEs were identifed in each province
for the following biotechnology focus areas:
Pr i or t o t he Foresi ght wor kshops, we vi si t ed Fi nl and t o
under st and Foresi ght as a st r at egi c management t ool and t o
see i t i n oper at i on i n di f f erent envi ronment s. . . . . The t r i p was
i ncredi bl y i nsi ght f ul and I gai ned much appreci at i on f or how
Foresi ght can be used as a cross-cut t i ng t ool .
Dr Si bongi l e Gumbi
Bi ot echnol ogy Foresi ght Faci l i t at or
Insights Concerning Tools and Processes
he following insights have been gained from both of
the above Provincial Foresight Processes.
Futures Wheels
These provided a fast, non-judgmental, brain-storming
tool to tap into participants’ diverse views on issues and
possible opportunities concerning the future. The tool
also created an opportunity for synergistic thinking not
normally experienced in the working environment. It is
a non-adversarial mechanism, even when contentious
issues arise. It encouraged participation by all, rather than
domination by single individuals, which resulted in a sense
of joint ownership of the futures envisaged. It proved easy
to use for both delegates and facilitators alike, quickly
resulting in surprisingly rich material, and fostering energy
and enthusiasm amongst the participants.
Full Scenarios generated from Futures Wheels
Because the general provincial innovation futures wheels
for 2050 produced in the frst set of workshops were very
rich, it was decided to take this base material from one of
the provinces (Eastern Cape was chosen), and attempt to
work them into full blown provincial innovation scenarios.
Once the base material had been collated and clustered,
two major axes emerged, and so quadrant-based
scenarios were developed for three of the four quadrants
(the fourth was seen as “business as usual”, and not
developed further – see Figure 4.3).
In this way, three substantive scenarios were written by
the South African Foresight experts. The process was
deemed so successful that, as input to the subsequent
provincial biotechnology Foresight exercise, a similar
method was used to create sets of three innovation
scenarios for the other two provinces, Gauteng and the
Western Cape.
(Global Interdependence)
“Commons” activities
Divides reduce +++
Quality of life
Little early growth -
Later sustained growth
Rural Focus Urban Focus
“Successful”City “states”
Fortress suburbs
Private police forces
Urban squalor
Rural poverty persists,
“dependency” grows
Economy grows, but
Much civil strife
Business As Usual
Divides Increase
High global dependency
Early growth ++: later collapse
Rural Industrialisation -
Food vs Fuel
Divides reduce + at frst
2 level society entrenched
High global dependency
Neo Industrialisation
(Global Dependence)
Fi gure 4. 3 Quadrant- based I nnovati on Scenari os for the Eastern Cape
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Technology Road Maps (TRMs)
A TRM is a powerful tool for longer-term planning, which
was used both to minimise risk and to amplify innovation.
It proved especially useful where there was a lack of
knowledge regarding the readiness or even existence of
various technology components. In these circumstances, a
range of parallel, interlinked paths were mapped out with
associated decision trees, so that immediate progress could
be made along several of these paths towards the chosen
long-term goal.
Building a TRM did not prove to be an easy exercise. Its
complexity required a commitment from all participants in
the group to be prepared to learn throughout the process
(especially from inevitable mistakes), whilst maintaining
good group dynamics. Focusing in on a technology theme
of the appropriate size proved particularly difcult. The
tendency to choose too broad an area always led to too
much complexity, which, in turn, forced the group to retrace
its steps and reduce the theme’s scope.
Participant Selection
For the frst workshops of both exercises, it proved valuable
to draw delegates from diferent sectors of society and
the economy (public, private, tertiary education sectors,
international community, civil society) to ensure that as
broad a vision as possible of the future was captured.
Bringing only experts together at this stage (which is often
done in frst world technology Foresight processes) can
produce a narrow vision of the future, which is less useful
in the context of emerging and developing economies.
Participants were selected through tapping into existing
networks and through a co-nomination process.
However, the identifcation and subsequent participation
of appropriate experts in the following workshops added to
the plausibility, legitimacy and practicality of the outputs.
Some even became champions of the ongoing actions.
Working Group Size
The value of using small groups of between three and
seven persons cannot be overemphasised. The volume
and creativity of their outputs went signifcantly beyond
the expectations of the organisers. In addition, their
predominantly constructive (often humorous!) dynamics
seem to have amplifed the network building qualities that
are an important, but difcult-to-quantify product of most
Foresight exercises. Once the groups had worked together
in person, it seemed that they also continued to work well
together virtually using digital media. Indeed, the impact
of these groups was so impressive that collaborative
research into their dynamics is planned by the Finnish and
South African Foresight experts.
However, i t shoul d be recog-
ni sed t hat onl y a l i mi t ed num-
ber of such groups can easi l y
be managed si mul t aneousl y i n a
wor kshop, wi t h f our provi ng t o
be an opt i mal number.
Input Materials
The production of quality materials as inputs to each
workshop pays dividends. Many delegates said that these
documents gave the process stature and credibility, and
encouraged full commitment to the process. They also
signifcantly saved on the amount of time required for
each workshop, thereby reducing inconvenience to the
delegates, reducing the workshop costs, and improving
the efciency and quality of the overall exercise.
Workshop Structure
The one-day workshops were rushed and difcult to
manage. Signifcant time was required for the introductory
session leaving insufcient time for the working group
sessions, which produced the important outputs of the
workshops. By contrast, the two-day workshop, being
residential, introduced a new dynamic which signifcantly
increased the commitment of and enjoyment by the
“The Foresi ght process i s enhanced by t he di al ogue, t he
conver sat i ons, knowl edge and opi ni on shar i ng. Thi s i n i t sel f
produces bet t er out put s t han i f t hey were t o pl ay i n a si l o. ”
Mphat hi Nyewe,
Gaut eng Foresi ght Faci l i t at or
delegates, as well as enhancing the quality of their
outputs. In addition, several delegates remarked that they
had been particularly impressed by the level and value of
sustained networking they have experienced subsequent
to the residential workshops.
The above learning suggested that future exercises should
not be spread over several one-day workshops. Instead, just
two, two-day, residential workshops should be used, with a
longer period between the two workshops (about six weeks)
to allow for signifcant value addition (especially from newly
introduced experts) via electronic means. This format was
adopted for the second biotechnology Foresight exercise, and
worked well.
Capacity Building
oth Foresight exercises were intended not only to
create useful future visions for each of the provinces,
but also to create broader general awareness of
the value of futures thinking, and particularly to build
capacity. Capacity building in a learning-by-doing mode
was achieved at three levels: Both Foresight exercises
were intended not only to create useful future visions for
each of the provinces, but also to create broader general
awareness of the value of futures thinking, and particularly
to build capacity. Capacity building in a learning-by-doing
mode was achieved at three levels:
“The most i mpor t ant f or us was t he conf i r mat i on and af f i r mat i on
t hat t he processes we were exposed t o i n Sout h Af r i ca are t he
same as t hose used by exper t s around t he wor l d. ”
Mphat hi Nyewe,
Gaut eng Foresi ght Faci l i t at or
• All delegates were actively introduced to some of the
most popular and easy-to-use Foresight tools so that
they felt empowered to use them (unaided) in their
own future planning activities.
• Finnish and South African futures experts and
researchers were brought together in an action
learning environment to stimulate further
collaboration, particularly in the adaptation
of Foresight techniques to the needs and realities of
emerging and developing economies.
• Five provincial coordinators (at least one from each
province, chosen from the local black SME pool), were
provided with intensive in-situ coaching so that they
could include the facilitation of similar Foresight
initiatives as part of their professional service provision
profle. They were also provided an opportunity to visit
Finland to interact with experts, researchers, academics
and government ofcials who had been involved in
regional Foresight in Finland.
The capacity building of the provincial coordinators
appears to have exceeded expectations, both of COFISA,
and the coordinators themselves. Based on interviews
with selected local coordinators, the positive outcomes
were many:

“How coul d we have done st r at egi c pl anni ng al l t hese year s
wi t hout doi ng Foresi ght ? . . . . Thi s was a common st at ement
across t he board. Surel y, Foresi ght provi des t he i nsi ght s
requi red f or an ef f ect i ve st r at egi c pl anni ng process. ”
Mphat hi Nyewe,
Gaut eng Foresi ght Faci l i t at or
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• The Foresight training and facilitation created new
opportunities across the board for the provincial
coordinators. All are now ofering Foresighting and
futures planning as part of their business service oferings.
• The COFISA workshops created opportunities for
networking with a diverse range of players and
across many disciplines. This has resulted in increased
exposure and opportunities for collaboration long after
the Foresight workshops were completed. For example,
two of the local facilitators (Gauteng and Eastern Cape)
have recently undertaken a successful contract to
address possible futures for housing in the
Gauteng Province – the 2055 Housing Settlements
initiative. Without the training provided through
COFISA, contracting for such work would not have been
possible. The biotechnology facilitator has also entered
into a new business venture with an SME met during
the COFISA Foresight workshops.
• The Foresight experience has resulted in requests from
others e.g. government ofcials in the Northern Cape,
for training in the use of this methodology.
• The provincial coordinators have all in their own right
become advocates for the use of Foresight as a
planning tool. They have increased their visibility
in their respective felds and have been called upon
on numerous occasions to present at conferences and
workshops regarding their experiences with the COFISA
Foresight exercises in South Africa.
“As a f aci l i t at or, I had many opport uni t i es t o i nt eract cl osel y wi t h
peopl e I had not met previ ousl y and f or t hem t o know who I am
and what I do. The i nt eract i ons were meani ngf ul such t hat I am
conf i dent t hat al l workshop part i ci pant s woul d know about me. ”
Si bongi l e Gumbi ,
Bi ot echnol ogy Foresi ght Faci l i t at or
o the best of our knowledge, this is the frst time
Foresight initiatives have been practised at the
regional (sub-national) level in South Africa, and
the investment appears to be succeeding. South Africa’s
earlier implementations of public funded Foresight
initiatives have tended to be at the national level, have
addressed macro-issues, and many have been perceived
to have not fulflled the anticipated impact. By contrast,
this regional Foresight approach, employing many small
groups in short but intensive creative sessions, has
been signifcantly less costly, and taken less than four
months per exercise to produce results of high quality,
innovativeness and value.
“I have deci ded, t here and t hen, t hat I am a f ut ur i st i n t r ai ni ng. ”
Mphat hi Nyewe,
Gaut eng Foresi ght Faci l i t at or
“For me i t has opened many door s per sonal l y, and opened
many door s i n my br ai n. Foresi ght makes you t hi nk compl et el y
di f f erent l y so i n t hat way i t has l i t er al l y opened up
my mi nd. ”
Davi d Lef ut so,
East er n Cape Foresi ght Faci l i t at or
“Foresi ght t akes you out of t he nor mal l i near t r aj ect or y and
pl aces you where you can t hi nk beyond your const r ai nt s and t o
t hi nk i nnovat i vel y. Thi s i s ver y power f ul . ”
Rod Grewan
Bi ot echnol ogy Foresi ght Or gani ser
“I was so i mpressed wi t h t he Foresi ght process t hat i t i s now
i mpl ement ed i n t he I NSPI RE st r at egy devel opment approach
i n t he Nor t her n Cape. ” [ I NSPI RE i s t he provi nci al i nf or mat i on
soci et y st r at egy whi ch i s bei ng i mpl ement ed i n t wo provi nces i n
Sout h Af r i ca – Li mpopo and Nor t her n Cape. ]
Rod Grewan
Bi ot echnol ogy Foresi ght Or gani ser
n Africa, where top-down Foresight initiatives have
dominated to date, balance needs to be created
via much more emphasis on bottom-up Foresight
initiatives, contextualised to the circumstances of regions,
communities and individuals in even the poorest and
most remote areas.
However, this does not mean that Africa should not
continue to beneft from, and grow, high- level public
sector Foresight initiatives, as well as from world class
futures research in a range of crucial areas (from global
climate change to population dynamics, integrated rural
development to balanced urban planning). Indeed, there
is a particular national Foresight mechanism that justifes
further investigation in the context of every African
country and which is presented in the next section.
Futures Activities in Parliaments
utures work which occurs in legislatures is
sometimes referred to as public interest futures.
Unlike early models of national Foresight in
governments, these are often driven by social issues and
include STI only as one aspect of broader issues, if at all.
It is becoming widely realised that governments should
not be the only body framing debate about the future.
Some advocates argue that forums modelled on Finland’s
Committee for the Future or Scotland’s Futures Forum
could increase a parliament’s capacity to engage with
outside experts and the wider public.
Both the above models are regarded as a success
in their countries, but not all such initiatives have
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endured. In 1976, the USA established the Congressional
Clearinghouse on the Future to help members address
emerging policy challenges. In 2001, the Israeli Knesset
set up the Commission for Future Generations to assess
the impact of legislation on future generations. Problems
with funding and structure have since resulted in both
being terminated.
The above examples suggest that diferent models have
pros and cons and that cultural context is particularly
important. Hence any interested country should
investigate all aspects of several models (including those
that have failed) as a basis for creating their own forum.
Fi nl and’s Commi ttee for the Future
Af t er Fi nl and j oi ned t he EU i n 1993, t he Commi t t ee f or t he Fut ure
was est abl i shed as an ad hoc commi t t ee. I t has 17 member s of
Par l i ament and gai ned per manent st at us i n 2000. I t s pr i mar y rol e
i s t o engage i n di al ogue wi t h t he Pr i me Mi ni st er ’s of f i ce and t he
gover nment on l ong-t er m i ssues of nat i onal i mpor t ance ( e. g. GM
crops, Cl i mat e and Ener gy, and I CTs and t he El der l y) .
The Fi nni sh gover nment must produce a “Repor t on t he Fut ure”
dur i ng i t s second year i n ever y t er m of of f i ce, whi ch set s out a
l ong-t er m f r amewor k t o provi de t he cont ext f or j udgi ng i t s pol i ci es
over i t s f our-year t er m. The Commi t t ee f or t he Fut ure exami nes
and responds t o t hi s repor t . Thi s response f or ms t he basi s f or
Par l i ament ’s scr ut i ny of t he gover nment ’s t er m. Al t hough not f ul l y
i ndependent , t he Commi t t ee i ni t i at es 80% of i t s wor k, i ncl udi ng
semi nar s and research, enabl i ng i t t o set i t s own agenda and t ake
i ssues of concer n t o par l i ament .
“Bottom-up” Foresight
rom the above experiences, it seems likely that
there is a major opportunity/market for Foresight
thinking and practice that to date remains
essentially untapped, not only in Africa, but throughout
the developing world. If Foresight techniques and
processes are customised (or created de novo) to ft the
circumstances of the majority of Africa’s people, who
are struggling with urban and rural poverty, informal
economic sectors, inadequate education and healthcare,
they can help in a variety of ways:
• Changing individual mindsets: opening minds to
a better tomorrow that is possible; reawakening self-
esteem; legitimising “dreams”.
• Empowering communities, no matter how impoverished,
to consider a variety of long-term futures, instead of
being overwhelmed by today’s problems.
• Creating mechanisms for SMEs to identify “joint
visions” in which they can share mutually benefcial
facilities and capacities that, alone, they do not have
the time, funds or expertise to develop.
• Allowing local and regional (provincial) stakeholders to
create possible futures as a basis for plans and
strategies that will involve and beneft all players.
The issue of changing individual mindsets bears further
discussion. As seen above, Foresight can and has
had some impact in improving strategic activities of
companies and governments (at national, regional and
local levels). Yet a higher level of beneft is promised when
Foresight is used as a mechanism to help individuals and
groups to change not only their visions and plans, but the
way they use their minds. As Einstein argued, successful
new futures need new minds – minds willing and able
Scotl and’s Future Forum
A much more recent mechani sm, t he Scot t i sh Fut ures For um,
was est abl i shed i n 2006 by t he Scot t i sh Par l i ament . The mai n
obj ect i ves are t o wi den par t i ci pat i on, promot e “aspi r at i onal f ut ures”
by expl or i ng and ar t i cul at i ng peopl e’s vi ews on what t he f ut ure
shoul d be, t o chal l enge pol i cy and t o i ncrease t he abi l i t y of mul t i -
st akehol der par t ner shi ps ( MSPs) and t he wi der Scot t i sh communi t y
t o consi der f ut ure chal l enges and oppor t uni t i es. I t conduct s l ong-
t er m t opi c-f ocused proj ect s e. g. an agei ng soci et y, al cohol and
dr ugs.

Gover nance ar r angement s are key. The For um i s set up as a
company l i mi t ed by guar ant ee t o enabl e i t t o r ai se t hi rd par t y
f i nance, ensure rel evance and t o mai nt ai n i ndependence. I t has
a smal l st af f over seen by a board of di rect or s who consi st of hi gh
prof i l e publ i c f i gures f rom par l i ament , academi a, t he ci vi l ser vi ce
and busi ness. Tempor ar y st af f are seconded f rom research
counci l s, uni ver si t i es, and t hi nk t anks t o keep i t act i ve and t o
promot e knowl edge t r ansf er back i nt o t he pol i cy sphere.
to adjust their thinking as circumstances (current and
anticipated) dictate.
For example, it has been suggested that Foresight might
play a signifcant role in improving the plight of the
majority of African youth, two thirds of whom currently
are excluded from the formal education system at pre- or
early secondary stages. How might Foresight techniques
be used to change the mindset and future prospects of
these excluded youth (both male and female)? Could
it move them from their current, understandable but
counter-productive “dependency mindset”, to one where
they begin to regain control of their futures as individuals
and a generation?
Futures Wheel devel oped at the Gauteng Bi otech Foresi ght Workshop
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Ashl ey Westaway
Border Rural Commi ttee, East London
Lauri Kuukasj ärvi
he overall objective of COFISA was to enhance the SANSI in order to
promote economic growth and alleviate poverty. One of the four
major COFISA components was the piloting of mechanisms for rural
innovation. In the provincial Foresight exercise undertaken in the Eastern
Cape during the frst year of implementation, the need for sustainable
interventions to stimulate innovation in rural areas was identifed. One of
the outcomes was the proposed implementation of KIRD - Knowledge and
Innovation for Rural Development (KIRD).
The following KIRD objectives were introduced:
• To compile a database of policies, strategies, initiatives and other
activities in the Eastern Cape (past, current and planned) that have a
potential impact on rural development;
• To pilot the establishment of several new community-based
associations, modelled on the concept of Finnish Village Action Groups,
but adapted as necessary to meet local conditions; and
• To identify the top priority interventions for appropriate action in
partnership with community-based associations.
Phase 1 implementation was initiated in December 2008 with a study
visit to Finland by four consortium members
, a specialist in charge of
the Integrated Rural Development Programme from the Department
of Provincial and Local Government (DPLG) and an expert from the
Promotion of Rural Livelihood (RuLiv) in the Eastern Cape. During the visit
the delegation became acquainted with the rural development system,
organisations and activities in practice in Finland. During February 2009, a
short-term Finnish expert was brought in to assist in assessing the status
quo of rural development in the Eastern Cape and give recommendations
concerning possible interventions. This was followed by a fnal report
produced by the consortium in May 2009. Both reports made the
recommendation to take KIRD forward into Phase 2 and to pilot the Local
Action Group (LAG)–method
in the Eastern Cape over a period of a
few months.
Knowledge and Innovation for Rural Development
Now with the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme, & Susinno Ltd, Finland
Umhlaba and the Border Rural Committee (BRC)
Umhlaba Rural Services (May 2009). Introduction to the Leader approach to Rural Development in South Africa: A Comparison and
Assessment. www.cofsa.org.za/pdfs/intor_leader_ca.pdf. [Note: The LEADER programme is an EU approach to rural development
incorporating LAGs]
Border Rural Committee (May 2009) : Integrated Local Economic Development Plan for Northern Keiskammahoek (May 2009) www.
cofsa.org.za/pdfs/brc_iledp_nk.pdf; after July 2010 http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
LAGs are registered associations which are open to local members and organisations and which draw up development plans in
cooperation with these stakeholders. Plans are implemented largely through development and business projects. Decisions on
projects are made by the LAGs and Employment and Economic Development Centres.
The aver age per son i n t he r ur al East er n
Cape sur vi ves on R255 ( $35) per mont h;
onl y 16% of t he economi cal l y act i ve
popul at i on i s empl oyed; more t han
hal f of al l houshol ds suf f er f rom f ood
i nsecur i t y and rel y on r i ver s f or wat er.
As part of this process an Integrated Local Economic Development
(LED) plan was formulated for Northern Keiskammahoek, with tourism,
agriculture and forestry identifed as the economic sectors with the most
potential. Four villages – Cata, Lower Mnyameni, Upper Gxulu and Upper
Mnyameni – are participating in this pilot.
KIRD Phase 2 aimed to:

• Develop the methodology for the selection of LAGs and to defne and
communicate their functions and decision-making processes;
• Assess, design and implement a suitable training programme for LAG
members to enable them to carry out their functions;
• Assist the LAGs in developing fund-raising strategies and developing
methods to present these to suitable funding agencies and/or donors;
• Defne and obtain community agreement on the development strategy
and implementation plan, highlighting the way in which communities
would be engaged in various projects;
• Assist the LAGs in organising a workshop to present project priorities to
potential funders; and
• Defne further steps to continue the development of LAG pilots,
including recommendations about linking to existing or newly
emerging local, provincial and national government programmes.

With the support of COFISA and BRC, the four communities made the
decision to take responsibility for themselves through the establishment of
a representative LAG, with representation from the civic structures of each
of the four villages. The context within which this decision was taken was
faltering attempts at state-driven development in the area. The LAG was set
up with the explicit aim to facilitate the emergence of an alternative, more
efective approach to rural development.
Following several community meetings in October 2009, the LAG made the
decision to initiate and implement three quick-win projects which are likely
to beneft about 100 people directly:
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• Support to smallholder farmers in Upper Gxulu;
• Start-up of a trout fshing business in Upper Mnyameni;
• Wattle clearing around the Mnyameni Dam and along
the lower reaches of the Cata River.
What makes these projects diferent is the element of
innovation that has been introduced – in aims, tools and
methods. They are characterised by being:
• Area-based rather than project-based;
• Bottom-up rather than top-down as they are driven by
a representative LAG;
• Driven by local partnerships between various levels of
private and public sector players;
• Multi-sectoral to exploit synergies across sectors; and
• Network-driven with active promotion of information
exchanges and adoption of best practice.

At the time of writing (December 2009), independent
funding had already been secured to support planning
and implementation in the area for 2010/2011. This
will also allow the LAG-method to be expanded to a
further eight villages by the end of 2010, giving the LAG
geographic signifcance akin to the LAGs in Finland.
In addition, additional resources were secured from
the Community Works Programme and the Expanded
Public Works Programme Phase II to undertake wattle
eradication, road maintenance and food security activities
in the four villages.
The LAG-method has gained credibility within the
communities for one simple reason – it has been able to
create jobs and has delivered tangible short-term benefts
to the community. There is however much work to be
done to build and strengthen local capacity in the LAG
so as to ensure its future sustainability. Likewise, creating
acceptance for alternative rural development approaches
by provincial and local government will require more
efort in the future to ensure access to the public fscus for
future development initiatives.
The LAG-pilot is a signifcant example of how the
provincial Foresight process was able to trigger an
innovative rural development initiative, which could then
be taken further by adopting a bottom-up approach for
implementation at the community level.
Fl yfi shi ng on the Mnyameni Dam, wi th area cl eared of wattl e i n the background
Communi ty workers cl eari ng wattl e
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The I nnovat i on Hub, i n gi vi ng ef f ect t o i t s
mandat e of creat i ng a hi gh-t ech cl ust er
i n t he Gaut eng Provi nce ( Sout h Af r i ca)
and growi ng i t s knowl edge economy has,
i n col l abor at i on wi t h COFI SA, devel oped
t he Act i vat or ™ Progr amme as a t ool
f or devel opi ng t he Ci t y of Tshwane and
Gaut eng regi onal i nnovat i on syst ems.
The key obj ect i ve of t he Act i vat or ™
progr amme i s t o devel op t he cont ext ,
pol i ci es, met hodol ogi es and know-how t o
st i mul at e col l abor at i ve i nnovat i on proj ect s
t hat creat e sust ai nabl e oppor t uni t i es
f or hi gh-t ech SME devel opment and j ob
oppor t uni t i es i n Sout h Af r i ca.
The Act i vat or ™ progr amme i s model l ed
on t he Fi nni sh Cent res of Exper t i se
Progr amme, whi ch i s a model f or ut i l i si ng
t op-l evel knowl edge and exper t i se as a
resource f or busi ness oper at i ons, j ob
creat i on and regi onal devel opment , wi t h
t he ai m of creat i ng economi c growt h by
l ever agi ng a regi on’s st rengt hs.
Col l abor at i on bet ween t he pr i vat e sect or,
gover nment and research i nst i t ut i ons
does not occur nat ur al l y i n t he Sout h
Af r i can envi ronment . The Act i vat or

progr amme proved t hat i t i s possi bl e and
vi abl e t o dr i ve col l abor at i on successf ul l y
t hrough a st r uct ured, proven model and
t o ensure t he del i ver y of resul t s whi ch
exceeds any i ndi vi dual cont r i but i on.
A scal abl e met hodol ogy, appl i cabl e i n
var i ous sect or s and f or al l proj ect si zes,
was devel oped t hat i mproves vi abi l i t y,
t i me of del i ver y t o mar ket , prot ect i on
of vest ed r i ght s and prof i t abi l i t y, and
academi c, i ndust r y, gover nment and
SME i ncl usi on.
The Acti vator
Management Team
The I nnovati on Hub, South Af ri ca
is a programme developed and implemented by The
Innovation Hub
and COFISA to promote multi-helix collaboration

with the objective of involving and developing Small and Medium
Enterprises (SMEs) in large scale projects together with research partners,
large corporates and government. Other contributing stakeholders
included the Gauteng Provincial Government through its holding company
Blue IQ Investment Holdings (Pty) Ltd.
Act i vat or
i s posi t i oned as a st and-
al one busi ness uni t of t he I nnovat i on
Hub, oper at i ng on an annual break-even
budget , sust ai ned t hrough a combi nat i on
of gr ant f undi ng and oper at i onal revenue.
I t has i t s own management t eam whi ch
i s responsi bl e and account abl e t o t he
I nnovat i on Hub Management Company
and i t s board. Fi nanci al suppor t and
admi ni st r at i on are coordi nat ed and
suppor t ed by t he I nnovat i on Hub
Management Company.
What is Activator
Refer to Chapter 7 for a more detailed discussion of the Innovation Hub.
Multi-helix stakeholders refer to entities from the private sector (including the industry and SMEs); public sector (government and
public support entities such as incubators); research and academia; and the end-users or benefciaries of new products or services.
How the Programme was Started
n the growth and development of The Innovation Hub as a science
park in Pretoria, various models and alternatives for innovation and
collaboration interventions were investigated. One such model was
the Finnish Centre of Expertise programme (CoE), which had a profound
impact on the development of the Finnish Innovation System. CoEs
contributed signifcantly towards Finland regularly ranking amongst
the top global economies in terms of innovation, competitiveness
and efciency.
The Finnish CoE programme was developed in the 1980s to promote
regional development. As a frst phase, regional clusters of competence
were defned and then coordinated to stimulate collaboration between
SMEs, large industry, research institutions and science councils, private
research laboratories and universities. The aim of the CoE programme is to
create economic beneft through market-focused innovation.
The Fi nni sh Cent re of Exper t i se
Progr amme i s not a f undi ng i nst r ument
or a l egal ent i t y, but a cat al yst f or
creat i ng new proj ect s, cooper at i on and
commi t ment bet ween st akehol der s f rom
t he publ i c, pr i vat e and research sect or s.
The Innovation Hub received frst-hand exposure to the implementation
of the CoE in Finland, facilitated through the Embassy of Finland in South
Africa. It later participated in a study visit to Finland, which contributed
to the groundwork for the establishment of the COFISA programme. On
returning to South Africa, The Innovation Hub indicated its interest in
developing the CoE concept. Following the completion of a COFISA-funded
feasibility study,
the CoE pilot implementation project was included as
part of the COFISA programme.
Saarinen, T. (September 2007). Centre of Expertise Programme Gauteng: Feasibility Study. http://www.theinnovationhub.com/
Key Fi ndi ngs f rom the CoE Pi l ot
Feasi bi l i ty Study
• The cur rent i nnovat i on syst em i n Sout h
Af r i ca i s f r agment ed. Onl y nar row sect or s of
t he economy were seen t o be connect ed t o
t he i nnovat i on syst em.
• Many of t he exper t s i nt er vi ewed di d not
recogni se any exi st i ng i nnovat i on chai n, t he
rel evant pl ayer s or t ool s f or product
devel opment .
• There i s undoubt edl y a si gni f i cant l ack of
qual i f i ed researcher s at uni ver si t i es. I n a
gl obal cont ext t hi s i s most evi dent wi t hi n t he
I CT and Bi o sect or s.
• There i s a gap i n t he mi ndset and
col l abor at i on ( t hi nki ng and doi ng) bet ween
t he researcher s i n i ndust r y and i n uni ver si t i es.
The cur rent syst em, where uni ver si t i es do not
produce t he research whi ch coul d be used t o
t he advant age of i ndust r y, i s nei t her
compet i t i ve nor sust ai nabl e.
• The owner shi p of I nt el l ect ual Proper t y Ri ght s
( I PR) , especi al l y t hose creat ed wi t hi n a publ i c
f unded envi ronment , must be such t hat i t
i ncent i vi ses i ndust r y.
• There i s a huge demand f or a nat i onal ,
sust ai nabl e, t r ansparent , i ndependent , neut r al
and wel l -resourced f i nanci ng i nst r ument .
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The programme commenced in November 2007 with
a fve-month inception phase during which a working
model was developed for multi-helix collaboration as
well as a methodology for securing and managing such
projects. The initial intention was that The Innovation Hub
would source projects and then nurture them towards the
key CoE Pilot objective.

By the end of March 2008, six ICT-based projects had
been shortlisted, of which two were developed further
as platforms for SME involvement and development.

COFISA provided additional support to continue the pilot
for a further period, from April 2008 to November 2009.
Shortl i sted proj ects – Fi rst Round Eval uati on ( March 2008)
1. Gauteng I CT Agri -Hub – Bruboer Group consorti um
2. I tem Onl i ne – I tem Agri Afri ca and Si meka Consul ti ng consorti um
3. I nnovati on Lab – I nnovati on Lab, Eskom and BASF consorti um
4. Fouri er Approach Busi ness Processi ng – Fouri er Approach and UNI SA consorti um
5. Broad Band 4 Al l – CSI R Meraka I nsti tute, Sentech and Parsec consorti um
6. Symel ati on – Symel ati on, Asi cabange and SMME Forum consorti um
The Activator
Concept for Multi-Helix Collaboration and SME Development
he Activator
Concept, as a business model, involves
methodologies, business processes and know-how
relating to the creation of an environment conducive
for the collaboration of so-called multi-helix stakeholders.
This includes:
• Developing new collaborative projects involving SMEs
(structuring calls for proposals; advertising and
securing stakeholder interest; evaluating, selecting
and structuring projects; and initiating project
• Securing external stakeholder involvement (investors,
public support entities, large industry, research and
academia) and leveraging market opportunities to
maximise project sustainability;
• Nurturing collaborative projects towards sustainability;
• Developing sustainable collaborative projects which
in turn provide opportunities for SME involvement,
SME spin-ofs and job creation; and
• Bringing on board role-players who are able to provide
business development services that enable
participating role-players, especially SMEs, to grow
and prosper.
The emphasis on collaboration is based on proven
research and global best practice indicating that
innovation output, quality and quantity increase in
proportion to the diversity of the role-players responsible
for innovation. The theoretical model for end-to-end
innovation implies that all stakeholders need to work
together to ensure that innovation can take place. Practice
has proved that many innovation projects simply do not
succeed due to the absence of a structured collaboration
model into which all stakeholders can deliver.
A vi tal l esson from the i ni ti al
i mpl ementati on of Acti vator

i s that the model does not
work very wel l wi th end-to-end
bi otechnol ogy-type proj ects as
these normal l y entai l a much
l onger research component.
Thi s makes i t di ffi cul t to i nvol ve
SMEs and other commerci al
enti ti es upfront as the hori zon
for products and servi ces i s
normal l y too far off to al l ow for
col l aborati on.
Development and Implementation of the Activator
he Activator
Concept focused on the identifcation
and engagement of innovation projects
that were
relatively close to the market. As Activator
was a
pilot initiative, projects that had too long to go before
ofering tangible products or services to the market or
end-users could not be considered.
A second requirement was that such projects needed to
represent a clear and actionable opportunity to expand
the stakeholder base by involving multi-helix role-players
in the implementation and commercialisation of activities,
especially if they were able to expand innovation output
into diferent areas.
The success of these projects was increased through
the use of various support platforms and enablers such
as incubation, access to funding, and IP management
and mentoring, all part of the service ofering of the
Innovation Hub.
The Activator
methodology involves a four-step
Step 1: Identify innovation-type projects close to the
market and with expansion potential.
Step 2: Connect additional stakeholders to the project
who are able to complement the business case, e.g.
research institutions to assist with R&D, commercialisation
partners to assist with product development, and/or
third-party SMEs able to use the outputs from the project
to develop further opportunities in other non-competing
market channels.
Step 3: Engage directly with all participants/collaborators
through the various business development services
ofered through the stakeholder base (in the pilot study
this was the Innovation Hub) to assist each entity in
growing beyond the initial business activities proposed
for the project.
Step 4: Identify, cultivate and nurture emerging areas of
focus, both within individual projects (Activators) and in
portfolios of Activators that present niche and/or market-
leading expertise.
See http://www.theinnovationhub.com/pdf/coe_incephase.pdf for details on bids were solicited from consortia
A Steering Committee was called into being to provide credibility to the selection of the shortlisted projects, and to provide inputs towards developing the process for selecting and implementing such projects.
Innovation-type projects refer to projects that have an element of novel development and/or even a short phase of applied research before commercialisation; Activator
does not engage with projects limited
to licensing-in, imports, sales and distribution – there must be an element of newness in the proposed solutions, products or services.
Deal i ng wi th I ntel l ectual
Property Ri ghts ( I PR) and
I mpacti ng Legi sl ati on
A prohi bi t i ng f act or i n st r uct ur i ng
col l abor at i ve par t ner shi ps i n t he Sout h
Af r i can cont ext i s t he pot ent i al l y
compl ex i ssue of resol vi ng i nt el l ect ual
proper t y owner shi p, r i ght s and
obl i gat i ons. The exper i ence of t he
Act i vat or
t eam was t hat t he pi t f al l s
are not necessar i l y creat ed by
l egi sl at i on or compl ex regul at i ons,
but r at her by i gnor ance of t he t ool s
avai l abl e. Most consor t i a t end t o
avoi d t he i ssue of I PR unt i l i t i s t oo
l at e. Act i vat or
t ook a hands-on
approach t o st r uct ur i ng and f or mal i si ng
agreement s bet ween consor t i um
member s t o ensure t hat t hi s i ssue was
st r at egi sed and pl anned f or bef ore any
wor k st ar t ed.
Through t he pi l ot proj ect , Act i vat or

devel oped l eadi ng i nsi ght i nt o t he
Sout h Af r i can I P l egi sl at i ve f r amewor k
t o ensure t hat t hi s i mpor t ant aspect of
i nnovat i on i s proper l y and proact i vel y
addressed. I P i s a vi t al bui l di ng bl ock
i n bui l di ng a knowl edge economy as
sust ai nabl e col l abor at i on and busi ness
devel opment can onl y t ake pl ace i f I PR
i s posi t i oned t o creat e an i ncent i ve
f or commerci al i sat i on.
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Existing Activator
The Activator
programme sourced a number of projects
through a public call for proposals. However, a key fnding
was that this is not the most suitable process to obtain
the desired mix of projects, as most public proposals do
not have clear market focus, industry partners and/or
funding. As a result, Activator
thereafter proactively
targeted specifc large industry players and public sector
institutions with tangible innovation needs. Specifc
partners secured through this alternative approach
included Eskom (national power utility); Vodacom (mobile
operator), CSIR (research institution) and the City of
Tshwane (metropolitan city council) for which Activator

developed specifc innovation themes of interest to the
industry or public sector partner.
A vi tal i nsi ght gai ned through the
Acti vator
Pi l ot programme i s
that the South Afri can i nnovati on
space i s not i n al l i nstances ready
for pure publ i c col l aborati on on
new i nnovati on proj ects. Most
proposal s secured through the
publ i c cal l tended to be dri ven by
technol ogy and/or market push,
rather than addressi ng a speci fi c
need i n the market, whi ch pre-
supposes a cl earl y-defi ned
road to market. A faci l i tator
was needed to assi st even the
successful consorti a members
to posi ti on and structure thei r
proposal s to address systemi c
To address the above chal l enge,
the Acti vator
4-step model
was devel oped. I n terms of the
model , an i nnovati on proj ect
i s ki cked off i n cl ear vi ew of a
wi l l i ng i ndustry or l arge i nsti tuti on
partner commi tted to eventual l y
j oi ni ng the consorti um. The sai d
partner shoul d not onl y be wi l l i ng
to open i ts i nnovati on needs, but
al so to pl ayi ng an acti ve rol e i n
transl ati ng i ts needs i nto busi ness
requi rements and endorsi ng the
consorti um members to i mprove
thei r potenti al for attracti ng
fundi ng, endorsement and/or
brand credi bi l i ty.
The following projects were developed using the tested
4-step methodology:
Broadband For All Project – Council for Scientifc
and Industrial Research (CSIR) Meraka Institute
The Broadband for All project aims to remove or minimise
communication technology barriers, enable bottom-up
creation of wireless access infrastructure and provide
cheaper broadband to remote and rural communities while
developing local village operators to become entrepreneurs.
Research focused on mesh networking, low-cost voice/
messaging devices, low-cost access points and antennae,
and network security. Mesh networking provides
interesting opportunities for communities to establish
a wireless network without the need for large capital
investment in radio masts. The Meraka Institute is the
project leader and the consortium includes Sentech,
Parsec, Redline SA and the Universal Service and Access
Agency of South Africa (USAASA).
structured this market-driven innovation
value-proposition by focusing not on technology involved
in mesh networking, but rather on the needs of a village
operator and how such needs translate into multi-helix
collaboration and SME development opportunities.
“A smal l t eam wi t h huge ambi t i ons t o st i mul at e col l abor at i ve
proj ect s t hat resul t i n oppor t uni t i es f or hi gh-t ech SMEs i n Sout h
Af r i ca. Act i vat or
assi st ed as we got st ar t ed wi t h a massi ve
proj ect t o t ake broadband i nt o t he r ur al areas. They were abl e t o
f i l l i n wi t h exper t i se or net wor ki ng us wi t h ot her s where we di dn’t
have t he exper t i se i n-house. Act i vat or
al so creat ed a number
of oppor t uni t i es f or di al ogue wi t h SMEs t hat resul t ed i n new
par t ner shi ps. A t eam and or gani sat i on t hat pl ays a cr i t i cal rol e i n
t he Sout h Af r i can Nat i onal Syst em of I nnovat i on! ”
Kobus Roux,
Compet ence Area Manager ( Emer gi ng I nnovat i ons) , Mer aka I nst i t ut e
Fourier Approach’s ‘Centre of Excellence in Complexity’ Model
The Fourier Approach consortium developed a
‘Centre of Excellence in Complexity’ Model and related
methodologies that assist with the design, development,
implementation and measurement of operational
processes within a complex environment, while striving
towards realising the organisational strategies in a resilient
operation. The consortium consists of two organisations:
• Fourier, an industrial engineering consultancy; and the
• University of South Africa (UNISA).
The model found very good acceptance amongst
local government structures and other development
organisations, as the complexities of their environment
is often poorly understood. Once fully implemented,
the model and its results will be validated as part of
the academic objectives of UNISA.
Stimulating the Energy Innovation Market – Eskom
Eskom, the South African electricity utility, and Activator

reached an agreement to work in close partnership to
identify tangible opportunities for Eskom to partner with
SMEs and research institutions. With the current electricity
shortages in South Africa as background, Eskom intends
to develop new capacity and improve the management
of existing energy utilisation, particularly through ‘smaller’
innovations and opportunities that may otherwise be
overlooked by a large utility.
The Eskom Activator
specifcally seeks to empower
players in the South African National System of Innovation
to work with Eskom to support such smaller innovations.
Through this initiative, Eskom developed an innovation
portal to facilitate new idea creation, the sharing of
information and facilitating collaboration. Two specifc
projects have been implemented:
• The Eskom Hot Water Challenge which provides
innovative solutions to the supply of hot water to
households not currently serviced by the utility; and
• The Eskom Board Game which aims to educate the
youth about the advantages of energy saving through
traditional and mobile media.
The Tshwane eHealth Living Lab Activator
The Tshwane eHealth Living Lab Activator
(TeLL) was
launched as a collaborative project between Vodacom, the
City of Tshwane’s Primary Health Care Clinics and GeoMed,
a South African SME and pioneer of mobile health
applications and integrated solutions.
TeLL is creating a multi-helix innovation environment in
which researchers, SMEs and other players can collaborate
with primary health care clinics to introduce innovative
solutions to address the enormous service delivery
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challenges facing the South African national health system.
TeLL is not about technology - its primary objective is to
develop business models combining specifc technology,
business processes, networks, regulatory and policy
requirements necessary for the sustainable application of
innovation in the primary health care environment.
Acti vator
assi sted the Ci ty of
Tshwane to create i ts own Heal th
I nnovati on Pl atform cal l ed the
Tshwane eHeal th Li vi ng Lab.
Thi s i s an excel l ent exampl e of
how Acti vator
, as a neutral
faci l i tator of mul ti -hel i x i nnovati on
and col l aborati on, assi sted i n the
structuri ng of compl ex busi ness
rel ati onshi ps between a publ i c
sector enti ty ( Ci ty of Tshwane) ,
a mul ti -nati onal mobi l e operator
( Vodafone/Vodacom) and an SME
( GeoMed) . Acti vator
medi ated
the transl ati on of pri mary heal th
care needs, as communi cated by
pri mary heal th care practi ti oners
and medi cal personnel ,
i nto techni cal and busi ness
requi rements.
Telecommunications and ICT Development
– Vodacom
Vodacom, South Africa’s leading cellular network operator,
decided to establish a physical presence at the Innovation
Hub through the Activator
programme. This entails the
establishment of a public networking and collaboration
facility in close proximity to the Business Incubator of
The Innovation Hub. Participants in The Innovation Hub’s
development programmes will gain insight into the latest
mobile, networking and ICT developments by engaging
with Vodacom technology and business executives.
Vodacom also undertook to support the Innovation
Hub’s pre-incubation programme, which is tasked with
entrepreneurial development. In return Vodacom will
nurture relationships with SMEs, entrepreneurs and
research institutions to canvass new products, services
and oferings for inclusion in its value proposition to
Vodacom clients.
in the Future
he Activator
programme is a departure from
rigid, recipe-type interventions, to a people-and-
relationship driven methodology, to bring the
desired mix of willing and committed partners to the table
to focusing on resolving market challenges and exploit
In the African context, the importance of investing in
the time and efort to connect key stakeholders and
facilitate mutually-benefcial business relationships is
often overlooked as most traditional innovation support
programmes take the form of infrastructure investment
and the setting up of formal platforms – often under the
premise of ‘build it and they will come’.
By investing in the capacity and commitment of neutral
project drivers and innovation facilitators, multi-helix
stakeholders in the Activator
Pilot Programme proved
that even traditional commercial competitors can be
motivated to move from the periphery to collaborate, and
large industry players and public sector institutions can
open up procurement processes to SMEs and research
institutions and still receive top quality solutions.
created tangible proof through valid, proven
business cases of how structured interventions can result
in the achievement of tangible benefts for stakeholders
(irrespective of size) and create wealth and improved
levels of service delivery to the ordinary man on the street.
Finally: Activator
is a methodology, not an institution.
The spirit in which the methodology and best-practice
was developed is to share it as widely as possible and
thereby contribute to an improved methodology and
success story through which new innovation projects are
sourced, structured and implemented.
Tsi etsi Mal eho ( previ ousl y Acti ng CEO of the I nnovati on Hub) and Wendy Poul ton ( ESKOM) si gni ng a Memorandum
of Understandi ng
I nsi de the I nnovati on Centre at the I nnovati on Hub, where the Acti vator
programme i s housed
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Thi s chapt er i nt roduces and
revi ews t he “Rur al I nnovat i on
Syst ems” component of t he
COFI SA progr amme, i n whi ch
t he key dr i vi ng f orce has been
t he proact i ve and i nspi red
engagement of al l member s
of a gi ven communi t y. The
chapt er provi des an over vi ew
of t he Li vi ng Labs phi l osophy
and t he est abl i shment of t he
Li vi ng Labs i n Sout her n Af r i ca
( LLi SA) net wor k. Two exampl es
of r ur al i nnovat i on syst ems i n
Sout h Af r i ca are present ed as
case st udi es, t he Reconst r uct ed
Li vi ng Labs i n At hl one ( West er n
Cape) and t he Si yakhul a Li vi ng
Lab i n Dwesa ( East er n Cape) .
Bot h are seen as exampl es of
best pr act i ce wi t hi n t he COFI SA
progr amme and f or m par t of a
broader net wor k of Li vi ng Labs
i n Europe and Af r i ca.
Kobus Roux
CSIR Meraka Institute
Alfredo Terzoli
Rhodes University
Marlon Parker
Cape Peninsula University of
n the 1990s, Finland faced a full-scale depression, brought on by the
loss of the country’s most important markets as the Soviet Union
disintegrated. Unemployment soared to 20 percent. However, the Finns
took control of their future, made painful adjustments and came out of
the crisis with an economy that the World Economic Forum in Davos,
Switzerland, ranks as the most competitive in the world.
It is often argued
that this feat was achieved as a result of an efcient innovation system in
Finland. The current conditions in Africa need a feat of similar magnitude
and impact. Imagine a future where every village in South Africa is
competing and excelling in the global marketplace in terms of products,
people and improved quality of life. This can only be realised through
efective and efcient local innovation systems that see collaboration at a
local and global scale between government, industry, academic and civil
The Finnish and South African governments partnered to enhance South
Africa’s innovation system through the Cooperation Framework on
Innovation Systems between Finland and South Africa (COFISA). One of
the components of this initiative focused on enhancing rural innovation
systems since it was believed that this held the promise of contributing in
a sustainable manner to economic growth and poverty alleviation. Three
strategic result areas were identifed:
• The enhanced use of information and communication technologies
(ICTs) in rural development projects;
• Identifed opportunities for research funding to support new initiatives
aimed at research and development (R&D) in rural and social
innovation; and
• Best practices identifed and adopted for the promotion of sustainable
rural and social innovations for local economic development.
The Washington Post, July 14, 2005.
Overvi ew of the Three Strategi c Resul t Areas
Conceptual i sed for COFI SA’s Rural I nnovati on
Systems Component
Strategi c Resul t 1: Enhanced use of I CTs i n
rural devel opment proj ects.
COFI SA i nt ended t o pi l ot r ur al i nnovat i on
mechani sms based on t he sust ai nabl e appl i cat i on
of I CTs t o enhance r ur al devel opment pr act i ces.
The pi l ot s were t o i ncl ude an ext ensi ve mappi ng
of I CT-based r ur al devel opment proj ect s i n t he pi l ot
provi nces, provi di ng basel i ne i nf or mat i on on rel evant
model s, proj ect s and or gani sat i ons. The out comes of
t hi s act i vi t y i ncl uded:
- A r ur al basel i ne st udy provi di ng a comprehensi ve
pi ct ure of I CT-rel at ed r ur al devel opment i n t he
East er n Cape and West er n Cape;
- I ncreased qual i t y of l i f e f or t he t ar get groups
of t he pi l ot proj ect s, i ncl udi ng access t o
communi cat i on t echnol ogy and knowl edge; and
- I ncreased col l abor at i on i n I CT-based r ur al
devel opment i n t he East er n Cape and
West er n Cape.
Strategi c Resul t 2: I denti f i ed opportuni ti es f or
research f undi ng to support new i ni ti ati ves ai med
at R&D i n rural and soci al i nnovati on.
COFI SA i nt ended t o i nvest i gat e new t ar get s or
mechani sms f or R&D f undi ng f or r ur al i nnovat i ons.
The ai m was t o advance f undi ng oppor t uni t i es f or
r ur al i nnovat i on based on best -pr act i ce model s wi t hi n
i dent i f i ed t ar get areas and bui l di ng on pi l ot r ur al
i nt er vent i ons. The out come of t hi s act i vi t y was t o
real i se new f undi ng oppor t uni t i es or f undi ng model s
i n r ur al and soci al i nnovat i on.
Strategic Result 3: Best practices identified and
adopted for the promotion of sustainable rural and
social innovations for local economic development.
The r ur al pi l ot proj ect s were t o promot e a sust ai nabl e
“l i vi ng-l ab”-t ype envi ronment and approach i n rel at i on
t o advanci ng r ur al i nnovat i on. Cr i t i cal f eat ures of t he
wor k were t he devel opment of par t ner shi ps among
pr i vat e, publ i c and academi c st akehol der s i n an ef f or t
t o promot e a par t i ci pat or y cul t ure of i nnovat i on. The
out comes of t hi s act i vi t y were t o i ncl ude:
- Best practi ce model s or cri teri a for sustai nabl e
appl i cati on of I CT i n rural devel opment; and
- Establ i shi ng the feasi bi l i ty of bui l di ng a rural l i vi ng l ab.
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n 2005 researchers from Finland visited South Africa as
part of the Sustainable Information Society Development
This visit included interviews with many
actors in the South African system of innovation, and in
particular with research institutions such as the Meraka
Institute (CSIR), Rhodes University, University of Fort Hare
and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology. The visit
highlighted the need to advance the understanding of local
innovation systems and that this could best be achieved by
piloting rural innovation mechanisms.
In September 2006 the COFISA programme was launched,
which included a component to support the piloting
of rural innovation mechanisms. This component was
to be supported by training and other interventions
aimed at building human capacity, enhancing economic
development and promoting poverty alleviation in
rural areas.
In February 2007, a meeting between stakeholders
concluded that immediate action was required to
establish local public-private partnerships to facilitate
new frameworks for sustainable cooperation in rural
innovations. The Meraka Institute had already been
in discussion with Nokia in Finland to pilot a Nokia
“Wireless Village”
in South Africa. Since a critical
element in any local innovation system is a reliable and
afordable communications infrastructure, this presented
an opportunity for quick action in the COFISA rural
innovation component. COFISA could facilitate the
deployment of this pilot in one of the target areas and
in the process address some of the defciencies of the
South African System of Innovation (SANSI), including
collaboration between national and local actors,
participation by industry, and attracting funding for R&D
in rural and social innovation.
The outcome of the meeting was that:
• International expertise, preferably from Finland, would
be contracted to assist in the planned construction
of the rural living lab and to build local capacity. Where
possible, local technology and human resources would
be used;
• The Meraka Institute would manage the project and
take responsibility for setting up an in-house Wireless
Village laboratory;
• COFISA would facilitate the fnding of local partners
and fnancial commitments required for the feld
trials; and
• An internal workshop would be held to scope the pilot.
A programme that combined Futures Research and the study of Information Society concepts, applications and case study examples as tools for promoting sustainable development.
The wireless village concept is now sold as the Village Connection product of Nokia Siemens Network.
Living Labs
n South Africa, citizens are mostly seen as passive and
adaptive actors in the innovation process (Enkenberg,
merely using technology developed elsewhere
or prescribed to them by experts external to their
situations. On the other hand, the challenge of developing
sustainable solutions that involve disadvantaged sections
of the population highlights the need to understand these
user groups thoroughly. User-driven approaches could
thus provide real value for developing and validating
new concepts, services or products, allowing more rapid
insights into how diferent users think, adopt, use and
infuence technology. As a systemic approach, this could
lead to empowering users to become active partners in
research, development and innovation (RDI) processes
for the future. It could also greatly beneft the current ICT
for Development (ICT4D) community and help in creating
more sustainable outcomes for using technology in social
and economic development. The Living Lab approach
can play an important role in addressing the need for the
sustainability and scaling of ICT4D projects. Processes of
institutionalisation have been found to be crucial and four
key processes have been identifed:
1. Gaining symbolic acceptance by the community;
2. Stimulating valuable social activity in relevant
social groups;
3. Generating linkages to viable revenue streams; and
4. Enrolling government support.

The establishment of a Living Lab can be seen as a means
of bringing institutional partners on board and kick-
starting the process of institutionalisation.
Living Labs are systemic initiatives, which focus on
creating multi-stakeholder collaboration in diferent
A Li vi ng Lab i s a new concept f or R&D i nnovat i on whi ch has at i t s core
a human-cent r i c approach and t he pot ent i al f or t he devel opment of new
I CT-based product s and ser vi ces. The European Net wor k of Li vi ng Labs
( ENoLL) devi sed a Li vi ng Lab roadmap f rom 2007-2010, set t i ng out
prot ocol s and model s f or Li vi ng Labs, par t i cul ar l y t hose whi ch were ai med
at soci al l y excl uded communi t i es.
stages of the RDI process. It is a concept which refers to
an R&D methodology where innovations such as services,
products and application enhancements are created and
validated in collaborative, multi-contextual empirical
real-world settings (Eriksson, Niitamo & Kulkki, 2005).
Living Labs, users or citizens are seen as a source of new
innovations, as co-creators of new services and products,
typically linked to creation or application of ICTs or ICT-
enabled services. Living Labs are platforms for exploring
these opportunities in various areas; for instance in e-
commerce, healthcare, transport, tourism development,
energy production and so forth.
The thinking and practice behind Living Labs has been
developed over the last years, especially in the European
Union (EU), where the promotion and implementation of
the approach has resulted in the creation of the European
Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), which in 2008 expanded
beyond European borders. Its mission is to help create frst
class innovation environments for ICT-based products,
services and social innovations and facilitate innovation
and collaboration between users, industry and research
stakeholders. While the community is still young, and
some of the pilots have a low degree of maturity, the
approach has in many cases proved successful and is
being adopted more widely by diferent actors, public
and private. The network and pilot projects have also
received strong political support, ranging from cities and
local governments to the European Commission. This can
be described as a collective efort to include users in a
systematic way in a European innovation system.
It is only through well established partnerships between
citizens, businesses and public authorities, that the Living
Labs model allows people, industries, higher education
institutions, government, governmental organisations or
local governments to collaboratively test tomorrow’s best
innovations in ICT. It was with this view in mind that the
Siyakhula and Reconstructed Living Labs were established
in Dwesa and Athlone respectively.
Aki Enkenberg, Junior Professional Ofcer for COFISA .
Madon, S.; Reinhard, N.; Roode, D. & Walsham, G. (2009). Digital Inclusion Projects in Developing Countries: Processes of institutionalization. Information Technology for Development, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp 95-107.
Eriksson, M.; Niitamo, V.-P; & Kulkki, S. (2005). State-of-the-art and Good Practice in the Field of Living Labs. Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Concurrent Enterprising: Innovative Products
and Services through Collaborative Networks, Milan, Italy, 2006, pp 349-357.
Ståhlbröst, A. (2008). Forming future IT: The living lab way of user involvement. Unpublished PhDThesis, Luleå University of Technology Department of Business Administration and Social Sciences, Division of
Informatics, Finland.
Implementing the Living Labs Concept
n essential element to a well functioning Living
Lab is a good communications infrastructure. The
Nokia “Wireless Village” was initially proposed as
a trial communications infrastructure in the Siyakhula
Living Lab, as a platform to support this local innovation
environment. This was not however fully implemented
in COFISA as originally envisaged. The in-house Wireless
Village Laboratory was set up at the Meraka Institute and
a number of workshops and meetings were held during
2007 and 2008 to implement the pilot in the Eastern Cape.
In October 2008, Ungana Afrika, a local NGO, conducted
a business modelling and feasibility analysis,
found that the partners needed to invest more time and
resources in the trial, as well as address a range of other
challenges. The key obstacle to deployment was obtaining
commitment from one of the national GSM network
operators, as the Village Connection technology could
not be deployed without the cooperation or support of a
GSM licensee.
The COFISA expectations were ambitious and met with
many obstacles, most often impacting on the time it took to
implement these ideas.
• Human capacity and innovation capacity are very
limited in the rural context, which meant that key
individuals had limited availability for meetings, due to
busy schedules.
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• Building trust requires time and it took longer than
expected to achieve collaboration and agreement
between players in South Africa;
• The European technology concepts could not be
adopted in Africa, as there were challenges in
regulations, logistics, and again the lack of human
capacity to implement;
• Contracts and orders took longer to put in place,
as many organisations have intricate and bureaucratic
systems that govern the decision making authority of
individuals; and
• Socio-economic conditions in many rural areas are
daunting and it is a struggle for any initiative to
become sustainable.
“I woul d al so l i ke t o l ear n t o use a comput er whi l e I am st i l l
al i ve. ”
Madol o Gobi namba ( 86)
Si yakhul a Li vi ng Lab
Despite these challenges, the COFISA programme has had
many positive outcomes, some of which are highlighted
• The need for investigating the appropriate Southern
African model of Living Labs was facilitated through
COFISA. The European concept of Living Labs holds a
lot of promise as a framework and philosophy for
advancing local innovation, but the assumptions are
often fawed in the Southern African context;

• The Siyakhula and Athlone Living Labs were
established through the eforts of COFISA; and
• COFISA seeded the Living Labs in Southern Africa
(LLiSA) network that will facilitate the community of
Living Labs, Living Lab researchers and practitioners in
this region. COFISA also established the need for
having a local champion as key facilitator and driver
for the local innovation mechanism. It partly funded
coordination champions for the Dwesa and Athlone
projects during the duration of the COFISA initiative.
Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) in the Western Cape
he Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) is one of ten in
Southern Africa, and the frst one to be established
in the Western Cape. The project has grown out of
collaboration between the Cape Peninsula University
of Technology (CPUT), a community organisation
Impact Direct Ministries (IDM), and the Bridgetown Civic
Organisation. It has features that are unique in Living Labs
as it is community-led and is based in a socially-deprived
area in Cape Town.
Athlone is situated on the Cape Flats of the Western Cape
in Cape Town, South Africa. It is today known for two
features, the new football stadium and the obsolete power
towers which dominate the area. The society is described
by Parker (2008)
as a community in tension. Factors for
the grounds of tension include:
• Lack of economic development e.g. unemployment,
• Social inequality e.g. lack of social services;
• Lack of education; and
• Lack of appropriateness and use of technology, for
example, technology that is not utilised fully within
communities for its intended use.
Athlone has all of these social problems and is plagued by
violence, drugs and gangsterism.
“RLabs made i t possi bl e f or me t o l ear n a ski l l and empower
ot her s usi ng t echnol ogy. ”
Brent Wi l l i ams, ex-gang member Cape Fl at s
Parker M. B.; Wills, G. B.; & Wills, J. (2008). Community in Tension (CiT). ECSTR-LSL08-002 ISBN: 978-0-620-42256-7. Wealthy Mind Publishers. http://eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/16678/1/ParkerWills_CiT.pdf
RLabs aims through the creation, dissemination and
application of knowledge to increase the empowerment,
upliftment and development of individuals and the
Athlone community, including parts of it that are, in or
headed for, tension. They aim to do this through the use
of innovative ICT solutions
• To facilitate the health and social care of citizens;
• To inform citizens about problem behaviours, their
consequences and preventative mechanisms; and
• To educate citizens and to train them in specifc skills
which will generate wealth and an enterprise
work style.
Its primary aim is empowerment and reconstruction of the
individual and the community.
A Reconst r uct ed Li vi ng Lab ( RLL) i s a reconst r uct ed i nt er act i on
space f or col l abor at i ve desi gn, creat i on, di ssemi nat i on and
appl i cat i on of knowl edge f or empower ment , upl i f t ment and
devel opment of peopl e and communi t i es i n or headed f or
t ensi on t hrough t he use of i nnovat i ve I CT sol ut i ons.
As part of the Living Labs in Southern Africa (LLiSA)
network sponsored by COFISA, SAFIPA
and Meraka
Institute, the Reconstructed Living Lab aims to place the
citizen at the root of the innovation system. This has not
often been the case. Stoecker (2005)
raised the question
of whether community informatics benefts communities
or just business and academics. Being controlled by
those with funding is essentially a situation which the
community is eager to resist. The Athlone community
envisages that the technology used will be transferable
to other socially excluded groups nationwide and that
this will fund the development of their community.
The University of Southampton and Malmö University
in Sweden are also connected to the Living Lab and
supported early development of this initiative. The
community groups included in the project include non-
governmental organisations (NGOs), schools, youth and
family centres. The Bridgetown Civic group and IDM have
been instrumental in engaging the community in
the project.
“Through RLabs my l i f e i s back on t r ack and I am now i n a
posi t i on t o gi ve back by present i ng t echnol ogy cl asses wi t h
women and chi l dren i n my communi t y. ”
Cr ai g Ross ex-dr ug addi ct , Cape Fl at s
SAFIPA is the South Africa-Finland knowledge partnership on ICT which aims to support the creation of an environment which facilitates the development and deployment of ICT service applications for the
beneft of South African citizens.
Stoecker, R. (2005). Is Community Informatics good for communities? In: The Journal of community Informatics, 1(3), pp 13-26.
Ei ghty- si x- year- ol d Mr Madol o Gobi namba from Mpume expresses hi s opi ni on
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Four stakeholder networks - the community, academia,
industry and government - have produced tangible
tools, help, advice and inputs which have made the
RLabs operational (See Table 6.1). This has enabled the
community to take a dominant role in the process. The
Community Steering Committee has an independent role
and is directly responsible for the decisions made at a local
level. The Living Labs Harmonisation Cube
was used by
the steering group to monitor the development of
the project .
The Living Labs Harmonisation Cube identifes exchange possibilities and explicitly defnes interoperability elements from organisational, technological,and contextual perspectives in which diferent standards
are relevant.
Mulder I.; Velthausz D.; and Kriens M. (2008). The Living Labs Harmonization Cube: Communicating Living Labs’ Essentials. In: Electronic Journal for Virtual Organizations and Networks, 10, pp 1-14.
Steering Committee
Community Government Industry
Open Forums
Development Space
Steering Committee
Work Groups
Technological help
Incubation Space for Ideas
Memorandum of Understanding
(MOU) with Community Partner
NGO Partners Internships Contract Research Internships Basic training
for volunteers
Workshops COFISA - Research Visits
Provision of Services Living Labs of South Africa
- International collaboration
Choice and Patenting
of new technology
Provision of technology tools - Testing of technology
CPUT is playing an important part in providing incubation
and innovation space for training volunteers to work
at the Living Lab, as well as training citizens in life skills
which are essential for the community to develop.
IDM provides the community space where technology
becomes operational. There is a local agreement with
CPUT which assigns the community as the leading partner.
This Socio-Techno bridge is important to the success of
RLabs, as citizens receive free training that builds capacity
and enables them to run the project themselves. The
uniqueness of this Living Lab is that the community
leads the project and is fully part of the development of
RLabs i n t he West er n Cape has suppor t ed i nnovat i on i n t he West er n Cape
as i t provi des an ongoi ng, i nt er act i ve space f or col l abor at i on i n st r at egi c
t hi nki ng and pr act i cal syst ems i mpl ement at i on. Through t he i ncl usi on
of communi t i es i n t hese act i vi t i es, t hey can t ake a l eader shi p rol e i n
addressi ng f undament al i ssues such as heal t h, educat i on and secur i t y t o
enhance economi c growt h and i mprove t he qual i t y of t hei r l i ves.
Crai g Ross, RLabs communi ty faci l i tator, trai ni ng youth on the use of Web technol ogi es for soci al change
Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) ofer the local
community an opportunity to enhance their skills through
the use of various technology programmes specially
developed to support the needs of the citizens. Another
development by IDM, was a mobile instant messenger
aggregation technology used to manage mobile chat
conversations. The technology could be used to ofer
additional support and advice to people afected by
substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, and general social problems.
Its services are available to all members of the local and
extended community. By using available technologies
appropriately, RLabs has set up a series of Advice
Support Networks:
Drug Advice Support
Drug Advice Support (DAS), launched in 2008, enables
multiple advisors to assist during a given advice support
session. The advisors are volunteers who have received
training and ofer counselling services to people impacted
by the scourge of drug abuse. By August 2009, after being
operational for a year, the DAS system has 9 193 subscribers.
An estimated 60% of approximately 19 million people
require assistance in South Africa for over-indebtedness.
Drug advi ce suppor t advi sors duri ng a l i ve sessi on
suppor ti ng ci ti zens across South Afri ca
Tabl e 6. 1 Stakehol der Acti vi ti es i n the RLabs Proj ect
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Debtbreaker, launched in April 2009, is a collaboration
with a local debt counselling company to ofer debt
counselling via mobile phones to consumers who are over
indebted. The service already services more than 1 000
people via mobile technology.
National AIDS Helpline
In August 2009 RLabs commenced collaboration with
the non-proft organisation Cell-Life to provide mobile
counselling services to people impacted and afected
by HIV/AIDS. This project is the frst of its kind in Africa
providing real-time support using mobile chat as a
counselling medium.
RLabs is a testament to the efectiveness of a bottom-up
approach to social innovation. Having the support of
the community and strong innovation partnerships is
important to the overall success of Living Labs.
Organisations such as COFISA have a facilitating role to
play in ensuring the continuous legacy of Living Labs in
Southern Africa.
The Siyakhula Living Lab (Eastern Cape)
he Siyakhula Living Lab (SLL)
is part of an ambitious
multi-component, multi-partner and multi-
disciplinary initiative initiated by the universities of
Rhodes and Fort Hare at the end of 2002 and catalysed,
during 2008 and 2009, by COFISA. The SLL represents
the re-organisation of the feld work component of
this initiative, along the lines of the emerging R&D
methodology commonly known as a ‘Living Lab’. The SLL
is located in the proximity of the Dwesa Nature reserve
on the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape Province and is
conducted jointly by the two universities.
Such re-organisation, which is taking place at the time
of writing, is very natural because the main underlying
principle of a Living Lab - co-creation with empowered
users – has been in place since the inception of the feld
work in Dwesa in the second half of 2005. Apart from
restructuring the feld work along the better defned
lines of a formal methodology and social innovation
environment, COFISA has facilitated the process of
integrating the work done in Dwesa into the larger
provincial system of innovation. This has opened the way
to an explicit link with the TechnoPark under construction
at the East London Industrial Development Zone (EL IDZ),
as well as into the national system of innovation.
Results achieved to date include the establishment of
communications infrastructure, and the creation of
e-commerce and e-government websites, underpinned by
continuous ICT training for the local community.
The section below situates the SLL within the system of
the larger initiative mentioned above, and briefy traces its
history, followed by a presentation of the achievements
to date.
Rocky Coast i n the Dwesa Nature Reser ve, Eastern Cape, South Afri ca
http://www.openlivinglabs.eu/pdfs/siyakhula-living-lab.pdf; See also the booklet Siyakhula Living Lab which provides a more detailed overview of the various project being undertaken at the SLL, and which
cannot be covered in this chapter. http://www.cofsa.org.za/pdfs/siyakhula_living_lab_09.pdf; after July 2010 http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
he Dwesa feld work operation, the precursor of the
SLL, was the result of a classic Triple Helix
by Telkom SA
in the constitution of a network of
Centres of Excellence
which brought together industry,
academia and government through the Department of
Trade and Industry. Two of the Centres are located in
the Computer Science departments of the universities
of Rhodes and Fort Hare in the Eastern Cape. The initial
work in Dwesa focused on building an e-commerce/
telecommunications platform for marginalised rural
areas, based on the premise that there was an untapped,
immature telecommunications market in rural South
Africa and that the Centres could create an entry point for
industry partners.
Through its relationship with the Centres, the SLL can
tap into specialised knowledge from academia and
industry, and resources from all three of the partners.
The specialised knowledge extended beyond ICTs
(and the competence ofered by the computer science
departments of the two universities). This realises the
multidisciplinary aspect of the initiative and makes
available anthropological, sociological, linguistic,
educationalist, communication and media competences
through co-opting appropriate staf and students at the
The Centres are still the main support system for the
SLL, but COFISA became increasingly important. In
particular, COFISA is supporting the establishment of
the SLL management unit (SiLLMU), responsible for the
transformation of the Dwesa feld work into a recognisable
Living Lab. SiLLMU is in the process of being constructed
and represents an important systems component.
Another essential component is the EL Techno Park, which
represents the formal link of the SLL to the provincial
system of innovation. COFISA has been the main instigator
of the Techno Park, helping in its conceptualisation
and design. Within the Techno Park, the SLL will ofer a
grounded and instrumented experimentation space to
interested tenants of the Techno Park (among others)
and will channel independently created innovation into
commercialisation, via an existing or a new tenant. At the
time of writing, temporary facilities for the EL Techno Park
were being completed (November, 2009).
Peer relations are being established with other Living Labs
created or under creation in Southern Africa and Europe:
• The frst set of relations is being formalised through
LLiSA which was launched at the beginning of 2009.
This component, located at the Meraka Institute, is
essential for the continued existence of the local Living
Labs and is an outcome of the work by COFISA.
• The second relationship is with the ENoLL (European
Network of Living Labs), which has been in place since
the end of 2008. This association was also made
possible through COFISA.
• Finally, a new component is being established through
SAFIPA, which in part continues the seminal work done
by COFISA. Through a project codenamed ESTIMA,
a software factory is now under construction,
specialising in software artifacts to support
development in realities such as the one which
underpins the SLL. The project is jointly run by the two
Centres of Excellence and a commercial company,
Ekhaya ICT. It represents a breakthrough in the South
Africa landscape, moving the creation of solutions for
reality such as Dwesa onto a robust, commercial
footing. The frst output of the software factory will be
an eServices platform (the software product mentioned
above) which brings together an increasingly larger
number of eServices needed by a rural community,
either developed ab initio, or most often adapted and
integrated from the large repository of available Free
and Open Source Software (FOSS) components.
An initial set of components will include eCommerce,
eGovernment and eHealth, supporting grassroot activities
and interactions. For example, the eCommerce service will
be directly managed by local producers of goods such
as crafters and micro-tourism operators. eGovernment
will allow less costly and more efcient interaction by the
people living in the community with the various levels
of government, from local to national. Similar grassroots
perspectives will inform the eHealth services.
Systemic Relations and History
Refer to Chapter 5 for a more detailed description of the triple helix model.
Previously the incumbent telecommunications operator in South Africa.
Browne, D. and Leitch, A. (2009) Case Study of Telkom South Africa’s Centre of Excellence Postgraduate Research Programme. In: IST-Africa 2009 Conference Proceedings, 6-8 May, Uganda.
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he choice of Dwesa was a logical one as the
previous work done by Rhodes simplifed the initial
connection with the community, allowing for an
overlapping top-down / bottom-up approach.
The communications infrastructure underpinning the
activity of the SLL consists of fve points of presence
(Digital Access Centres) located in schools and
interconnected by means of a wireless LAN using WiMAX.
The LAN is connected to the Internet via a satellite link
provided by Telkom. Schools represent an obvious starting
point because they are, at the same time, focal points for
the community and a centre of knowledge, and can often
be open to all members of the community.
The establishment of the network was an achievement
in itself:
• From a technical point of view, it was one of the frst
WiMAX installations in rural South Africa;
• From a logistical point of view, it was done after very
recent electrifcation of the schools, with all the
associated problems; and
• From a Living Lab perspective, it started the
relationship with the community on an enthusiastic
and collaborative note. There are probably many
reasons for this, but the most important one is
probably that the work in Dwesa was informed, from
inception, by an explicit focus on bringing tangible
value to people and helping the community to
discover its strengths.
While the initial purpose of the installation was to pilot,
in real conditions, an eCommerce platform that was
being completed at that time (for art and crafts and later
the reality of the needs of the community took
centre stage from the beginning. This meant, frst of all,
computer training, an ongoing operation now conducted
by local champions. The training has been ofered during
regular monthly trips by participating researchers from Fort
Hare and Rhodes. Since mid-2009, this line of intervention
also involves the local Department of Education (in Dutya),
which is co-funding a certifed literacy course for teachers
in preparation of the higher ACE (Advanced Certifcation in
Education) in ICT next year. Such certifcation has rarely, if
ever, been ofered in a rural school.
The second need was the localisation, cultural and
linguistic, of the systems interfaces that support the
interaction with the members of the community, such as
craft makers.
The third was the creation of tools to allow community
members to do frst-line troubleshooting, something
progressively more important with the wider use of the
Internet in the community.
One important activity, fully supported by COFISA, was a
baseline study, concluded in the second quarter of 2009
by researchers at Rhodes University and Fort Hare. This
updated the information on the area, gathered frst in
1998 and 2003-4, and provided important information
of the actual use and types of mobile phones in the
community. This knowledge on the availability of mobile
phones is important because one of the proposed
directions for the ICT infrastructure expansion in the SLL is
to provide easy access via mobile phones to the
core systems.
Two other studies were made possible by COFISA:
• A feasibility study on transforming the operation
in Dwesa into a Living Lab;
• A report investigating the business model for the
Village Connection installation, a series of low
cost GSM towers by Nokia.
Computer Literacy Training Session at the Mtokwane Junior
Secondary School
The Living Labs in Southern Africa Network (LLiSA)
Naomi Isabirye and Thandeka Mapi, research students, with a craft maker in Dwesa
outh Africa is a particularly complex and diversifed
society, and correspondingly the market
environment is very heterogeneous, incorporating
groups of citizens and organisations that can be regarded
as typical for both developing and developed countries.
The diverse situation can be regarded as a core strength
and opportunity for Living Lab activities, providing a rich
array of contexts and groups of users for experimentation
and innovation. It was therefore felt that a network
of Living Labs similar to ENoLL should be established
in Southern Africa to support innovation from a user-
driven perspective. The Living Labs in Southern Africa
network (better known as LLiSA) was therefore formed
and ofcially launched on 24 February 2009. The network
support and coordination project was initiated by COFISA,
SAFIPA and the Meraka Institute of the CSIR.
The LLiSA network allows for small groups of Living Labs
in diferent regions to join forces by sharing knowledge,
services and even developments based on win-win
strategies to pave the way for co-selling developments and
services to the Southern African market rather than just to
their local provincial/regional markets. This network can be
of particular interest for rural communities, SMMEs, which
do not have the expertise and resources to expand their
activities to other regions or across Europe due to diferent
structural characteristics, regulations, or societal and
economic structures in the respective regions and countries.
http://www.cofsa.org.za; after July 2010 http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
This report was written by Patrizia Hongisto, a specialist in Living Lab theory from the Helsinki School of Economics. It is available on the COFISA website as above.
This report, written by Ungana Afrika, is also available on the COFISA website.
“Over t he past 20 year s, t he st andard of educat i on has i mproved, especi al l y
now, wi t h t he present of comput er s i n our school s ( t hrough t he Si yakhul a
Li vi ng Lab) . We hope t hi s educat i on wi l l assi st peopl e wi t h no j obs who have
t ur ned i nt o dr unkards and cr i mi nal s. ”
Madol o Gobi namba ( 86)
The Future
Achieving systemic change will take time. The “Rural
Innovation Systems” component of COFISA did pioneering
work in identifying some of the challenges to achieving
a positive change and facilitating the partnerships that
are needed for this change. The establishment of the
LLiSA network was a practical way of implementing this
collaboration framework and continuing the work on local
innovation systems beyond the duration of the
COFISA programme.
Through partners’ and collaborators’ work in the domain
of Rural Innovation Systems, we may achieve a future that
will see many African villages prosper through innovations
and compete and excel on the global marketplace with
their products and people.
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Thi s Chapt er descr i bes
t he evol ut i on of Sci ence
Par ks i n Sout h Af r i ca and
t he rol e pl ayed by COFI SA
i n f aci l i t at i ng sever al new
and exi st i ng proj ect s. I t
emphasi ses t he i mpor t ance
of regi onal i nnovat i on
syst em devel opment and t he
val ue of such par ks i n t hi s
i nnovat i on ecosyst em.
Nevi l l e Comi ns
Thando Gwi ntsa
East London I DZ
Lauri Kuukasj arvi
Reuben Rammbuda
Li mpopo Provi nci al Gover nment
Stanl ey Ri dge
Uni versi ty of the Wester n Cape
Rudi van der Wal t
North-West Uni versi ty
cience Parks, or if one explores the many diferent titles for the
subject - technoparks, technopoles, research parks, science and
technology parks and so on - are by no means a new concept
They were started as early as 1951 when Stanford University
(USA) established its frst research park. Over the decades, the concept has
evolved through a number of generations as the success factors for such
institutions became better understood.
The evolution in South Africa, however, has had a somewhat chequered
history, with universities mostly playing the role of initiator, often through
the eforts of progressive individuals. The University of the Witwatersrand
had a feld research station at Frankenwald dating back to before the 1930s
and attempts were made in the 1980s to establish industrial research on
materials handling and the clustering of some industrial associations.
These did not grow however and soon disappeared. The most signifcant
earlier achievement was the establishment of the Stellenbosch Technopark
in 1987. The University of Pretoria was part of two earlier initiatives, viz.
the Persequor Technopark and the Highveld Technopark. None of these
projects really established any of the value-adding services needed to
cultivate a vibrant science park environment. Such was the ongoing
interest in these ventures and the belief in the ‘build it and they will
come’ philosophy that, in the mid-1990s a group of business and fnancial
investors planned a multi-billion rand development in Cape Town named
Capricorn Park. While the developers had the resources and the ambition
to attract high-tech businesses, create jobs and develop in a depressed
area, with a stated approach to move away from the model of close
association with universities, it failed to attract the required market with
any enthusiasm.
Refecting on all these projects, one element stands out - the parks were
really established as real-estate initiatives, and often quickly reverted to
normal business parks, with no specifc services and management suited to
stimulate the original intent. The university linkages, while contemplated
and initially desired, generated too few vibrant business-research
interactions with resident companies, and none established incubation
facilities to support the emergence of start-up companies from university
research. Over a fairly short period of time, the interface between research
and park residents withered and no mechanisms were in place to nurture
this relationship.
Why then did we not achieve similar development and successes shown in
other parts of the world? Firstly and signifcantly, the chosen management
models were dominated, or even totally set up, with the real-estate
Now with the Regional Council of Päijät-Häme, & Susinno Ltd, Finland.
For convenience, the abbreviation “STP” will be used throughout this chapter to denote these as appropriate.
perspective in mind. Some internationally successful parks also started this
way, but these parks were surrounded by more entrepreneurial ecosystems
which delivered a plentiful supply of emerging technology companies.
Generally, however, the successful parks internationally understood the
criticality of paying more and more attention to the quality of the activation
or value-added services. These are needed to support and nurture the
knowledge-intensive emerging companies or attract larger established
companies through facilitated linkages to academic and research personnel
in associated institutions and organisations. Worldwide the understanding
of what makes science parks successful stressed that while the real estate
and facilities may be necessary, the real value lies in what a park can add to
assist companies to grow, be sustainable, competitive and globally active.
The late 1990s saw the Gauteng Province reassess its future economy in
the Trade and Industrial Strategy (1997). Flowing from this, a number
of interventions was started, one being to stimulate knowledge-based
economic growth, with the science park model being objectively
revisited. The previous attempts described above raised wide concerns,
and thus a process of deeper understanding was demanded, achieved
through linkage to learning from a number of experienced members of
the International Association of Science Parks (IASP) and the US National
Business Incubator Association (NBIA). The exposure to the success
fundamentals provided a diferent platform, and in 2000 The Innovation
Hub (TIH) project was launched under the banner of the province’s special
purpose vehicle Blue IQ, in partnership with the University of Pretoria and
the Council for Scientifc and Industrial Research (CSIR). Diferent from the
others, the project started in pilot mode, with management concentrating
on developing appropriate value-added services, initiating one of the frst
incubators in South Africa (later branded Maxum), the ‘INNOV8’ community
of practice, and other programmes linking business and universities, e.g.
the CoachLab.
As a result, when the main site was ready for occupation in 2005,
companies were keen to move. Anchor tenants such as the SAPPI
Technology Centre and Bigen Africa built their own buildings providing
visible substance to the park model.
In 2006, the launch of COFISA provided a new dimension to defning the
importance and roles of science parks as key components of a functioning
system of innovation. The Finnish experience, built up since the early
1980s, brought focus to the manner in which science parks could actively
contribute and assist in defning local economic development strategies,
stimulating new emphasis and relevance to the discussions. The COFISA
focus on three provincial regions as priorities (Western Cape, Eastern Cape
and Gauteng), extended the understanding of the role of science parks to
a much broader community, where the need was felt for some new linking
institutions to initiate the building of regional systems of innovation.
In this chapter, we will explore how this interest has unfolded and
See www.theinnovationhub.com for more details
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developed, and how the National Department of Science
and Technology (DST) has responded. But before
exploring these developments, it is valuable to summarise
the important aspects of a Science Park using the
IASP defnition.
“A Sci ence Par k i s an or gani sat i on managed by speci al i sed prof essi onal s,
whose mai n ai m i s t o i ncrease t he weal t h of i t s communi t y by promot i ng t he
cul t ure of i nnovat i on and t he compet i t i veness of i t s associ at ed busi nesses
and knowl edge-based i nst i t ut i ons.
To enabl e t hese goal s t o be met , a Sci ence Par k st i mul at es and manages
t he f l ow of knowl edge and t echnol ogy amongst uni ver si t i es, R&D
i nst i t ut i ons, compani es and mar ket s; i t f aci l i t at es t he creat i on and growt h
of i nnovat i on-based compani es t hrough i ncubat i on and spi n-of f processes;
and provi des ot her val ue-added ser vi ces t oget her wi t h hi gh qual i t y space
and f aci l i t i es. ”
I nt er nat i onal Associ at i on of Sci ence Par ks
www. i asp. ws
Globally, the last ten to ffteen years has seen a dramatic
growth in science parks, many in emerging countries
where the goal is to develop competitiveness in the newer
types of business related to the knowledge economy.
Current membership of IASP is 372 over 72 countries, with
over 200 000 companies resident on these parks. Parallels
exist in the USA where the dominant institution is the
Association of University Research Parks (AURP), also with
over 300 members. Africa as a continent still has only two
full members of IASP, one in South Africa (The Innovation
Hub), the other in Tunisia. One legacy of COFISA will be
a number of new science park projects, built on frm
foundations; a National Science Park Development
Plan (DST), and a broadened community with a deeper
understanding of the concept and potential. The journey,
however, is far from complete.
The Finnish Model and its Relevance for South Africa
he frst science park in Finland and also the frst
in the Nordic countries was established in Oulu in
1982. Called the Oulu Technology Village it was frst
located in a building that had been a dairy.
The frst new Technology Village building, however, was
built next to Oulu University. The expansion of the Science
Park movement in Finland took place in the late 1980s and
early 1990s. At that time, these institutions were usually
called Technology Centres, with a strong emphasis on
collaboration with universities, and accommodating the
high-tech companies. New parks were started in other
cities e.g. Turku Science Park in 1988 and Lahti’s Park in
1991. The years during the late 1980s were very positive,
showing fast and strong growth mainly due to the
extremely fast growth in the Finnish economy in general.
The fnancial markets became more open and it was easier
and cheaper to fnd fnance from abroad. Demand for
diferent kinds of new building space was growing fast.
At the same time, Oulu had been successful in boosting
the regional economic growth such that the civil servants
in Helsinki, in the Ministry of Regional Development,
decided to investigate the “Oulu phenomenon” as it was
called at that time. In the investigation they found out that
the Oulu Technology Village had and was continuing to
have a very important role to play in these developments.
They came to the conclusion that by extending this
through a systematic, well- structured programme,
science-based development could be extended in a way
that was appropriate for modern industries, and based
on R&D in universities and closely-related institutions.
One on the main fndings was that private R&D could be
promoted with the arrangement of correctly positioned
public sector interventions - making money available was
important but not the only measure.
Resulting from this evaluation, the frst phase of the
Centre of Expertise (CoE (OSKE)) Programme was prepared
in 1993 and the programme launched in 1994 as a
national competition based on regional proposals. Every
region willing to participate had to agree on a proposal
and the local organisation which would become the lead
applicant. Thus the need to have inter-institutional triple-
helix collaboration and the adoption of a regional view
was stimulated, factors which have become increasingly
important in the later years. These competitions, run again
in 1998, elevated the role of regional science parks and
the technology centres as facilitators and managers of the
OSKE process, establishing them as leading organisations
with key roles in their regions.
The realisation of the importance of these neutral
organisations in regions, able to implement programmes
such as OSKE, resulted in a much higher status for the
parks, without which their role would have been much
more modest. Without this role, most of the science
and technology parks would have been minor real
estate providers with a limited contribution to the wider
development for their regions.
The Finnish experience brought to the fore that, with the
right policies and supportive structures, science parks
could be critical and unique implementation agents for
innovation programmes in regions, a matter which was yet
to emerge in South Africa. It was therefore not surprising
that in the original planning of COFISA, science parks were
identifed as key components to be investigated
and stimulated.
Barriers to Entry
he commencement of COFISA came at a time when
the dominant focus of the DST was in strengthening
the input factors in the R&D agenda, viz. increasing
the size of the national public sector R&D budget;
strengthening the human capital development in the
felds of science and technology; and re-building the
research capacity in science councils among others. While
there was a growing realisation that the gap between the
research outputs and the commercial world (i.e. innovation
as opposed to invention) needed to be addressed, the
mechanisms to achieve this were still under development.
The release in 2007 of the DST’s ten-year Plan entitled
“Innovation towards a Knowledge–based Economy”and the
proposed Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) focused
new attention on the need to fnd solutions to this so-called
innovation chasm, and the acknowledged fragmentation
present in the South African National System of Innovation
(SANSI). Thus the approaches used in Finland, and core to
COFISA to stimulate more triple-helix collaboration and to
use neutral facilitating organisations such as science parks,
were timeous and appropriate.
However, outside of the Gauteng province, the level
of discussion on these matters in provincial and local
government, and local industry, was very fragile. Before
any dialogue could be opened on such ideas, concepts
of regional innovation systems and the relationship with
economic development needed to be introduced. Likewise,
the constructive interaction between the necessary role
players was another aspect requiring priority. The task
facing COFISA was thus larger than anticipated in the
planning phases.
hile the SANSI concept had been accepted
long before the initiation of COFISA, the glaring
diferences between Finland and South Africa were
readily seen. Firstly three fundamental aspects were well
understood and widely communicated at all levels in Finland:
• The importance of developing a strong and globalised
knowledge economy business base to complement
any resource-based traditional industries;
• The fact that innovation in the modern world has
many components. This needs the participation of
diferent actors, including government (at all levels)
to create an empowering and supportive environment
through well-designed policies and implementing
agencies, knowledge generators often linked to R&D
in academic and research institutions, and direct and
participative involvement of business and industry; and
• Collaboration, networking and interaction between
these elements, both regionally (sub-nationally),
nationally and globally.
The Approach
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Finland has over a period of 15 years developed policies
and programmes, infrastructure and institutions which
nurtured, supported and rewarded innovation to become
a way of life. The relative ranking of Finland internationally
as in the top three innovative countries globally indicated
the potential for COFISA to provide a learning platform.
Thus, when devising the COFISA workplan, the
contribution intended at national level was augmented
with action-orientated developmental strategies to be
applied in three selected provinces. In real terms, this
move to take the SANSI concepts to the provinces was
both insightful and new. Soon it became apparent that,
while the provincial entities who regularly interacted
with the DST may have been somewhat familiar with the
principles, the vast majority of stakeholders had only
a vague understanding of any of the concepts being
discussed, and particularly so at the provincial and local
government level, with perhaps some exceptions in
Gauteng. For this reason, the approach taken by COFISA
had to be adjusted in each pilot province.
Science and Technology Park development was part of
the COFISA plans from the beginning. In the original
documents, and even in the frst version of the LogFrame
to be used for monitoring and evaluation, the notion of
the establishment of a science park could be found as one
of the indicators to be followed.
In the evaluation of COFISA tenders by the international
panel in the Ministry of Foreign Afairs in Finland in June
2006, the ‘science park issue’ was raised in the interview. It
was also made clear that the one and only Science Park in
South Africa, The Innovation Hub, would be an important
player in implementing COFISA.
The challenge for COFISA, therefore, was to present
practical approaches to bring the concepts of innovation
systems into the regional strategies. Here, broad
experience from Finland proved useful in the way of
methods and models honed to bring people together and
provide facilitated debate. Firstly, regional baseline studies
established understanding of the status quo, Foresight
methods developed with local groups of decision-makers
looked at scenarios of various futures for their regions,
and the concept of science parks was used to produce
discussion amongst the fragmented role-players in
the regions.
The method used was ‘communicate, communicate,
and communicate’. The neutrality of COFISA allowed
easier formation of representative meetings, where it
was possible to present, with emphasis, the necessity
and benefts of collaboration in the evolving world.
Furthermore, many selected groups were encouraged and
supported to visit Finland to see and feel an innovative
environment at work, and more importantly to create
contact with people directly involved in implementing
the same types of projects. While some may have seen
this as a slow and cautious approach, i.e. COFISA had a
‘slow start’, it proved to be a key success factor. COFISA
has developed, in each of its focus provinces, communities
of practice, where members have often emerged as local
champions. This approach succeeded because it was
humble and lacked arrogance, never pushing views but
looking for local benefts that could be achieved.
he development of STPs in South Africa had not
generally inspired confdence. However, the Finnish
experience of seeing such parks, not as university
extensions but as instruments of regional economic
development, provided a new basis for discussion. The local
example of The Innovation Hub in Gauteng, although still in
its infancy, had also started to dispel negative perceptions
and provided a useful counter to such ‘value debates’.
As the frst real activity in Gauteng, COFISA and The
Innovation Hub designed and arranged a Science Park
Seminar in June 2007. The Seminar was to be a small
informal information sharing session but it raised
wide interest in many provinces in South Africa and
neighbouring countries. This became a real starting point
for a wider STP development movement in
Southern Africa.
Why Science Parks?
Par ti ci pants at the Sci ence Park Semi nar, South Afri ca, June 2007
An important frst step was the commissioning of a pre-
feasibility study in the Eastern and Western Cape
reached the following conclusions:
• The Eastern Cape appeared to be virgin land with
limited links to STP issues, whereas the Western Cape
was shown to have some experience based on its
Stellenbosch and Capricorn STPs.
• The focus in the Western Cape was on the potential
to re-energise the Stellenbosch Technopark to become
a fully-operational science park. In the Eastern Cape
the approach examined the innovation system
elements and their potential to link up to create a
viable innovation–driven economic development
initiative, using a science park as the catalyst.
• While preliminary, the study concluded that the
Stellenbosch area still lacked the champions to
rekindle activity at the right level. Strong elements
were present but there was a missing component
to create an innovation cluster – a neutral role player
to pull people together and create the necessary
synergies and linkages. Thus it was proposed to
investigate the establishment of a Stellenbosch
Innovation and Entrepreneurial Support Centre. Even
so, the concept failed to ignite the necessary desire to
move the region to another level, and as had
happened before, the proposal never moved forward.
One lesson from the Finnish success, and one adopted
by COFISA, has been to fnd the right passion and
leadership - it is usually fruitless to fuel this from the
outside and achieves better results if timed until such
leadership does reveal itself.
The study had the primary efect of stimulating discussion
in all parts of the local triple helix. While some institutions
had debated starting some form of STP, these were nearly
Lamprecht S. (2007). Report on the fndings of the Prefeasibility Study into Establishing Science Park Activity in the Eastern and Western Cape. http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa/document/report_spa_2007.pdf
The Innovation Hub’s Enterprise Centre, at which the COFISA offices were based in Pretoria, South Africa
|o¸e 92 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 93
always in isolation and had not been able to gain the level
of acceptance necessary to proceed.
A key part of the COFISA programme was a Science
Park working visit to Finland in August 2007. Attended
by key people from DST, Stellenbosch Municipality, the
Eastern Cape Provincial Government and Small Enterprise
Development Agency (SEDA), they were exposed to
six diferent cities and their science parks,
as well as
key role players who worked together to contribute to
regional strategies. This provided understanding of the
contributions they made to organisational governance.
Visits to the Ministry responsible for the Centres of
Expertise programme (called OSKE) also provided the link
to the national strategic framework. This ran concurrently
with a high-level visit led by the then Minister of Science
and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena, which further
broadened exposure to similar elements and institutions.
The Finnish science parks did not all ft a standard mould
but had their own focus areas, appropriate to the location,
and some with unique features. The strong message
was that science parks and cities focused on economic
benefts to their communities, with alignment of vision
and objectives. It was also highlighted that innovation is
not only about science and technology, but that social
innovation is also a key element, a factor that is sometimes
overlooked in South Africa.
The study, however, also highlighted that a number of
other innovation-driven, multi-organisational debates
were taking place in the Western Cape around similar
themes to Science Parks. The awareness of the COFISA
study promoted a much wider discussion which led to
new directions, as will become evident later.
The Eastern Cape, with its diferent economic centres,
posed more complex challenges. In each, as in the
Western Cape, one could see potential and needs for
an institution which could bring the elements together,
but that in this region, the developmental history and
government priorities were equally important factors. The
conclusion reached was that on the balance of factors,
COFISA’s emphasis should be on a potential science park
in the East London area, and linked to the East London
Industrial Development ZONE (ELIDZ), which itself was a
centre of economic growth.
An STP i s not a si l ver bul l et on
i t s own, but depends on gener-
at i ng or growi ng a l ocal i nnova-
t i on ecosyst em, whi ch can t ake
many year s. Too of t en, once t he
i ni t i al st udi es are done, t here i s
a t endency t o make posi t i ve as-
sumpt i ons about t he next st eps
– i n real i t y, t he devi l i s def i ni t el y
i n t he det ai l .
These were: 1) Oulu – Technopolis & Oulu Innovation; 2) Snowpolis in Sotkamo; 3) Joensuus – Science Park and University; 4) Kuopio – STP Teknia; 5) Lahti – Lahti Science and Business Park & LUT School of
Innovation; and 6) Helsinki – Helsinki University of Technology.
Segal, N. (2008). Science and Technology Parks and Economic Development : Lessons from European Experience, (Private Communication and IASP XXVth World Conference Proceedings, 2008).
hile the feasibility studies could foresee that the
elements for a new STP were present in a given
region, the real challenge lay in conceptualising
and implementing a project that could address local needs
and objectives, while still retaining global ambitions. Success
would be directly dependent on the right champions as well
as the correct mix of services and infrastructure.
During 2008, the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Afairs
commissioned a study to review and critique the
European experience relating to science parks and
economic development.
The intention was to better
understand those elements that could be important
for developing countries, where the background and
history can play a key role and wide heterogeneity exists.
Extracting from the fndings, some of the observations
were directly relevant to COFISA’s identifed STP
opportunities, as summarised below:
• Whereas in developed countries, the overall
strategy was towards innovation and the generation of
sophisticated technologies as a means of moving
their economies up the value-chain, this may be an
unrealistic expectation in an emerging country.
• The role of SMEs, even if they only start through
marketing and distribution of high-technology
products and services, can move up the value-chain in
Facing the Challenges
time. Incubation support can catalyse this movement,
and also strengthen links between the associated
university and industry.
• It is important to identify those sectors or features of
the economy which are important in terms of
output, exports and employment, and which would
beneft from the application of research and teaching
to sustain their outputs.
• The knowledge base goes well beyond science and
technology to intelligence about markets, industrial
structures, corporate performance, intellectual
property rights, fnancing mechanisms, and regulatory
issues amongst many other factors.
• Where the R&D base is not well developed, the
presence of an ‘impatient’ political and developmental
agenda, and naivety about the complexities of
the innovation process, too readily leads to equating
innovation with invention.
It thus becomes important to use all the available learning
from the developed countries such as Finland, but always
keeping in mind the circumstances in which the STP has to
operate. Thus the report’s insights were valuable as check
points going forward with the various project concepts
Eastern Cape
The recommendations of the pre-feasibility study
provided good insight into the potential of an STP linked
to the ELIDZ, but this was not adequate to scope the
project in more detail. COFISA then commissioned a
limited-scope feasibility study to augment the previous
This study focused broadly on authenticating the
pre-feasibility study fndings, but importantly, created
understanding of the key stakeholder objectives and
potential engagement with an STP in the region. From
this, a number of important constraints were identifed
and set as critical success factors for taking the project
forward. Some of the important ones were:
• The Walter Sisulu University needed to be secured as
an anchor tenant upfront, but not to create an
exclusive relationship preventing involvement of other
academic institutions;
• DST and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI)
needed to be approached to introduce specifc
platforms for innovation support and entrepreneurial
• The STP should create focus and niche opportunities; and
• It should develop clear global positioning.
There was a clear conclusion that at present there
insufcient entrepreneurial activity and momentum
within the immediate region to justify a bottom-up
science park development. The implication of this is that
development of an STP will require long-term provincial
or national support to create self-sufciency and
Thus, while recommitting to the initial conclusions, this
study very objectively laid out key parameters to consider,
and a proposed action plan. One supplementary beneft
was widening the discussion amongst the regional
role players.
As is COFISA’s philosophy, the rest of this story is told by a
local champion through the case study presented later in
this chapter.
Western Cape
As described earlier, the pre-feasibility study did not
conclude positively on the original development
concept in Stellenbosch. However, as is often the case,
the participation in the process revealed other concept
embryos involving new and important role players.
The development of Cape Town, like most parts of South
Africa, had strong infuences from the apartheid era, with
the newer universities (University of the Western Cape
and Cape Peninsula University of Technology) located
in the more industrial areas of the city in Belville. This,
together with the presence of the Medical Research
Council and the Tygerberg Teaching Hospital (involving
the University of Stellenbosch) has created an intellectual
node of considerable substance. Thus the potential of
a science park built on collaboration with the perceived
benefts of local development of a knowledge-based
precinct stimulated the formation of an action group.
This spontaneous multi-role player reaction, with local
championship, was just the initiative for which COFISA was
Kakko, I. (2008). Report on the Limited-scope Feasibility Study into the Establishment of an East London IDZ Science Park (www.cofsa.org.za/pdfs/
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searching and thus became a focus of the programme.
The progress in this regard and the true emergence of the
concepts and plans is presented below as our second
case study.
The chal l enge i s t o ut i l i se
t echnol ogi es devel oped
el sewhere by adapt i ng t hem
t o l ocal needs f or bot h suppl y
and demand. The i nnovat i on
syst em needs t o be or i ent ed
t o t he recept i on, adapt i on and
appl i cat i on vof t echnol ogy.
Developments in Cape Town, however, had other
important dimensions. Whether by virtue of its scenic
beauty or cosmopolitan lifestyle, the city has become a
major national centre for design, fashion, arts and crafts,
and flm and multimedia. This industry has started to
form a natural cluster in the central business district (CBD),
and has received support from both the province and
city through the creation of support institutions such as
the Cape Craft and Design Institute, and the Cape Town
Partnership Creative Cape Town Initiative. The design-
related faculties of CPUT are also located in the area, and
are providing leadership to establish a more participative
and collaborative design precinct.
The City of Cape Town’s Integrated Development Plan
supports this and seeks to position Cape Town as an
innovation centre, with special emphasis on promoting
SMMEs. Studies have been commissioned to examine
the business case for formally creating a cluster with an
appropriate management structure to grow the area as
an economic hub. As many of the concepts relating to
STPs have relevance to these debates, COFISA was able
to provide information and knowledge support to these
processes. A recent visit by a delegation from Cape Town
to Barcelona to study their 22@Barcelona Urban Renewal
programme shows the growing momentum in this venture.
What is evident is that the growing economic sectors
which are knowledge-intensive require much higher levels
of interaction and collaboration. The insights brought
by COFISA and the encouragement of groups to join
forces and think together of the ways forward have had
a catalytic efect on a number of these developments.
The challenge will be their sustainability into the
implementation phases which require leadership and
tenacity to achieve some major goals.
auteng Province is highly urbanised and the core
of the South African economy, generating 35.2% of
the GDP, but having only 1.4% of the land area of
the country. The changes in the delimitation of provincial
boundaries in 1994 changed the make-up and trajectory
of the regional economy from the previous resource-
based and heavy-industry orientation, to take much
more cognisance of the emerging knowledge-led sectors.
Starting with its new strategies coincided with the White
Paper on Science and Technology, and awareness of the
systems of innovation concept being introduced. The
linkage of the goal of enhancing the knowledge–based
contribution of the economy through an initiative based
on a modern science park model as a driver was thus
following a worldwide trend and consistent with national
policy development. Given the make-up of Gauteng
and the intellectual assets in the knowledge axis in the
City of Tshwane, the model for The Innovation Hub (TIH)
was assessed as appropriate for the purpose. Gauteng
was thus an early adopter in this new context, and
even received international recognition when TIH was
nominated as a fnalist in the Intelligent Communities
Forum’s Visionary Project of the Year in 2004.
From the outset, the TIH management were cognisant
of the need to develop the future park’s capabilities to
add value to knowledge-based companies. By starting
in a pilot mode, the development of a virtual approach
to build a community and learn of their needs through
feedback proved most valuable. The so-called Hub2B
became a natural meeting place for an ever increasing
interest group. Based on this group experience a number
of applicants took up residency at the Hub later in 2005 as
they appreciated the benefts of collaboration with their
Gauteng Province
peers. Within a year, there were two anchor residents and
some 70 companies on site, employing some 900 people,
some having graduated from the incubator, and others as
new tenants.
The I nnovati on Hub, Gauteng, South Afri ca
While successfully creating a resident community, there
were oversights in terms of the role of TIH in the regional
sense. In principle, the benefts of the science park in
the City of Tshwane were acknowledged, but had little
strategic impact in the city in terms of its development
planning. Without this, TIH could have become an
enclave that would not reach its full potential. These
issues became clearer with the interactions between
TIH and a Finnish/South African study team in 2005
during the assessment and planning stage for what
became COFISA. These discussions helped defne the
challenges faced in strengthening the SANSI. With the
launch of COFISA in 2006, the team soon established a
strong relationship with TIH as a key role player in their
programme for Gauteng, and later grew further when
the COFISA ofces became a resident. Opportunities
were created for TIH staf to visit Finland and be exposed
to the role that science parks played in their regional
economies, as facilitators of innovation projects. In
particular, the OSKE Programme was of great interest
in its ability to promote triple-helix collaboration and
linkages between R&D and industry, all designed to
lead to local development. Given the acknowledged
challenges in South Africa to break down the silo
behaviour and close the commercialisation chasm,
a programme of this nature appeared to meet the
requirement. COFISA thus launched a pilot project with
TIH as champion in 2007. This became the Activator
initiative discussed in Chapter 5.
The visits to Finland also highlighted the close
relationships between most science parks and their host
cities, with a particularly signifcant case being in the
City of Oulu. This learning was introduced to the City
of Tshwane and so the concept of a Smart City Project
was initiated as a partnership between TIH and the City.
The relationship between Oulu and Tshwane, facilitated
by TIH, grew until a Memorandum of Understanding
was concluded in 2008 on cooperation to establish this
project. The project was launched in 2009, and specifc
initiatives are in progress at the time of writing.
TIH has thus been a signifcant partner of COFISA,
and an agency ready to become involved in science
park-based projects. This important role as a neutral
intermediary cannot be underestimated and although
still early days in the overall development, TIH has shown
the potential of the science park model to impact on a
regional innovation system, provided the critical assets
are present. The road, however, is long to embed such
programmes in the hearts and minds of the
full community.
|o¸e 96 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e 9.
he East London Industrial Development Zone
(Pty) Ltd (ELIDZ) is a government initiative aimed
at stimulating regional economic growth, by
providing a conducive environment for the development
and accommodation of export-oriented manufacturing
industries. The Industrial Development Zones are
strategically located as back of port operations to
facilitate access to foreign markets and thereby
increase the location advantages for attracting foreign
direct investment.
Eastern Cape Province
IDZs as an economic stimulating tool have been used
throughout the world over decades and have yielded
varied results in diferent countries. Many countries are
operating third generation IDZs that have developed
over time as the economic environment changes. When
the South African government started some assumptions
were made that gave rise to several programme
objectives. The programme assumed that there would be
technology difusion into the local economy; that local
SMEs would participate in the benefciation value chain
and that there would be large-scale absorption of labour.
In reality these assumptions were far from the situation
on the ground in that type of industry that is looking to
locate globally was driven by new industry dynamics that
mainly follow skills, new technology and established and
efcient supply chains.
In fulflling these divergent programme objectives the
ELIDZ looked at developing an incubation environment
to realise its objectives, as articulated in its founding
mandate, and in its business plan of 2005. In 2006, it
contracted the services of the Automotive Industry
Development Agency (AIDC) to assist in the
concept development.
In May 2007 the ELIDZ incubator model was presented to
various stakeholders ranging from industry, government
institutions and tertiary institutions, most of whom had
participated in the formative stages of the model. The
business model was formulated around the principle that
new business should be developed around individual
feasible business ideas, with a focus on developing
women entrepreneurs, technology development and
skills development. The lack of entrepreneurial skills was
cited as a major constraint in the success of the model
and a training programme was incorporated. The model
did consider the exploitation of commercially-ready
ideas from institutes of higher learning, but this was not
an integral part of the model. Rather, institutes of higher
learning were viewed as sources of academic training that
would be used only to train incubatees.
At about the same time as the stakeholder launch of the
ELIDZ business incubator model, COFISA was conducting
a pre-feasibility study into STP development in the
Eastern Cape.
COFISA’s pre-feasibility studies in the Eastern Cape
suggested that there were sufcient building blocks
for the development of an STP - in particular, the four
universities and other incubation activities which
were already established plus the ELIDZ incubation
development which was being conceptualised. The study
also recommended the development of the STP around
the East London area because of its proximity to the most
economically depressed area of the province.
The ELIDZ was chosen because of the work already done
in soliciting buy-in from stakeholders that included
tertiary institutions for the incubation programme,
an integral component of the STP platform and for
developing industries and new businesses. Incidental
to the choice of the ELIDZ was the strong brand the
organisation had created by changing a greenfeld
development into an operating industrial hub with 14
investors in just three years.
A further two detailed studies were conducted under
the auspices of COFISA. Of particular interest was the
analysis of the policy environment to ascertain where the
STP development could be accommodated. A number of
policy ‘hooks’ were established from national, provincial
through to local levels, that make reference to the creation
of a number of diferent innovation platforms.
It is encouraging that South African universities have
seen the need to form part of the collaborative platform
for economic development. The Walter Sisulu University
(WSU) was formed as a result of Government’s campaign
of merging institutions as part of post apartheid
rationalisation and inherited multiple campuses, some
of which are over 300kms apart. As part of its campus
consolidation programme, the WSU plans to establish a
school of engineering that houses all engineering related
courses in one new facility. As part of the establishment
of the school of engineering, the university has in its plans
to establish an STP, specifcally to encourage innovation
and to position the university as a major contributor to
regional economic development.
The common goal of developing an STP has brought
both the ELIDZ and WSU together and as a collective
exploring the location of the school of engineering and
the science park in close proximity to the industrial zone.
This presents an exciting model for the ELIDZ in that the
collaboration will provide research and development
opportunities to industries locating in the zone as well
as provide skills from the school of engineering. This
synergistic exploitation through proximity will provide the
ELIDZ with vital retention capability, because companies
can continue to re-invent or improve product to keep up
with the ever-changing business environment. It will also
enhance its value proposition. In turn, the WSU will have
proximity to industry to assist in streamlining programmes
and providing students with industrial exposure, industry
research opportunities and an industry-funded innovation
platform for new business.
The development of the STP is now at an advanced
stage - site location details are being fnalised and a fully
fedged STP business plan will address issues of funding
governance and sustainability. Other universities (Fort
Hare, Rhodes and Nelson Mandela University) will be
partners in the development of the STP and its
key activities.
It is envisioned that by 2012, the ELSTP will be operational,
following the Provincial Government’s commitment to the
development of the STP as articulated in the Department
of Economic Development and Environmental Afairs
policy speech. In the meantime, the ELIDZ is establishing
a pilot science park activity centre in 2010. The structure
that will house this activity is under construction and will
be completed in December 2009, with resources to run
the pilot phase having been secured.
The commitments on the ground signal that the ELSTP has
reached a point of no return. The challenge is to maintain
the momentum, grow and show results. It has been an
exciting journey thus far, having taken almost fve years to
reach this point. It may yet be some time before it reaches
its full development.
onversations about STP activities in the Western
Cape started of at a disadvantage. Two previous
attempts at STPs had been costly failures. The fact
that both of them were edge-of-town ventures far from
easy contact with university researchers or industry and
bore little relation to modern science parks counted little.
The only mitigating circumstances were some defnite
plans by Cape Biotech and the Stellenbosch Technopark;
the establishment of knowledge transfer or innovation
ofces at three of the universities; and new IP legislation
for state-funded research requiring the establishment of
IP ofces.
The University of the Western Cape (UWC) found itself
Western Cape Province - Progress towards a Science Park in Belville, Cape Town
State- of- the- ar t Automoti ve Suppl i er Park at the East London I ndustri al Devel opment Zone
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in the paradoxical position, along with CPUT and
Stellenbosch University (SU), of having campuses centrally
located in close proximity to one another in metropolitan
Cape Town, but cut of from metropolitan amenities and
ready synergies by apartheid planning. The challenges
of knowledge transfer led UWC to begin exploring the
possibility of STP activities in the surrounding area,
and particularly in the area currently occupied by a
Transnet container depot, located there as a balkanising
apartheid measure.
Transforming the apartheid landscape has huge potential
for transforming the surrounding area and building the
economy. The future of the Transnet site was discussed
with the Minister of Education, whose ministry facilitated a
discussion with the Minister of Public Enterprises.
UWC also pursued discussions with Transnet ofcials and
obtained help in preparing a development prospectus
for the site which it shared with a consultant appointed
by Transnet. With the matter on the agenda of national
government departments, though far from settled,
UWC consulted its academic neighbours, including the
University of Cape Town (UCT) which is only 20km away
on major highways. This step coincided with the frst
meetings of the national STP Forum, convened by the DST.
The academic partner institutions in the Western Cape
were all participants.
The OECD report on Innovation in South Africa was
released at about the same time as the STP Forum
meetings began. Two of the STP ventures mentioned
by it as particularly successful are at Aarhus in Denmark
and Turku in Finland. The universities in both locations
are members of the Southern African - Nordic Centre
(SANORD) which has its central ofce at UWC.
On a visit to these campuses two UWC executives were
given signifcant insights into what made for the success
of the STPs – all factors which confrmed the suitability of
the Transnet site. At Turku, they met Dr Tapani Saarinen,
Vice-President of the STP, who told them he was soon to
come to South Africa for work with COFISA.
A meeting with Dr Saarinen and the Chief Technical
Advisor of COFISA, Mr Lauri Kuukasjärvi, was arranged
in Cape Town under the auspices of the Cape Higher
Education Consortium (CHEC) which represents all the
universities in the province. The appropriate Deputy
Vice Chancellors of the Western Cape’s universities
were invited. This discussion led to a number of further
interactions with COFISA as the possibilities of STP
development were discussed. Some of the meetings were
planned by COFISA, bringing together a larger group of
players in the Western Cape, and others were at CHEC’s
Earlier, CHEC had begun pursuing a much more active set
of relationships between the universities and provincial
and city government, which had previously treated higher
education as beyond their competence. Summits with the
provincial cabinet and with the city council led to formal
memoranda of understanding and the establishment of
task groups around certain areas of possible cooperation.
Spatial planning and urban transformation is one of these.
Issues related to the STP for Bellville were placed on the
agenda. This allowed more detailed discussion with urban
and economic planners. There is a great deal of goodwill
and principled cooperation. This has been very helpful and
may lead to important alignments. However, there remain
many issues to be resolved relating to the area envisaged.
Its signifcance has not been seen in the medium term
planning frameworks.
Over the same period, the universities (independently
and through CHEC) have been pursuing more active
relationships with business. The business leadership
organisations have a clear understanding of the
importance of innovation in economic development in
the era of the global knowledge economy. Accelerate
Cape Town has been an active partner in making new
connections between business and the universities and
has consistently invited the universities to its events. Its
Cape Town 2030 planning exercise has given a signifcant
place to innovation.
The Cape Town Partnership has achieved signifcant
success in the old CBD and is behind eforts to establish
a design centre in partnership with CPUT. It is also
extending its scope to the areas beyond the old CBD
and is interested in our planning. The National Business
Initiative has consistently invited the universities to its
events, facilitating easy discussion with business leaders. It
also took the important step of inviting Carol Coletta, the
dynamic President of CEOs for Cities and host of the Smart
Cities radio programme in the USA, to address a meeting.
Coletta’s powerful message was completely in accord with
the planning already undertaken.
Three other signifcant factors have to be mentioned.
Through TIH in Pretoria, the International Association of
Science Parks (IASP) held its international conference in South
Africa in 2008. This meant that many of the world’s major
players presented papers, providing excellent examples
of best practice, often, as in the case of Brazil and India, in
economic circumstances akin to our own. On a smaller scale,
SANORD held an international seminar on Science Parks in
Cape Town in December 2008, bringing together many of the
players mentioned here, along with some top international
fgures. Finally, the OECD’s report on regional development
in the Western Cape was released in 2009, again bringing the
key players in the Western Cape into a common discussion.
The triple-helix players have come to a point where they
have signifcant common understandings and are probably
equipped to escape the traps of the past and engage with
the possibilities of a more visionary but practical future.
At this stage then, COFISA’s sponsoring a study of the
innovation players and networks in the Western Cape is
timely. The results will provide important baseline data for
further planning. Simultaneously, the DST award of a grant
for a feasibility study of a Bellville STP in terms of the national
STP Strategy will take the matter another step forward. The
award was made to UWC, but the study will be managed as a
joint enterprise through CHEC.
There is still a long path ahead, but the opportunities
for a major knowledge transfer environment with three
universities within walking distance can be neglected only
to the lasting embarrassment of all political, business and
academic authorities concerned. South Africa and our
region need the economic stimulus which this venture is
likely to supply progressively. Even more, the attraction and
retention of high level talent on a scale to support Cape
Town’s aspirations and the transformation of an inner city
environment to create a distinctively post-apartheid space
with transformative implications for the surrounding areas
must be powerful incentives. The choices should not be
difcult to make.
North West Province
he Southern District Municipality of the North West
Province embarked on an economic development
initiative, called the Joint Development Forum
(JDF), in 2003 and identifed ffteen infrastructure projects.
One of the initiatives was a so-called industrial park. At
that time, none of the members of the JDF was aware of
STPS or the formal innovation system concept. It became
apparent, however, that the principles of the triple helix
were entrenched in the planning of the projects. The local
university, North-West University (NWU), was involved
in the planning from the outset, but purely from a socio-
economic research point of view.
In 2004 the industrial park project was changed into one
of a science park with adjacent entrepreneur parks, and
in 2005 developed a feasibility study on the new concept.
The pre-feasibility study was submitted at the end of June
2006. Since the author had been involved in the planning
and establishment of the incubator in TIH in Pretoria, and
continued to be a mentor in the incubator, much of the
learning, as well as the experience gained from earlier
working in and visiting of a number of other science
parks/entrepreneur parks in Europe, Asia and Israel, was
incorporated in the North-West Science Park (NWSP) study.
With the new district municipal government, the JDF
process came to a halt in 2006 and closer ties with the
DST were sought. The turning point came in June 2007
during the COFISA Science Park Seminar held at TIH. DST
responded by noting the plight of the North West Province
and funded the NWU to prepare a fully detailed business
plan for the NWSP. This was submitted in October 2008.
Since then, DST has also funded the initiation of some of the
development programmes in the proposed science park.
Through COFISA four representatives of the NWSP project,
including the architect, visited a number of science
parks and universities in Finland in February 2008. This
contributed much towards the conceptualisation of the
programmes planned for the NWSP. COFISA advisors
attended a presentation to the local city council’s executive
major and assisted in the selling of the concept.
• The NWSP drew the attention of DST due to its unique
model. It is located in the second poorest province in
South Africa, in a region with very few resources, except
for the “Most Innovative Higher Educational Institute in
South Africa”(2008 Innovation Fund award). The NWSP is
coined as “a university-associated science park in a rural
context”. The model emphasises the integrative role of
the NWSP in the technology supply chain serving the
Provincial Growth and Development Strategy. Prof. Tor
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feasibility study was commissioned by the Limpopo
Provincial Government through Trade and
Investment Limpopo. The work was conducted by
a Finnish consulting frm, Professia Ltd, that specialises in
regional business development and innovation strategy
The objective of this project was to discover the most
feasible concept for an STP in the Limpopo Province by
assessing whether it would be feasible to weave traditional
science park concepts and ICT development initiatives into
the economic and social fabric of the Limpopo Province. A
parallel study had been conducted to look at the feasibility
of starting an ICT institute. While independent in form,
these two studies are intertwined in content.
The study was conducted by engaging a large contingent
of public sector stakeholders in two workshops; the two
local Universities, University of Limpopo and the University
of Venda, industry, as well as individual/expert discussions
to explore the potential for, commitment to and interest
in an STP concept. It was concluded from the interviews
that there was interest in a technology centre or techno-
hub type of concept. However, it was also concluded that
the traditional concept of an STP would not, on the one
hand, fulfl the potential of the province, and on the other
hand, would not have a large enough research base from
which to operate. Thus, the concept was expanded and
subsequently renamed the Limpopo Living Lab to better
illustrate the inclusion of not only academia and industry
but also the civil society.
The Limpopo Living Lab promises to be an entity which has
strong business development potential (technology and
innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship), and covers
cooperation between business, universities, government
and the civil society.
The direction for the Limpopo provincial development has
been outlined in the Provincial Growth and Development
Strategy document with the ultimate goal of improving the
quality of life of the people in the province. The concept
of a STP (now termed the Limpopo Living Lab) addresses
these aspects of the provincial development through the
enhancement of economic development.
The purpose of the Limpopo Living Lab is to:
• Retain the educated workforce in Limpopo;
• Attract and retain investments;
• Develop key clusters through knowledge creation,
transfer and exploitation;
• Foster entrepreneurship;
• Create jobs; and
• Enhance collaboration among businesses, universities,
government and the civil society for the development
of the province.
For the all-encompassing approach already adopted in
the provincial government departments, the proposed
broader concept of the Limpopo Living Lab is thus based
on a more holistic business development approach. It will
be established on the four cornerstones described above
and listed:
• Community Projects;
• Training and Education (as part of the ICT Institute);
• Business Incubator; and
• Innovative Solutions.
In the incubator, business ideas are transformed into
new companies. The inputs for it originate from various
sources, the main sources being business spin-ofs,
universities and innovative solutions activity. Training and
education together with community projects also generate
business ideas, a majority of which can be handled by
existing organisations (such as the Limpopo Business
Support Agency (LIBSA). Financial and funding institutions
such as venture capital companies, banks and LimDev
are important partners for the incubator. As a result,
companies which have potential for growth are generated.
The incubating companies, together with existing
companies, generate needs for training and education,
especially in the felds of business management, ICT skills
and project management. Much of the actual training and
education is carried out by existing training and education
institutions with the Living Lab acting mainly as an initiator,
catalyst and coordinator. Due to output of this activity,
local companies and the business environment in general
beneft in the form of a more adequate and skilled labour
Training and education needs often generate community
projects. Community projects in the concept are looked
upon from the business development perspective. An
important aspect is that they can serve as a test bed
for companies testing their products for markets in
developing countries. Community projects result in more
jobs, especially in existing or new local SMMEs.
Innovative solutions need the expertise from companies
and universities as input for joint, mutually benefcial
undertakings between companies and universities. Also,
high innovation – low technology applications needed
by local businesses in order to transform themselves for
the purpose of reaching the next level are included in
the concept as well as innovative ideas stemming from
community-level initiatives. As a result, applications
and solutions for the beneft of the local economy and
companies are generated as well as seeds for new SMMEs.
Developments in Other Provinces
IH, as well as its predecessors in Gauteng and
Western Cape, were all initiatives of provincial or
local government, or universities. Since 2003, further
initiatives have followed the same route in a number of
provinces, viz. Northwest, Limpopo, Free State and Western
Cape. Despite these bottom-up projects and concepts
all having a common goal of enhancing the system of
innovation, there was at that stage no acknowledgement
of such institutions in national policy, nor were there
structured support systems.
The 2007 Science Park Seminar which highlighted the
SANSI, and started as a local event, proved to be a major
milestone with representatives from Botswana, Ghana,
Namibia, Senegal, Nigeria and Swaziland describing their
own projects. It became very clear that despite Africa
being a late starter, the development of science parks as
an instrument of emerging systems of innovation was
widespread and growing.
This seminar appeared to stimulate increased discussion
at all levels, including national, and The Manufacturing,
Technology Transfer and Local Innovation Group of DST
became active, frstly in a process to stimulate regional
innovation in the provinces. Later in 2008, they initiated
The Science Park Forum with the intention of developing a
National Science Park Strategy. From these deliberations,
in February 2009, a Science Park Development Plan,
as it had now been titled after discussion with the DST
Executive, was tabled and represents the frst promising
step in augmenting the bottom-up initiatives with a
national support structure. Much work remains to fully
integrate these elements, but COFISA’s role during the
process proved most valuable.
In parallel, DST has continued with a series of Regional
Innovation Systems seminars, where representation comes
mostly from regional government. COFISA has been a
signifcant contributor to such meetings and has provided
many insights into this critical topic.
Limpopo Province - Limpopo Living Lab (Limpopo Technology &
Innovation Initiative)
Halverson noted during the SANORD conference held in
Cape Town in December 2008 that this model is nearly
the only one that will work in Africa.
The status of the NWSP at the end of September 2009 is
as follows:
• NWU, the present home for the project, is an associated
member of IASP;
• The Environmental Impact study has been approved by
the province;
• The rezoning for the science park activities has
been completed;
• The plan has been presented to the Premier’s executive
committee’s technical committee;
• The occupation rate is already at 76% of the rentable
units in the park; and
• Six of the ten NWSP development programmes have
been initiated.
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he COFISA Programme came at a critical time and
has provided objective inputs and oversight over
the process of encouraging the linkages to create
Regional innovation Systems. The enthusiasm about
science parks could have become a risk, but much learning
has been stimulated in the resultant engagements, both
through contacts locally and in Finland. The focus on
Systems of Innovation, from the policy through to specifc
interventions, provides a framework which was missing
in the debates. Science Parks are now considered in
perspective and their role and potential better defned.
Much emphasis has been placed on the linkage of regional
development with the activities related to an STP, which
will enhance the approach around future projects. This
learning is now being shared with neighbouring countries
in the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
It is good to highlight what an STP is not:
• It is not an exclusive ‘real estate’ development,
if it is to contribute value to a Regional Innovation
• It is not a ‘silver bullet’ which is all one needs to
progress in a knowledge economy; and
• There is no one model for a Science Park as the
objectives and local ecosystems and needs
determine the scale and the required activities.
What then should an STP strive to achieve:
• Science Parks can play important roles as
neutral intermediaries in building an RIS. STPs are
about relationships and collaboration, and it
must understand the needs and aspirations and
potential of local industry;
• An STP can provide a focal point or ‘hub’ to connect
fragmented components of an innovation system,
and provide added-value functions to this community;
• The linkage of an STP to knowledge-generating
institutions such as universities, research institutions
and progressive businesses is an important ingredient,
and needs to be stimulated for the STP to grow;
• In developing areas, there is no need for an STP to
aspire to be a centre of world-class high-tech
innovation, when the ecosystem is not ready and really
requires a focus on technology acquisition, adaption
and deployment. Keep the dream but deliver what is
needed at that time;
• An STP is a long-term project. Careful assessment of
the needs and objectives must be made to ensure the
appropriate model is chosen;
• STPs are ideal locations for technology-based
SMEs who beneft from being in a stimulating
community of like-minded people. The encouragement
of entrepreneurship and the use of incubation are thus
fundamental components of any modern STP; and
• The Board and Management of any STP set the tone
and are absolutely critical in meeting the objective
of growing an active RIS. In the establishment phase,
signifcant efort should be placed in the selection
process, with advice from experienced people locally
and abroad.
Moving Forward – The Next Steps
OFISA has opened our eyes to the potential
of a vibrant system of innovation. It has often
been said that South Africa does not lack
inventiveness, but it is poor at taking good ideas to
market, or implementing them for social good. We have
become a nation of competitors, and emerged from the
previous isolated era, to a world which moves fast, and
has learned the power of collaboration and continuous
interconnection. For a system of innovation to develop
and impact, be it national or regional, there is a need for
new policies and institutional arrangements. Modern
science parks, internationally and increasingly so in
developing countries, are becoming essential parts of
the innovation ecosystem because of their ability to
work across boundaries, stimulate collaboration and
support the growing innovative and emerging businesses.
Furthermore, the role of universities and research
institutions is also changing, with increased emphasis on
the commercialisation of research and technology transfer.
Thus the synergy with science parks is both natural and
mutually benefcial, provided the roles and responsibilities
are well understood.
Many seeds have been planted over the past 36 months.
For the innovation system to grow, these projects and
interventions will need to be nurtured. New structures
such as the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA) of DST
have an important role to play in ensuring that the lessons
learned and initiatives are supported and nurtured as part
of a coherent system of innovation, active at regional level.
Critical elements should be maintained:
• Regional Innovation Forums should be strengthened
and need to ensure that they have multi-helix participation
• The current projects in the planning phase in the
Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northwest Province
and Limpopo should be nurtured as core to the
regional innovation system development, and not left
in isolation once COFISA ceases;
• The Science Park Forum of DST needs to be revived and
should evolve into a Science Park Association with
defned roles, as with the Finnish Science Park
Association (TEKEL) in Finland. One major requirement
will be for science park management training to
ensure the capacity exists to drive the new projects at
an internationally acceptable level;
• Support and funding should be provided by National
Government for the added-value activities on science
parks, to avoid these being cut through internal
budget limitations and evolution of these parks
into regular business parks;
• Attention should again be given to the earlier projects,
such as the Stellenbosch Technopark and Capricorn, to
re-engage their managements as part of this new wave
of science park developments.
• Science Parks should be integral in the quest for
commercialisation of research. Much is said about the
gap created because the research is far from ready,
and needs to progress further. New institutional
frameworks and environments may be necessary to
grow this capability, as has started to emerge in
the USA as proof-of-concept centres, or in Israel
with Accelerators.
• We all still have much to learn about collaboration
and pooling our strengths in the challenge of being
an innovative and competitive nation. If science parks
can contribute to improve this performance, then
they will have made a major contribution to society.
One major aspect of the learning is that “more of
the same will not be enough” if South Africa is to
become a signifcant player in the future knowledge-
based economies of the world.
• The African Region of the International Association of
Science Parks (IASP), launched in 2007 at the IASP
World Conference in Johannesburg, has been dormant.
Special eforts need to be made to ensure that this can
become an important role player on the continent.
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Thi s Chapt er descr i bes
COFI SA’s moni t or i ng
and eval uat i ng f unct i on,
whi ch consi st ed of t hree
component s: 1) an act i vi t y-
and out put -or i ent ed Logi cal
Fr amewor k ( LogFr ame)
f ocusi ng on quant i t at i ve
i ndi cat or s; 2) ongoi ng
i nt er vi ews wi t h st akehol der s,
f or qual i t at i ve and more
out come-or i ent ed i nput s;
and 3) a syst emat i c
assessment of i nnovat i on
syst em i ndi cat or s, based
on readi l y-avai l abl e dat a,
t o at t empt t o measure t he
i mpact of t he progr amme.
Thi s t hree-f ol d f unct i on was
st eeped i n a l ear ni ng-based
approach. Maxi mum l ear ni ng
f or t he progr amme and i t s
st akehol der s was t he goal .
Peter Greenwood
Non-Zero-Sum Devel opment
n recent years the importance of monitoring and evaluating for
development projects has been increasingly recognised. Monitoring
and evaluation (M&E) allow one to gauge not only whether a project is
executed in line with the stated objectives and results, but also to assess
its wider impact. M&E during the execution of a project has the potential
to assist in improving performance and achieving better results. Thus
the immediate purpose of M&E is the measurement and assessment of
performance of a project in order to manage its outputs and outcomes
more efectively.
Moni t or i ng may be def i ned as a cont i nui ng
f unct i on t hat ai ms pr i mar i l y t o provi de t hose
responsi bl e f or t he management of an ongoi ng
i nt er vent i on, and i t s mai n st akehol der s, wi t h
ear l y i ndi cat i ons of progress, or l ack t hereof , i n
t he achi evement of resul t s.
Eval uat i on may be t hought of as a sel ect i ve
exerci se t hat at t empt s t o syst emat i cal l y and
obj ect i vel y assess progress t owards, and
t he achi evement of , predef i ned out comes.
Eval uat i on shoul d not be a one-t i me event , but
an exerci se i nvol vi ng assessment s of di f f er i ng
scope and dept h, car r i ed out at sever al
poi nt s i n t i me i n response t o evol vi ng needs
f or eval uat i ve knowl edge dur i ng t he ef f or t t o
achi eve an out come. I deal l y, eval uat i ons shoul d
be l i nked t o out comes as opposed t o onl y
i mpl ement at i on or i mmedi at e out put s.
The practice of building into development projects, from their inception,
the ability to efectively monitor and evaluate the performance of a project
is becoming more commonplace. If this is not done, then the task of
evaluation at the termination of the project can be exceedingly difcult.
The necessary data for assessment may not be readily available, and
collating such data at the end of the project may be impossible because
the data do not exist, or such an exercise may be possible but only at
great cost.
History of Beginnings: A Learning Paradigm
rom the outset those responsible for setting up COFISA recognised
the important role that an M&E function had to play in contributing
towards the programme’s success. This was refected in COFISA’s
original Programme Document which called for a monitoring system
that would “facilitate a continuous self-evaluation as part of programme
planning and decision-making”. It also set out an extensive Logical
Framework (LogFrame) including specifc objectives, results, indicators,
sources and assumptions. However, at the time, no further details were
specifed concerning the envisaged monitoring system. There were several
factors which had to be taken into account in shaping this function and the
eventual M&E framework that was implemented:
• At the beginning of COFISA’s implementation there was a great deal of
uncertainty concerning the specifc form (and related activities) that
the programme as a whole would take. The M&E framework therefore
had to be shaped by the contents of the provisional workplan for the
frst year (which needed substantial revision), and the LogFrame
contained in the original Programme Document. Thus, from an
M&E perspective, there were two fundamental questions that had no
straightforward answers:
o Specifcally what was to be monitored?
o Who would undertake the monitoring?
What was apparent, however, was that signifcant fexibility was required,
allowing for adaptation as the programme became more clearly defned.
• Four full-time staf, all new appointments, were assigned to the
programme (two Finnish experts and two South Africans, the latter
including the national programme coordinator and a programme
ofcer). None of these had the beneft of having being part of the initial
process of conceptualisation and planning.
• There was initially a major vacuum in tacit knowledge of the
programme as two key actors, one Finn and one South African,
independently took up new assignments in Europe just as COFISA was
getting of the ground. Both had been instrumental in making COFISA
a reality, and had been primarily responsible for developing the
conceptual framework for the programme.
A major factor that shaped the M&E framework was the strong belief that
learning should be a central dimension, if not the primary focus of the
M&E framework. As a starting point, the need was fully recognised for
funding partners to assess the benefts accrued by their investment in the
programme. However, what was seen to be of much greater value was a
strong emphasis on enabling learning for the stakeholders of COFISA, both
in the short term and in the longer term. This view was aligned with the
sentiments, even if tersely expressed, in the Programme Document. There
were several reasons for an emphasis on learning:
• There was a large degree of experimentation associated with the
concept behind COFISA, it being a holistic and systemically-focused
intervention to enhance a country’s system of innovation at several
levels, in concert with several other related interventions. In this respect,
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COFISA was breaking new ground, not only in South
Africa but also worldwide. The exercise of
implementing COFISA was very far removed from
that of implementing a development project using
relatively known technologies and methods (even if the
outcomes were uncertain). In the case of COFISA
there were signifcant uncertainties as to the specifcs
of what course or approaches should be followed,
which tools would prove efective, and not least,
how a small team with limited human resources should
best engage with the ambitious objectives as
articulated in the Programme Document. The
possibility of failure (as perceived by the funding
partners) was real; but a learning paradigm holds out
the option of reframing failure as a stage on the path to
successful outcomes.
• The primary purpose of COFISA was to enhance
the system of innovation at diferent levels. Since an
innovation system is made up essentially of people
along with their actions and interactions, both as
individuals and institutionally, enhancing this system
will of necessity involve individual and institutional
learning. COFISA as an (institutional) actor that was
as much part of the system as any other, was itself not
exempt from the need to learn. If anything, the
imperative on it to learn was more pressing given that
it would need to make adjustments to strategies and
tactics as the system of innovation evolved and
changed, from its initial state to (hopefully) states of
increasing enhancement. Thus learning had to be built
into the DNA of COFISA.
• COFISA had a wide and diverse range of stakeholders
at national, provincial and local levels - from the private
and public sectors, SMMEs and large enterprises,
research and academia, and NGOs. Many of these
stakeholders were key players in the innovation system
and as such, their cooperation and collaboration
was a sine qua non for COFISA to achieve its objectives.
This would become unlikely if COFISA was seen to forge
ahead on its own predetermined path, while oblivious
to opportunities for learning and course correction as
articulated by its stakeholders.
• Finally, there is considerable overlap between building
an innovation system and building a knowledge
society or economy. Fundamental to a successful
knowledge society is ongoing learning.
In line with this emphasis on the importance of learning
for the programme, the ‘learning’ dimension was made
explicit in the programme’s M&E function, resulting in the
function being known as the Monitoring, Evaluation and
Learning function, or ME&L.
The ME&L Framework for COFISA
he ME&L framework evolved over a period of about
six months, as the nature of the programme and its
activities solidifed, and a better understanding was
gained of what was necessary and what was practical in
terms of monitoring the programme and undertaking
evaluation. The framework is set out in Figure 8.1 below.
Fi gure 8. 1. The Moni tori ng, Eval uati on and Learni ng Framework for COFI SA
Three components were envisaged, which together would
contribute to a rich assessment of the performance of the
programme and also allow for adjustments to be made.
These components were:
• Qualitative: ongoing interviews with stakeholders,
which would ofer wide-ranging feedback;
• Quantitative: assessment of LogFrame indicators,
which would ofer feedback that was largely output-
oriented, and, to a degree, outcome-oriented.
• Quantitative and analytical: assessment of relevant
innovation system indicators, based on readily available
data, which could provide feedback that was outcome-
and impact-oriented.
These three components are now discussed in more detail.
The Logical Framework (LogFrame) Approach
he Logical Framework (LogFrame) Approach (LFA)
is a project design tool which uses an objective-
oriented approach to planning, although it also
provides the basis for M&E projects. It has been widely
used by the development community, particularly by
major donors, for assessing the performance of projects.
The LogFrame itself is based on a 16-block matrix:
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In the far-left column the logic of the intervention is set
out in increasing granularity as one moves down the
• Overall objective: the overall objective refers to the
high-level objective to which the project as a whole
contributes. Other projects and interventions may also
contribute to the overall objective.
• Project purpose: this is the objective that should be
reached by the intervention itself.
• Specifc objectives and results: the results are outputs
that together will lead to the achievement of the
project purpose. Results can be structured under
specifc objectives for convenience, in which case the
set of specifc objectives, supported by their results, will
lead to the project purpose being realised.
• Activities: these have to be undertaken for the results
to be delivered.
The methodology is based on the assumption that the
combined low-level activities will contribute towards
achieving the desired specifc objectives or results, which
in turn contribute towards realising the purpose of the
project. By achieving the purpose a contribution is made
to the overall objective, which provides the context for the
In the second column of the matrix the objectively-
verifable indicators are set out. Indicators are intended
to be quantitative measures which determine whether
the corresponding result, purpose or objective has been
achieved. Generally indicators will focus on what has
changed and by how much.
The third column lists the sources of verifcation used
to assess the value of the indicators at any point in
time, while the fourth column describes the project
assumptions, i.e. factors external to the project, and
therefore beyond the control of the project organisation
or team, yet which are important for the successful
realisation of the objective, purpose and results.
The Programme Document for COFISA included a
LogFrame matrix that set out the overall objective and
project purpose along with four specifc objectives
(corresponding to the four components of the
programme) and their supporting results. Associated
indicators and sources of verifcation were also identifed,
and in some cases assumptions were articulated. The
LogFrame was required by the Programme Document to
be used as an assessment tool for COFISA.
In the context of the ME&L framework, the LogFrame was
positioned as a monitoring and evaluation instrument
that would focus largely, but not exclusively, on more
immediate activity-level outputs rather than higher-level
outcomes. The advantage of this approach was that it
provided a basic way of tracking the outputs of specifc
activities that were considered important in themselves,
and for their contribution to the objectives of COFISA.
Specifc, quantitative indicators were formulated that
measured the outputs of the activities. An extract of the
LogFrame table is presented in Figure 8.2.
Steering Committee
Project purpose
Overall objective Sources of verifcation Assumptions Objectively-verifable indicators
Specifc objective 2
Provinicial mechanisms
and structures for
supporting innovation
strategies, coordination
and collaboration
established in Gauteng,
the Western Cape and
the Eastern Cape
• DST and provincial governments
that innovation policy and
strategic planning frameworks
and support ar in place in the
• Pilot provinces remain committed
to the development of the SANSI
Component 2: Supporting Innovation in Gauteng, Western Cape and Eastern Cape
Indicators Intervention Logic Sources of verifcation Assumptions
• Strong leadership and clear vision
at provinicial level
• Programme reports
• DST annual reports
• Provincial / local annual reports
Programme monitoring and
evaluation mechanisms
21.a Foresight forums or working
groups established in the provinces
2.1b Reports available of the results
of the Foresight baseline studies and
Foresight exercises
21.c Number of people trained with
Foresight capabilities
Result 2.1
Foresight capabilities
developed and applied in
the pilot provinces
Expected results Indicators Sources of verifcation Assumptions
Tabl e 8. 1. LogFrame Extract for COFI SA
There is some danger associated with following a set
of output-oriented indicators, where there may be
a temptation to view a set of completed indicators
as signifying a successful outcome. This may have
greater validity in the context of a programme that is
intended to produce tangible outcomes. In the case
of COFISA, however, there is an inherent complexity, if
not impossibility, in defning its outcomes in ways that
are measurable, and for access to the requisite data to
be practicable. This prompted the need for devising
additional ways of monitoring and assessing the
performance of the programme.
Qualitative Monitoring and Evaluation
he second component of the COFISA ME&L
framework comprised a set of interviews with
stakeholders of the programme. The aim was to gain
stakeholder inputs on a wide range of issues related to
the defnition of the programme and its implementation.
Interviews were conducted every two or three months
with a diferent set of stakeholders each time. Usually,
but not always, the stakeholders involved in a round of
interviews were selected on the basis of some common
characteristic, e.g. interviews with those who were
members of the programme’s governance structures, or
with those who had participated in a particular initiative.
The interviews were conducted using a standard
framework of topics and issues. However, this was
modifed slightly at times in order to address issues that
were of particular interest at diferent stages during
the programme. The interview framework was merely
a starting point and interviewees were free to make
any inputs that were felt to be important or relevant.
By the same token, if an interviewee had no particular
knowledge concerning an issue raised, the interview
simply proceeded to the next issue. Where practical,
interviews were undertaken face-to-face. Where this
was not easily arranged, telephonic interviews were
The inputs from all stakeholders in a particular set of
interviews were collated, synthesised, and presented in a
written report. All inputs were presented anonymously to
encourage the sharing of candid perspectives. This was
explained to interviewees prior to the interview.
Sources of verifcation Assumptions Objectively-verifable indicators
Sources of verifcation Assumptions Objectively-verifable indicators
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A Sampl e I ntervi ew
1. Obj ecti ves
Comment on COFI SA’s
obj ect i ves, e. g. t hei r cl ar i t y,
r at i onal e and f easi bi l i t y
2. Li nkages and al i gnment
Comment on COFI SA’s
al i gnment wi t h rel evant
pol i ci es and st r at egi es, and
on i t s l i nkages wi t h rel evant
i ni t i at i ves.
3. Gover nance
Comment on COFI SA’s
gover nance st r uct ures, and
par t i ci pat i on by st akehol der s.
4. I mpl ementati on
Comment on var i ous aspect s
of COFI SA’s i mpl ement at i on:
• Wor kpl an ( e. g. act i vi t i es,
t i mef r ame)
• Fundi ng and resources ( e. g.
human resources)
• Admi ni st r at i ve processes
( e. g. procurement , cont r act ual )
• Ef f ect i veness
• Ef f i ci ency
5. Achi evements
Comment on out put s and
out comes al ready achi eved
( i f any) .
What di f f erence has COFI SA
made? Has i t i nduced act i vi t i es
by st akehol der s t hat woul d not
have been car r i ed out wi t hout
t he Progr amme?
6. Other
I s t here an area or quest i on
t hat you woul d have l i ked, or
expect ed, t o see dur i ng t hi s
exerci se?
There were several facets to the purpose of the interviews:
• It was recognised that stakeholder inputs would be
essentially qualitative and subjective as they usually
had a vital interest in the success of the programme as
a whole, or of one or other aspect of it. (The exception
proved this rule: in one or two interviews it became
clear that the programme was perceived more as a
threat or hindrance than anything else). Thus the
feedback from the interviews was largely based on
perceptions. Nevertheless, because of the importance
of stakeholders to the success of COFISA, such
perceptions constituted an important input to the
programme’s management team.
• During the interviews there was an attempt to glean
not only superfcial perceptions of stakeholders,
but also to uncover any insights that could be given
into underlying dynamics, inhibitors and hurdles, and
potentials. Where possible, actionable inputs
were sought.
In as much as the interviews were wide-ranging, the
information gathered was pertinent to both outputs and
outcomes, and even impact, of the programme.
Quantitatively Measuring Outcome and Impact
n order to complement the activity-oriented,
quantitative monitoring provided by the LogFrame
indicators, and the perception-based, qualitative
monitoring provided by stakeholder interviews, a third
component was added. This was based on quantitative
measurements that would be focused more on outcomes
and even impact, rather than outputs. Since COFISA was
designed to strengthen the innovation system, it was
important to assess to what degree its impact could be
measured. In principle, it may be possible to measure the
impact by analysing data that characterises the innovation
system and its performance. In practice, there were two
issues stood in the way of such an assessment:
• Would the impact of COFISA (if there was one) be of
sufcient magnitude to be detected?
• If an impact were to be detected, on what basis could
it be attributed directly to interventions associated
with COFISA?
Despite some doubts as to feasibility, it was decided
to proceed with this approach and to take it as far as
readily-available data would allow. It was deemed to be
of sufcient value merely to establish the non-viability
of the method if that proved to be the outcome. In the
event, insufcient data was available, particularly at the
provincial levels, to measure any impact on the innovation
systems due to COFISA. However, in the process of
establishing this, a signifcantly valuable contribution was
made to understanding what indicators could be used
in practice to assess the performance of the innovation
systems at a national and provincial level, and what gaps
existed in the available data. This study is set out in detail
in Chapter 9.
hile having to grapple with the complexities and
sometimes nebulous nature of COFISA’s context,
operations and outcomes, the programme’s
monitoring and evaluation eforts were focused on
enhancing the learning from inputs gleaned, for the
programme itself, and for its stakeholders. Some of the
results of these eforts are presented in the following
two chapters.
Foresight working visit to Finland - Thembinkosi Semwayo, Mphathi Nyewe, Mlungisi Cele and David Lefutso (left to right)
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There are a var i et y of
i nst r ument s and processes
t o assess i nt er vent i ons i n
i nnovat i on syst ems. Thi s
chapt er revi ews sever al
of t hese i mpor t ant t ool s
and t hen i l l ust r at es t hei r
appl i cat i on t o enhance
l ear ni ng wi t hi n t he COFI SA
i ni t i at i ve. The cent r al rol e
of syst emi c assessment s
i n any i nnovat i on syst em
i nt er vent i on i s t hereby
demonst r at ed. Throughout
t hi s revi ew t he f l exi bi l i t y of
t hese t ool s i n enhanci ng
under st andi ng and addi ng
val ue i s hi ghl i ght ed.
Thomas E. Pogue & Rasi gan Maharaj h
Tshwane Uni versi ty of Technol ogy
South Af ri ca
ny initiative to change an innovation system has some explicit or
implicit results in mind. These results will vary considerably. They
may be enhancing output in a community’s agricultural sector
or increasing a nation’s engineering graduates. This chapter examines
systemic means by which we can assess the results from interventions in an
innovation system and through evaluation of those assessments facilitate a
learning environment around the respective innovation system’s operation.
Facilitating a robust Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (ME&L)
environment is assumed in assessments. However, assessments should not
be seen as recipes. When done well assessments balance the needs and
resources associated with an innovation intervention. This may require
adjusting frameworks to ensure relevance and comparability.
Systemic assessments can play an important role in governance, planning
and coordination, not only around the intervention of concern, but within
the broader innovation environment in which these actions occur. They can
demonstrate value and promote accountability as evidence is generated
for programme and policy improvement. Through their systemic approach
they can facilitate coordination across a range of agents who might
otherwise perceive their roles in isolation to others. The evidence produced
in these assessments can also be used in subsequent project and policy
planning, and revision of priorities and resource allocations.
As a developing nation striving to advance an inclusive knowledge
intensive economy, innovation assessments ofer an important tool for
South Africa. The true value of an assessment is primarily evident through
the engagement it creates with its users. This engagement is not static,
as the function of assessments develops with the users and producers.
An initial function of assessments is to provide diagnostic advice about
interventions in the innovation system. In this role assessments are about
identifying what is working, what is not, and what needs work within an
innovation system. As the needs and abilities of those using and producing
the assessments develop, the function of assessments becomes more
developmental and facilitates the achievement of strategic objectives and
planning priorities. A further function of assessments is distinguished by
the interactive role they play in identifying and developing objectives and
priorities themselves. In this evolutionary role assessments are integral
features of the learning and planning environments in which innovation
system interventions are designed.
Systemic assessments are not project- or frm-specifc, micro-level
indicators, but they can support micro-level evaluations as elaborated later
in this chapter. This chapter reviews assessment instruments before turning
to an illustration of their application in the COFISA initiative.
References and a selected list of useful resources can be found at the back of this publication.
There are a variety of instruments that can be used in assessing
an innovation system. This section reviews characteristics of two
benchmarking instruments:
• Innovation system scoreboards (ISSs); and
• Innovation policy scoreboards (IPSs).
It then discusses features of two evaluation instruments:
• Innovation system appraisals (ISAs); and
• Innovation policy appraisals (IPAs).
Assessment Instruments
nnovation System Scoreboards (ISSs) are increasingly popular tools.
An ISS allows a variety of complex relationships and indicators to be
presented in a relatively accessible structure. ISSs thereby facilitate the
identifcation of strengths and weaknesses in innovation systems as well
as providing evidence over time of the efectiveness, or lack thereof, of
innovation interventions. In presenting and interpreting ISSs it is important
to carefully consider features that might be missing from an ISS as they can
make solutions or problems appear overly simplistic.
The importance of an indicator such as a nation’s total research and
development (R&D) expenditure as a percentage of gross domestic
product (GDP), referred to as GERD, illustrates this potential pitfall. Policy
makers may see diferences in GERD as a clear indicator of their innovation
gap. Therefore, they may target GERD in isolation from other necessary
components such as skills development as they seek to catch up with more
innovative nations. This policy of unique indicator-driven reproduction
can result in inefcient allocation of scarce resources and retard otherwise
functional components of an innovation system.
Despite these potential dangers, quality ISSs facilitate stakeholder
engagement that is needed to develop an innovation system.
Internationally there are several well-established ISSs, among the more
comprehensive being the biannual OECD Science, Technology and Industry
(STI) Scoreboard
and the annual European Innovation Scoreboard (EIS).

In contrast to the expansive OECD STI Scoreboard the European Innovation
Scoreboard focuses on key indicators of innovation.
To the authors’ knowledge the South African Science, Technology and
Innovation (STI) Scoreboard 2008 developed within the COFISA ME&L
programme was one of the frst ISSs to be developed for South Africa.
Details of how the scoreboard emerged within COFISA are discussed
later in this chapter, but in the present context it is useful to elaborate on
signifcant features of the Scoreboard.
Innovation System Scoreboards (ISSs)
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The SA STI Scoreboard follows an innovation systems
approach in presenting indicators across fve structural
areas of the national innovation system:
Knowledge Demand

This presents indicators of the existing economic
environment and developmental challenges such as
sectoral output, trade performance, and age
distribution of the population as well as poverty and
inequality indicators.
Knowledge Mobilisation

This includes indicators around the scale to which the
nation’s resources have been mobilised to engage in
the innovation system. An important aspect of this
dimension were indicators of educational attainment
and skills development. Because of its role in facilitating
learning and access to knowledge, this section also
reported indicators of information and communication
technology (ICT) availability.
Knowledge Inputs

Knowledge input indicators are the traditional focus
of innovation policy. These include a range of
indicators associated with R&D investments. Other
indicators include foreign direct investment (FDI) and
fxed capital investment. These investments
represent inputs into the knowledge system as they are
assumed to generate tacit knowledge. Research
and scientifc workers are another important set of
indicators within this area.
Knowledge Outputs

The frequency of innovation and impact of innovations,
as reported in innovation surveys, are reported in this
section. Other indicators of knowledge outputs
• Entrepreneurship, which is measured by the rate of
start-up company creation;
• Bibliometric indicators, as these are important
indicators of research outputs associated with
innovation. Owing to prohibitive costs of accessing
proprietary sources of this data, bibliometric indicators
were not included in the scoreboard.
• Patents, as these are an important output indicator
rich with detailed information on the geographic and
collaborative structure of invention.
Knowledge Flows

This includes indicators on the structural dynamics of
innovation, for example, the mobility of highly-
skilled individuals. In South Africa an important
indicator in this regard has been the increasing number
of post-graduate African learners attending South
Africa’s higher education institutions (HEIs). Other
indicators include foreign direct investment networks,
as frequent trading partners are often associated with
knowledge exchange.
As with any quality ISS, indicators throughout were
selected when underlying data was publicly available and
enduring. This often limited disaggregation but it ensured
reliability and transparency.
Together the various sections of the scoreboard form a
systemic view of the South African innovation system. As
such, it provides important evidence about needs and
priorities in South Africa’s development of an inclusive
knowledge intensive economy. The scoreboard also
identifes gaps in indicators about the system. The
scoreboard helps identify areas for further data and
indicator development, thereby facilitating understanding
about data coverage over the entire national system
of innovation.
nnovation policy scoreboards (IPSs) are another primary
tool in the systemic assessment of an innovation system.
These scoreboards typically compare innovation policy
indicators among regions or nations. As such they are
important inputs to policy assessments of good innovation
practices. The European Commission’s INNO-Policy
TrendChart is a signifcant example of an IPS.As there is
not as yet an IPS covering South Africa, the structure of
TrendChart is discussed below.
TrendChart tracks the development of innovation
policies across Europe and a selection of other nations.
It defnes an innovation policy measure as any activity
that mobilises resources through innovation-orientated
activities, which mobilises information geared towards
innovation activities, or which mobilises institutional
processes explicitly to impact on the innovation system.
These policies must not be ad hoc and must contain
some public funding as well as be open for private sector
TrendChart also reports policy measures across fve
1. Governance and Horizontal Research and
Innovation Policies

This section covers innovation strategy documents
such as green and white papers on science and
technology as well as S&T structural funds. It also tracks
cluster initiatives and innovation strategies as well as
the horizontal support of fnancial measures.
Innovation policy advisory services such as technology
Foresight, sectoral strategies and cluster mapping are
additional measures tracked in this category.
2. Research and Technologies

This section reports on policy measures to advance the
relevance of research in HEIs, the number of
research infrastructure initiatives, as well as the number
of public and research organisations. Knowledge
transfer ofces are also tracked as are cooperative R&D
initiatives. Indirect R&D support such as tax incentives,
and direct R&D grant and loan programmes, are
another important dimension to this section of the
policy scoreboard.
3. Education and Skills Policies

Policies supporting science and technology education
are reported and include initiatives to enhance
awareness around careers in science. Policies to
improve the relationship between teaching and
research are also reported in this area. In terms of
S&T skills development, this section tracks initiatives to
increase PhD graduates, improve productive researcher
mobility, recruitment of skilled personnel, and enhance
on-the-job training of researchers.
4. Innovative Enterprise Policies

This section reports on sectoral innovation
programmes and tracks programmes supporting
organisational innovations and innovation
management. Included are programmes to support risk
capital fnance and innovative start-ups. Lastly,
this section reports on inter-frm technology transfer
5. Policies Supporting an Innovative Culture

Initiatives such as technology road shows that are used
to create a favorable innovation culture are tracked. It
also records innovation prize initiatives; fscal incentives
for the difusion of innovative technologies, products
and services; and policies promoting intellectual
property rights awareness and applications. Innovation
impact assessment of regulations or policies is another
area followed in this section.
The policy measures are reported on a count basis by
country. These policy indicators are updated on an annual
basis as individual country reports are produced.
In its entirety an IPS like TrendChart is an important
source of system assessment of the innovation policy
environment. Therefore this would appear to be an
important area for potential development in South
Africa. However, it is also important to realise that many
aspects of an IPS are also covered within innovation
system evaluation and these may also be major sources of
information for assessment.
Innovation Policy Scoreboards (IPSs)
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iven the complexities of an innovation system, it
is increasingly evident that benchmarking alone is
not adequate and some form of multi-dimensional
evaluation is required if learning is going to be a product
and process associated with an assessment. Therefore,
both innovation system appraisals (ISA) and innovation
policy appraisals (IPA) are important instruments to
facilitate alignment and increase the value of interventions
within innovation systems.
Depending on its purpose and the availability of
information an ISA should at least consider addressing
nine areas in its evaluation:
i. Institutional environment;
ii. Resources;
iii. Framework rules and policies;
iv. Research system;
v. Innovation networks;
vi. Infrastructure and technical services;
vii. Human resource development;
viii. Critical socio-economic agents and interests; and
ix. Performance.
Within the institutional environment consideration
should be given to regulatory institutions. This includes
institutions that have an implicit role in innovation, such
as the South African Bureau of Standards (SABS); as well
as explicit regulatory institutions such as South Africa’s
Companies and Intellectual Property Registration Ofce
(CIPRO). Private sector institutions promoting innovation
and entrepreneurship also form part of the institutional
environment as do technological initiatives.
Resources for innovative activities cover specifc
innovation funding and related broader fnancial
access. Characteristics of venture capital markets
and entrepreneurial fnance are signifcant features.
Government fnancial incentives, direct funding and
indirect tax incentives are also reviewed in this section.
The area on framework rules and policies examines
innovation-related policies and their inter-relationships
as well as many policies that are not explicitly innovation
policies, but which have an important role in the
innovation systems. In this regard initiatives such as
regulatory reform or inter-provincial re-districting can
have a signifcant impact on innovation yet are not
explicit innovation policies. Foreign policy is another
area that can have signifcant impacts on the innovation
system through networking opportunities or through the
curtailment of existing networks or changing competitive
dynamics that drive innovation.
The research system component examines the structure
of the innovation system’s research institutions and their
inter-relationships and linkages to the larger political
economy. Public and private research institutions lie
alongside HEIs in their importance. Particularly given the
often signifcant role played by public sector institutions,
identifying their alignment and downstream relevance
can be important information for policy makers to use in
performance monitoring.
Innovation networks are very signifcant features of an
innovation system. Among other roles they facilitate
information sharing and user-producer feedbacks.
Innovation networks are also a signifcant source of
tacit knowledge difusion through the interpersonal
connections that compose the networks. Localised
networks or clusters are also often signifcant features and
their identifcation can promote competitiveness. Analysis
of the structure of innovative networks can also be make
a meaningful contribution to an ISA - such an analysis
Innovation System Appraisals (ISA)
may identify critical “gatekeepers” within the network who
need to be better targeted if they are to infuence
the network.
Infrastructure and technical services covers a range
of institutions and facilities of relevance to innovation
systems. These include metrology and instrumentation
capabilities, design centres and technical service
providers. Basic infrastructure such as internet bandwidth,
energy supplies, and shipping facilities may make
important contributions to the structure and direction of
Human resource development is an area of critical
importance to an ISA. Not only do HEI enrollments and
graduations matter but also the felds of those learners,
and their demand by the innovation system. In a country
like South Africa, primary and secondary education
systems and their preparation of students for study
at HEIs are also signifcant features that will typically
warrant some discussion. Within this area issues such as
skills development and continuing education are often
important characteristics of an innovative workforce.
Critical socio-economic agents and interests address the
structure of the economy and of existing innovation.
It places these within the context of the system of
innovation’s population structure, and the political and
cultural features of that population. In essence this area
of an ISA seeks to provide a contextual overview of the
innovation demand and that demand’s agents.
Lastly, the ISA needs to evaluate the innovation systems
performance. This need not be a separate area of analysis
as it will often make more sense to assess concurrently
within the discussion of a particular area. Wherever it
occurs, appraising the performance needs to draw on
available evidence so that performance is discussed in the
context of alignment with other parts of the innovation
system. Furthermore, the evaluation should try and
identify as well as diferentiate outputs, outcomes and
impacts from the innovation system.
Innovation Policy Appraisals (IPAs)
nnovation policy appraisals (IPAs) are closely related
to ISAs, but are diferentiated by their emphasis on the
evaluation’s integration into policy planning. As with
the ISS, the European Commission and the OECD ofer
good examples of IPAs. In Europe, the INNO-Appraisal
initiative within the PRO INNO Europe programme draws
IPAs from across Europe and analyses them along with
other evaluations in order to systematically advance
innovation policy within Europe and integrate innovation
policy across Europe. The OECD IPAs review achievements
in innovation within OECD member and non-member
countries in order to identify means to improve that
performance and promote learning about best
innovation practices.
IPAs are more explicit than ISAs in their concern with
moving evaluations beyond external events to become
a learning feature. As such, IPAs attempt to play a role
in planning innovation policy measures as well as the
more traditional control and audit function. In support
of this function IPAs include explicit evaluation of the
innovation system’s governance. This review examines
implementation of initiatives and the efectiveness of
their monitoring and evaluation system. IPAs will also
examine innovation policy challenges and opportunities.
In this area issues such as stakeholder conficts that
could impede innovation policy as well as latent demand
that could be supported by innovation policy may be
examined. Lastly, IPAs will contain an evaluation of
policy objectives and trends. Reviewing the dynamics
of innovation policy objectives, this component of
the evaluation attempts to highlight congruence or
incongruence within and among innovation policy.
Given the variety of assessment instruments available and
the breadth of their coverage, initiating an assessment may
appear to be a daunting task. However, assessment may
take a variety of forms and need not use all of the available
instruments. In fact, the systemic assessment of the COFISA
programme used just the ISS. User and producer needs,
and available resources, will determine the nature of the
assessment. Given the multi-dimensional nature of an
assessment there are many means through which it may
contribute to a range of stakeholders in the innovation
system. This is illustrated in the next section where the
systemic assessment of the COFISA programme is discussed.
PRO INNO Europe (2009). PRO INNO Europe INNO-Appraisal. www.oecd.org/sti/innovation/reviews OECDReviews of
Innovation Policy.

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Systemic Assessment of the COFISA Programme
he COFISA ME&L activities planned for a systemic
assessment of all projects. This assessment was
originally going to be based on indicators derived
from a Baseline Indicator Study that had already been
commissioned before the appointment of the ME&L
team. Unfortunately, the initial drafts of the Baseline
Indicator Study did not address many of the systemic
indicators needed for evaluation. After several rounds of
consultation it was decided that the consultancy originally
envisioned for providing the indicators would not be able
to deliver the type of transparent, reliable data needed for
evaluation. Therefore, the ME&L team, in consultation with
the COFISA Secretariat, agreed to compile an Innovation
Scoreboard, which would expand understanding of the
system of innovation and provide a summary of reliable
data with which to assess the COFISA programme. The
commitment led to the production of the South African
STI Scoreboard 2008.
The SA STI Scoreboard covered the national level and the
three focus Provinces of the COFISA programme: Eastern
Cape, Gauteng, and the Western Cape - details of the
scoreboard approach were discussed above.
Once the SA STI Scoreboard was compiled, the ME&L team
turned its attention to applying it to the assessment of
the COFIA programme. The 44 indicators contained in the
scoreboard were identifed in a table of factors where the
COFISA projects might have impacts. Using the 17 June
2008 version of the COFISA LogFrame a similar table of
expected results from each of the programme’s four key
result areas was compiled. These were then combined in a
spreadsheet to form a factors-and-results matrix. Each of
the ME&L Team members and an external consultant then
ranked each factor with respect to each result according
to a four-point scale ranging from zero (no impact) to four
(high impact) on this indicator (factor). These results were
then consolidated to identify the main indicators for each
of the key result areas.
As this factor-and-results report was being reviewed
by the ME&L Team it became apparent that available
indicators would not be adequate to use in a systemic
assessment of the COFISA programme. This inadequacy
had two primary causes:
i. The data from which the indicators were derived
was not available at a level sufciently disaggregated
to identify COFISA’s target populations.
ii. Lags in the likely impacts of the COFISA programme
would mean that the assessment timeframe was not
adequate to capture the results.
The ME&L Team identifed potential micro-level surveys
that could be conducted to address partially some
of these short-comings from available data. It was
however readily apparent that the resources which these
additional surveys would require were beyond the time
or scope of the ME&L programme or any reasonable
expansion thereof.
Importantly, this was recognised as an important lesson
from the COFISA ME&L programme. Reviewing the
scoreboard highlighted important contextual details that
would have been of tremendous value to the planning
of COFISA. Unfortunately, as there was no scoreboard
available at the time, COFISA’s planning developed
without it. Recognising this role, the COFISA Secretariat
has promoted the dissemination of the SA STI Scoreboard
and, in conjunction with the ME&L team, has engaged
stakeholders across the national innovation system. The
aim has been to make them aware of the 2008 scoreboard,
highlight the need for a regularly updated scoreboard,
and describe potential benefts from the development of
other evaluation instruments.
The systemic assessment of COFISA was not a costly and
elaborate production that required tremendous resources. On
the contrary, the assessment developed an ISS for evaluation
based on reliable statistics that were readily available. This
scoreboard was widely distributed to have as great a learning
impact as possible. Using the scoreboard and the COFISA
programme key results areas, the ME&L team systematically
reviewed the measurability of the initiatives. The resulting
analysis showed clearly that available indicators were not
feasible for the evaluation. After detailing alternative means to
provide data for assessment the ME&L team, in consultation
with the COFISA secretariat, decided that programme
assessment would be focused on programme level outputs.
Chapter 10 presents a preliminary synthesis of these fndings.
This is to be followed by a summative evaluation in early
2010 that will survey stakeholders and participants in COFISA
programmes to derive an indication of associated outputs,
outcomes and impacts.
While at frst glance it might appear that the systemic
assessment of the COFISA programme was not a success,
further consideration proves otherwise:
• The COFISA assessment showed clearly the need to
develop the innovation system evaluation culture and
capacity further. The programme has contributed to this
directly through the production of an ISS for South Africa.
• COFISA has also worked to highlight the need for
the further development of these instruments through
engagement with a variety of stakeholders in the national
system of innovation. Thereby, the COFISA programme
has demonstrated the important role assessment, even
on a modest scale, can make to evidence-based innovation
policy. It has also highlighted the benefts of moving
towards assessments playing a more developmental role
in innovation interventions.
t is possible to characterise assessments as possessing
a higher level of analysis when they are integral to
the design, planning and realisation of innovation
interventions. Nevertheless, this chapter has also shown
that, even when assessments play a more traditional
diagnostic role, they may contribute to further
development of “higher level”assessments. As South Africa
seeks to advance towards an increasingly inclusive and
knowledge intensive economy, development of innovation
assessments will play an important component.
Moving forward, there are several important lessons that
could be incorporated into any future COFISA-like initiative:
• It is critical that lessons from systemic assessments are built
into policy making.
• Systemic assessments undertaken before a programme
commences should appraise strategic goals and
contribute to the objectives and indicators on which the
programmes have to deliver.
• During the lifetime of a programme, assessment should
evaluate progress toward the goals and indicate the extent
to which it is delivering on its objectives.
• In the fnal stages of the programme, assessment should
indicate the success that the initiative has had in meeting
its goals and compare the results with the expectations.
• After the conclusion of the programme, the assessment
should indicate the level of success in delivering outcomes,
and contain an evaluation of its impacts in order to
formulate lessons for further recommendations.
I t i s t el l i ng t hat t he syst emi c
assessment of t he COFI SA
i ni t i at i ve has gone some
di st ance i n al l of t hese areas
and t hat i t has act i vel y sought
t o capt ure t hese successes
and i t s shor t comi ngs i n order
t o cont r i but e f ur t her l ear ni ng
around syst emi c assessment s
of i nnovat i on i nt er vent i ons.
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Even bef ore t he f or mal
t er mi nat i on of COFI SA as a
progr amme, t here i s a wi de
r ange of l essons t hat may be
l ear ned f rom t he exper i ence
gai ned t hus f ar. The l essons
t ouch on aspect s such
as t he i ncept i on phase,
gover nance, al i gnment ,
l i nkages, st akehol der s, and
t he wor k progr amme. What
emer ges i s a pi ct ure of t he
val uabl e and successf ul rol e
t hat COFI SA has pl ayed
( not wi t hout cont rover sy
and f ai l ure at t i mes) i n
st i mul at i ng aspect s of t he
devel opment of syst ems of
i nnovat i on i n Sout h Af r i ca,
al ong wi t h poi nt er s f or
adapt at i on and i mprovement
f or si mi l ar i ni t i at i ves, here i n
Sout h Af r i ca and el sewhere,
i n t he f ut ure.
Peter Greenwood
Non-Zero-Sum Devel opment
full summative evaluation of the COFISA programme, including
a comprehensive assessment of the lessons learned, is planned
for early 2010 after the formal termination of the programme.
Therefore, the lessons learned that are set out below, and which are drawn
from the experience gained and the monitoring and evaluations to date,
must be viewed as provisional.
Several aspects of COFISA represent a new approach to development
cooperation. The programme was the frst in a suite of programmes that
targeted the nascent South African innovation system and knowledge
society holistically and systemically. As such, and with the beneft of
hindsight, there are important lessons to be learned even at this stage
when the programme is almost but not yet complete - particularly from the
inception phase of COFISA,
but also concerning other aspects of
the programme.
The programme is a composite whole. From one perspective it consists of:
• People with a wide variety of expertise and roles;
• A multitude of objectives, results, and activities;
• Evolving processes and practices;
• Governance and management structures;
• Defnition along with ambiguity, coherence along with tension; and
• Static snapshots of a dynamic programme-orientated system.
The lessons learned during the past three or so years touch or cut through
several of these and other aspects in a complex way. They often do not
stand alone, but are interlocked and complement each other. Yet they must
be, and are, presented in a sequential fashion using categories that ofer
one (limited) view of what is termed with disarming simplicity ‘COFISA’.
See Section 1 for a detailed description of the inception phase of COFISA.
uring the frst year or so of COFISA’s life as a programme, progress
in implementing the workplan was much slower than expected by
most of its stakeholders, as well as what was desired by the staf
who made up the Core Management Team (CMT), and who were directly
responsible for implementation. There were a number of factors that
contributed to the slow start.
First, while there were several individuals whose involvement was essential
in making COFISA a reality, as is often the case, there were those who
acted as champions, and without whose vision and energy the programme
would have foundered before it commenced. In the case of COFISA there
were two such champions, one within the South African Department
of Science and Technology (DST) and the other in the Finnish Ministry
for Foreign Afairs (MFA) – both based in Pretoria. Due to circumstances
unrelated to COFISA, both champions left the country, leaving a knowledge
and leadership vacuum which resulted in signifcant delays in getting
implementation underway and a considerable learning curve for the newly
appointed COFISA staf.
The initial delays were compounded by the fact that COFISA’s governance
structures were not in place at the start of the programme. These
structures consisted of a Supervisory Board and a Steering Committee.
The Supervisory Board held supreme decision-making authority for the
programme, and was required to approve the programme’s budget before
any expenditure could be made. The Steering Committee was involved at
a more operational level and sometimes made recommendations to the
Supervisory Board, including concerning the budget.
It took considerable time to set up the Supervisory Board and the
Steering Committee. Suitable candidates had to be approached and their
agreement obtained, and then meetings of the Committee and Board
arranged. Although the staf team commenced work on the workplan
in December 2006, they were unable to commit to any signifcant
expenditure because there was no approved budget. They were therefore
severely impeded and execution of the workplan was efectively stalled for
several months.
The frst Steering Committee meeting was held in March 2007 and it took
another two months before the frst Supervisory Board meeting was held,
in May 2007. At this meeting, spending on the budget was authorised, and
COFISA’s resources could fnally be deployed efectively.
During the period when the Supervisory Board and the Steering
Committee were being constituted, there was a sense that COFISA had two
‘masters’, namely the DST and the MFA. The direction provided by these
two institutions to the COFISA staf team was sometimes uncoordinated.
In addition, even once the Supervisory Board and Steering Committee
had been appointed and had met, Board members and Committee
members were themselves still unfamiliar with COFISA and its intentions.
Thus, although they formally took up their roles, the ability of Board and
Committee members to provide guidance to COFISA was hampered until
they had gained a better understanding of the programme, its intended
purpose and objectives, and the role that it could and should play.
Finally, the CMT were under considerable pressure from the inception of
the programme to execute the workplan and show results, despite not
having had the time to plan properly and prepare for the frst initiatives.
There were also major obstacles to be overcome. For example, there was
almost complete lack of buy-in to the programme amongst potential
provincial stakeholders, particularly by relevant provincial government
staf. This was a major hurdle since the provincial-level component
represented the major portion of the COFISA programme. Furthermore, in
the context of pressure to execute the workplan, one apparent indicator
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of progress of implementation that was easily measured
(even if misleading) was expenditure of the budget. There
was thus unfortunate pressure to spend the budget,
especially given the limited three-year lifespan of
the programme.
Lessons Learned
• Ensure that governance structures or arrangements
are in place early, to avoid delays in implementation.
The governance structures of a programme are always
an important element. In the case of a programme
such as COFISA they are essential for the programme
to operate. Establishing them is therefore on the
critical path, and early attention should be paid
to identifying suitable candidates, and ensuring that
those appointed are briefed sufciently to allow them
to play their intended role efectively from the start of
the process. The establishment of governance
structures before the programme staf commence
implementation would also prevent the confusion that
can result from their receiving direction from more
than one programme sponsor.
Despite determined eforts to establish governance
structures at the inception of a programme, delays
should be anticipated. A bridging arrangement should
be set up so that, if necessary, an interim budget may
be approved for the inception period of the
programme. Approval of a frst-year budget can then
be initiated once the appropriate governance
structures are in place. Such an arrangement would
ensure that the work programme is not unduly delayed.
• Establish an adequate formal inception phase for
the programme. For a programme that is complex and
breaking new ground, allowance should be made for
a substantial inception phase (four to six months)
during which time the CMT may identify and address
knowledge gaps to commence the programme,
gather information where possible and appropriate,
and adjust the workplan accordingly.
Another important activity that may be started
during an extended inception phase is that of
gaining buy-in from key stakeholders. There is,
however, a chicken-and-egg aspect to gaining buy-
in at the early stages of a programme that is
somewhat exploratory and experimental: some
stakeholders would frst need to understand the
programme more tangibly before being able to ofer it
their support.
The desire on the part of the sponsors of a programme
to see ‘quick wins’ is expected and understandable, but
in the context of a programme that must take a
strategic and systemic approach to enhancing
something as complex as an innovation system, such
desire is misplaced. Initially, the CMT laboured
to produce quick wins, but later it realised that such
an approach could result in valuable resources being
committed to an initiative that was expected to be
quick to deliver a ‘win’, but that in reality simply tied up
resources in a longer-term process of dubious
outcome. In short, the pressure for ‘quick wins’ during
the inception phase should be resisted by the
governance structures.
• Buildthe Core Management Team. COFISA’s CMT was
made upof asmall number of individuals whowere
drawnfromawide variety of backgrounds, withvarious
levels of experience, andwithnoclear structure within
the team. For any programme such as COFISA it may
be expected that similar conditions would apply. Thus
an intentional team building process should be put in
place over several months, appropriate to the
composition and experience of the CMT, to facilitate
trust and close collaboration (the very qualities that
are necessary in a well-functioning system of innovation).
• Ensure continuity of thought leadership. The departure
of key champions at the commencement of COFISA
has been mentioned. This created a leadership and
knowledge vacuum that was difcult to fll. While
it may not be possible to ensure the availability
of such persons at the beginning of a programme,
the potential impact of a departure should be
anticipated and mitigating arrangements put in place
as far as possible.
s mentioned above, there were delays in
commencing implementation of the workplan
due to governance structures not being in
place. On the whole, once established, the governance
structures worked well. However, there was a lack of
clarity concerning the diferent roles of the Supervisory
Board and the Steering Committee, which resulted in
some confusion. In theory the Board was meant to play
a more strategic guiding role, while the Committee was
meant to be more operationally involved. However, the
similarity in size and composition of the two bodies
blurred this distinction. Each consisted of fve members
who were leaders in their own right in the SANSI, along
with a few persons who were directly involved with
the programme. One of the motivations for involving a
relatively large number of key actors in both the Board
and the Committee was to extend COFISA’s linkages into
the SANSI. A signifcant defciency in both bodies was
the lack of provincial government representation, which
refected the initial lack of engagement with the three
target provinces.
Lessons Learned
• The diferent functions of a programme’s governance
structures should be clearly understood. While the
involvement of so many stakeholders in both
governance structures may have served a useful
purpose, this goal may have been better achieved
by setting up a reference or advisory panel for the
programme, with selected representation from the
Supervisory Board and the Steering Committee.
• The most important stakeholders shouldbe represented
onthe governance structures. In COFISA’s case there
should have been signifcant provincial government
representation on the governance structures to ensure
better buy-in and inputs regarding provincialperspectives.
lignment’ is an important word in South Africa,
especially in the context of building a democracy
and an equitable society in the face of skewed
structures and limited and unequally-distributed
resources. ‘Alignment’ can have diferent meanings and
implications for diferent people. It can mean being
compatible with the high-level policies and strategies that
have been adopted. It can also mean falling in precisely
with the detailed priorities and processes that direct an
agency or entity.
During the early stages of COFISA’s existence, questions
were raised about its perceived alignment particularly at
the provincial level. It was stated directly by one or two
stakeholders that it was not seen as aligned and therefore
as irrelevant or at worst an impediment.
For programmes such as COFISA to succeed, a necessary
condition should be its fundamental alignment with
relevant, over-arching policies and strategies as followed
by principal stakeholders. For COFISA this meant
alignment with both the National R&D Strategy and
Finnish development policy, both of which were taken
into account when the programme was conceptualised.
However, during COFISA’s lifetime, the DST developed a
ten-year plan which presented a revised expression of its
medium- and long-term strategy. Eforts were required to
ensure and articulate COFISA’s alignment with this new
statement of DST’s strategic direction.
An important function of COFISA was to act as an agent
of change and to introduce new thinking and new ways
of operating into the SANSI. This raised an inherent
confict of roles - a programme that is fully aligned at
all levels would be very unlikely to efect or facilitate
change, particularly change in the strategies to which it is
aligned. Thus selective non-alignment by COFISA should
be viewed as a virtue, and essential to any programme
that is intended to facilitate change. This insight was
not explicitly understood at COFISA’s inception, but
was articulated more clearly during the course of the
programme as momentum and confdence grew.
Lessons Learned
• Formulate and articulate a clear position and message
concerning alignment. Eforts should be made during
the inception phase of the programme to think
through the question of the programme’s alignment to
the various policy, strategic and tactical positions that
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are relevant to its objectives and workplan. Depending
on the environment and climate within which the
programme operates, more or fewer resources may
need to be devoted to this exercise. The governance
structure should also be involved in agreeing a position
on alignment.
• Be ready to adjust where necessary to changes in the
strategic context of the programme. Undertake an
exercise to reformulate and rearticulate the
programme’s position concerning alignment,
depending on changes to its strategic context.
mature system of innovation is characterised by,
among other features, a multiplicity of linkages
and relationships between practitioners and
organisations, across many sectors and levels in the
system. In this respect, the SANSI required substantial
enhancement, as a key defciency was certainly the lack
of widespread cooperation and collaboration amongst
players. This lack was recognised by COFISA’s workplan,
inasmuch as specifc activities were targeted at fostering
linkages. However, the impact of the lack of a culture of
collaboration and knowledge-sharing on COFISA’s ability
to execute its own workplan, especially during the early
stages, was underestimated. This created signifcant
challenges for COFISA as its only institutional link was
to the DST, with little experience or knowledge in the
staf team of other potential stakeholders, especially at a
provincial level, and how they could best be engaged.
Even COFISA’s linkage to DST was not without its own
challenges. The ideas and discussions that led to the
establishment of COFISA took place within the DST’s
International Relations section. Thus the COFISA work plan
was very much in line with the Department’s thinking.
However, with little participation from DST staf who were
responsible for implementation of the department’s own
programme of work, COFISA was often viewed by them as
an appendage to DST (or even as an unwanted intruder)
rather than as being integrated into DST’s priorities and
activities. This general perspective was maintained for
much of COFISA’s life. It was only in the last year or so of
the programme’s existence, and through strong leadership
exercised within DST, that the tide turned, and COFISA
became recognised as making an important contribution
towards DST’s mission.
The impact on COFISA’s execution of the lack of a
culture of cooperation was aggravated by the fact that
constitutionally, science and technology is a national,
not a provincial competence in South Africa. There are
therefore no entities or components within provincial
government that have S&T as part of their mandate.
Therefore a DST-driven initiative does not have an
immediate point of contact at the provincial government
level. The implications of this were not fully recognised at
COFISA’s inception. Instead, the Programme Document
made the assumption that substantial provincial-level
buy-in would already have been secured by the time the
programme commenced. In reality, there had been almost
no consultation amongst potential provincial government
stakeholders prior to the formulation of the Programme
Document. This led, not unexpectedly, to an initial
reluctance, and even resistance, to engage on the part of
provincial government staf, who perceived that a national
department was encroaching on provincial territory,
which was not within their national mandate.
On the positive side, COFISA’s Futures exercises (Foresight)
were of great beneft not only in respect of their specifc
but also for building a network of innovation
system stakeholders at a provincial level. This created
and in a few cases strengthened linkages amongst such
stakeholders, and in particular with COFISA.
Lessons Learned
• Developing linkages requires considerable time and
efort. A ‘big-bang’ approach to developing linkages
is not possible, nor is it desirable. Instead a sustained,
organic process of engaging with stakeholders and
gaining their buy-in should be planned for, to enable
the efective implementation of the programme of work
and to foster longer-term successes for, and perceived
value to, stakeholders.
• Linkages are needed with a range of government
departments or ministries. While the DST was key as the
lead department for COFISA, attention should also
have been paid to other departments and entities
that are closely integrated into the SANSI, such as the
Departments of Trade and Industry, Communication,
Education, and the Presidential National Commission on
Information Society and Development (PNC on ISAD).
See Chapter 4 for a detailed discussion.
The PNC on ISAD was important because of its role in coordinating Information Society-related eforts in South Africa.
Stakeholder Management and
Awareness Raising
signifcant defciency in COFISA was the lack of stakeholder
management and development, especially a lack of
follow-through at senior levels of provincial government
as well as with the private sector. Stakeholder management and
development is difcult and requires specifc skills and experience.
COFISA did not have the necessary capability in this area, and the
defciency became more acute as COFISA attempted to engage
more deeply with these stakeholders.
Related to the above point, a greater level of continuing
advocacy was needed, especially in the provinces. This included
the need to raise awareness concerning the SANSI and the
Provincial Systems of Innovation (PSIs) amongst a wide range
of stakeholders. The language of innovation that is integral to
COFISA was poorly understood, or misunderstood, by some of
COFISA’s stakeholders. Concepts such as ‘innovation systems’
in both its national and provincial favours often needed to be
explained, both in terms of what they signify and in terms of their
relevance to existing strategies, programmes and priorities.
Underpinning any stakeholder management initiative is the need
to build trust between role players. This is a necessary (although
not a sufcient) condition for a well-functioning system of
innovation. In addition to creating opportunities for such trust
to be built, programmes such as COFISA should raise awareness
amongst role players of the need for this essential ingredient.
A unique and particularly important stakeholder for COFISA was
DST, and key members of staf within DST. COFISA’s National
Coordinator had a formal reporting relationship into DST, but
this was into the International Relations section of DST, not into
one of the parts of DST responsible for implementation. This
reporting relationship contributed to the initial distancing of
COFISA within DST and made it more difcult for COFISA staf
to engage productively with DST staf who were working in
domains of immediate importance to COFISA.
Lessons Learned
• Stakeholder management and awareness-raising should be
recognised as essential and be properly resourced. Appropriate
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activities that support stakeholder management and
awareness-raising should be built into the workplan,
and they should be resourced with people who are
adequately experienced and who have the ability
to bring alignment amongst stakeholders towards the
programme and its objectives and activities as needed.
• Catalytic interventions such as COFISA need to be
mainstreamed into the sponsoring department’s or
ministry’s activities. This must be implemented with care
to avoid what is a change agent (COFISA in this case)
from being smothered by existing thinking and
practice. Thus the responsibility of the programme
towards its governance structures must be recognised
and emphasised. Nevertheless, without being
mainstreamed, a programme such as COFISA faces an
uphill battle to be viewed as being part of the solution
rather than being part of the problem. In addition, as a
catalytic intervention but that is not mainstreamed, it
has no inherent ability to maintain any momentum
after its limited lifetime has ended.
Resources, Workplan and Administration
OFISA started its life with a highly ambitious
workplan, especially for its frst year of
implementation. While the workplan was both
internally consistent and coherent, it was also insufciently
focused, with too many initial activities, particularly given
the limited available human resources. The net result was
that considerable unplanned work was necessary to make
the workplan practical and well-adapted to the realities
of the SANSI. Such fexibility is crucial for a programme
such as COFISA, which was venturing into new territory
with a range of signifcant unknowns. It was only as the
programme moved forward that the problem domain
became better understood and programme activities
could be modifed to meet changed needs.
The need to adjust the workplan at the outset highlighted
some of the issues related to the programme’s human
• There was a lack of programme-related knowledge
within members of the CMT;
• Levels of experiences difered signifcantly across the
COFISA team - the Finnish Technical Assistance experts
brought their expertise and many years of experience,
while the South African staf were less experienced
(as might be expected). This diference was exacerbated
by the fact that no early appointment was made for the
position of National Innovation Advisor (NIA), which
was to be flled by a South African expert.
• Finally, little attention was paid initially to the need for
an administrative function for the programme that
would take care of the arrangements and processes
necessary for contracting service providers. A state
institution was contracted to address this requirement,
but the particular needs of the programme, especially
for efcient processes, were sometimes not met.
Lessons Learned
• The roles and responsibilities of CMT members should be
clearly defned, and more importantly, collaborative and
teamwork skills need to be developed and enhanced.
This point has already been mentioned in the context
of programme inception, but it is also relevant for the
whole duration of a collaborative programme such as
COFISA. In this context a good understanding is
necessary by the governance structures of the
inherent tensions likely to arise as a result of the
need for local, potentially less-experienced leadership,
while acknowledging and harnessing the experience of
international technical advisors.
• The choice of local staf should be made with care,
with particular attention being paid to their potential
and willingness to learn and growin what are stretching
roles. In this respect, COFISA set a positive example that
should be followed in future programmes of this nature.
• Support structures for less-experienced local staf must
be put in place. One way of achieving this is through
the establishment of experienced management support
and mentoring relationships. These aspects were not
addressed adequately in the case of COFISA, and there
were unnecessary and unwanted consequences.
• Adequate time and energy should be allocated to allow
local staf, both individually and as a team, to undertake
learning activities. This could be achieved through
An NIA was eventually appointed during the third year of the programme.
formal and informal methods of learning without
impacting negatively on the expected productivity of
the team.
• Greater capacity needs to be allocated to carry out
networking activities with stakeholders at national,
provincial and local levels, in the public and private
sectors, and with civil society. The programme had
adequate fnancial resources (to the extent that during
the frst two years the ability to spend lagged behind
the available budget). However, as indicated above,
there were some defciencies in capacity. There would
have been value in contracting in selected emissaries
to fulfl this networking role, even if only to prepare the
ground for subsequent follow-up by COFISA staf.
• Special programmes such as COFISA require customised
administrative procedures. In the case of a special
purpose programme, standard administrative
arrangements are often not up to the task because
they are designed for diferent purposes. Adequate
conceptualisation is necessary in this area, along with
efective implementation.
Making a Contribution
ny assessment of COFISA at the time of writing
must be viewed as provisional and subject to the
more wide-ranging and rigorous evaluation that
will be undertaken after termination of the programme.
Nevertheless, it is already possible to identify that COFISA
has contributed value to the innovation system in two
general ways:
• At the level of specifc projects or activities, a number
of initiatives have been started that have made or
are making a defnite contribution, to a greater or
lesser degree.
• In addition, COFISA has played a facilitating and
enabling role in promoting engagement and
collaboration between practitioners and institutions
in the system of innovation. Although an essential
function for the efective operation of the SANSI, this
was previously not being performed by any other entity.
Thi rd par t i es f el t comf or t abl e wi t h
COFI SA because i t was not i dent i f i ed
wi t h gover nment - t hi s has not been
suf f i ci ent l y expl oi t ed.
Some further general comments concerning COFISA’s
contribution may also be made in this regard:
• COFISA attempted to identify some of the gaps in
the innovation system and to address some of these
according to perceived priorities and its own resources.
This often implied playing a role that complemented
the activities and outputs of other institutions in the
system. Such a role adds value when the innovation
system is not fully formed, but there is a delicate
line to tread between, on the one hand, taking the
lead and making efective progress, and on the other,
alienating organisations that perceive their own areas
of responsibility as being usurped.

• Broadly speaking, the SANSI is highly rigid, with ‘silo-
thinking’ being the norm, with only the barest hint
of an emerging culture of collaboration. The task of
making communication, cooperation and collaboration
the expected norms amongst practitioners in the
SANSI is huge. There is still a long way to go before the
triple-helix model of strong linkages between the
public sector, the private sector, and the education/
research sector is widely understood and put into
practice. The activities undertaken by COFISA may
be viewed as being inefective when measured
against the problem as a whole. Nevertheless, COFISA
has managed to raise awareness concerning these
issues amongst a wide range of people, numbering in
the hundreds, and platforms such as the Futures
exercises, workshops and seminars have been provided
where the artifcial boundaries in the SANSI could be
crossed and collaboration initiated.
• COFISA has played a major role in introducing key
innovation concepts to practitioners at all levels,
but most notably at the provincial level. The language
of innovation is better understood and used, which in
itself promotes more efective communication amongst
disparate actors in the innovation system. In addition,
practitioners can now better identify and play their
own roles.
These are discussed in Section 2 of this publication.
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See Chapter 5 for a detailed discussion.
The Way Forward
ith the life of COFISA having drawn to a close
the question arises – ‘On what basis will COFISA’s
initiatives and role be sustained?’ This question
assumes that COFISA’s contribution has been of value,
and that furthermore it has been delivered on the basis of
value-for-money. The assumptions are afrmed to be valid,
at least in part, by much of the content of this chapter.
The question has received some considerable attention,
particular by DST, and also by other stakeholders. One
aspect is clear: COFISA’s role of facilitating collaboration
and networking cannot simply be transferred to the
DST, because there needs to be a level of fexibility and
agility which cannot be expected from a government
department. Instead, there needs to be an agency that is
perceived to have legitimacy and credibility, that works
in synergy with DST, but which has a distinct identity. It is
unlikely that the newly-established Technology Innovation
Agency (TIA) could fulfl this function.
“The f act t hat COFI SA i s
di st i nct f rom t he Depar t ment of
Sci ence and Technol ogy ( DST)
i s st r uct ur al l y sound. COFI SA
coul d not have achi eved what
i t di d i f i t were si mpl y a par t
of DST. ”
Expressed dur i ng an ME&L i nt er vi ew wi t h a st akehol der
An agency that continues some of COFISA’s initiatives will
need to have a deep and comprehensive understanding of
innovation in all its facets. Staf will need to be passionate,
and will need to be seen as credible and impartial by
key stakeholders. They will have to be well-networked
amongst practitioners in the SANSI. While having clear
objectives, outputs and activities defned, they would
need to operate within a learning paradigm that enables
the right balance between perseverance towards difcult
but valuable and viable objectives, and avoiding the
wastage of resources on objectives that are of value but
are unattainable.
In conclusion, the longer-term impact of COFISA still
needs to be assessed and thereby understood. It is to
be hoped that there will be opportunity in the next
two or three years to make that assessment, and thus
provide further learning that may be applied to future
initiatives. These could build on what has been a
stretching, enriching, frustrating and valuable exercise
over the past three years in stimulating the formation
and growth of systems of innovation, for the longer-term
beneft of South Africa’s people, and in time, the people in
the subcontinent.
• Introducing new concepts and a more efective
language of discourse is an important frst step, but the
task of changing mindsets and resultant behaviours is
a long and difcult process, and is perhaps insufciently
understood as being a fundamental priority for
enhancing the innovation system.
• In South Africa there is much documentation (e.g.
policies, strategies) concerning innovation and related
issues, but the practical application of these documents
has been missing. COFISA has demonstrated how a start
may be made to put policies and strategies into action.
For example, it has been a vehicle for bringing together
the private sector and academia, and for helping them
both to be aligned towards fostering innovation.
• One of COFISA’s approaches, namely bringing world-
class experts into the country to share their experiences
and to communicate new perspectives on current
issues, has proved to be extremely valuable. This has
resulted in some signifcant changes to the approaches
taken towards economic development. The experts
did not come with ready solutions and an expectation
that these solutions were the answer to local
challenges. Instead, they ofered to relate their
experiences and share their knowledge. Local
practitioners were then allowed to adapt and apply the
knowledge thus gained.
• COFISA played an enabling role - it did not implement
projects using its own resources, thereby
disempowering the local actors. Instead, COFISA
created opportunities for gaining awareness (by for
example bringing in world-class expertise) and
enabling local actors to make things happen.
• COFISA has made the contribution that it has (despite
some weaknesses) because it has been able to operate
in a fexible way, to move with agility, and to take
calculated risks where appropriate. At the same
time, the formal link with the DST has provided it with
legitimacy and credibility, both essential to its success.
Other institutions could have undertaken some of
COFISA’s initiatives (including the DST itself, and other
entities at a national or provincial level), but COFISA’s
facilitating and enabling role required the unique
characteristics of being closely linked and allied to DST,
while at the same time distinct from it.
• With the perspective that ‘learning’ articulates in
one word what COFISA’s goal is at the highest level (to
enable the innovation system to learn to function more
efectively), while at the same time understanding that
learning can often imply refecting on ways that would
have improved performance, it is useful to identify
those areas where improvement is seen to have been
possible and of value.
• Although COFISA has been a programme of the DST
(and the MFA), there is little evidence that mindsets
have been changed signifcantly in DST. For example,
it appears that there is little progress in addressing the
issue of research and technology push, versus asking
the questions: What is the value that can be added?
What is the role of innovation in creating jobs? This is, of
course, a huge task.
• More attention could have been paid to some of the
‘hygiene factors’ that are important in building a culture
of innovation. For example, understanding helpful and
unhelpful ways of communicating with people must be
learned, either implicitly from experiencing and
observing the behaviour of others, or by being
explicitly taught.
• There has been substantial exposure to Finnish
expertise and experience, both through the visits
of Finnish experts, and through local practitioners
undertaking a number of study tours of Finland. Many
well-intended, follow-up actions were initiated with
Finnish colleagues but everyday pressures and priorities
pushed these action plans aside. COFISA did not pay
sufcient attention to establishing a knowledge-sharing
community to support such actions and to encourage
and stimulate ongoing linkages and relationship
building. Yet, it is such linkages that lead to unexpected
opportunities for growth and development in a wide
range of areas (e.g. economic, research, innovation).
• COFISA’s staf were based in Pretoria and in Cape Town.
There was thus a lack of physical presence in the Eastern
Cape that was addressed in part by short-term visits.
With the beneft of hindsight is it clear that as a
province, the Eastern Cape responded to COFISA’s
interventions with far more commitment and results
on the ground than did the Western Cape. While there
may be several reasons for this (which are not analysed
here) it can be cogently argued that had COFISA had
a permanent presence in the Eastern Cape, results with
a greater positive impact would have been achieved
there. While hindsight was obviously not available
at the time the decision was made to place the staf
member, it may be asked whether adequate foresight
was applied, or whether a simplistic assumption
was made that because the Western Cape is a more
economically developed province, the case was clear
cut that COFISA’s presence in that province was to
be preferred.
There was i ni t i al l y
consi der abl e conf usi on
amongst COFI SA st akehol der s
bet ween what was ref er red
t o as COFI SA’s progr amme of
‘ Cent res of Exper t i se’ and t he
DST’s Cent res of Compet ence
( CoC) progr amme.
The term ‘Centre of Expertise’ was derived from the
Finnish programme upon which COFISA’s approach was
based. COFISA subsequently rebranded their
programme as Activator™.
Despite the similarity in the
(initial) names, there are signifcant diferences between
these two programmes, in terms of approach and focus.
DST’s CoC programme was already defned (at least
on paper) prior to COFISA commencing. With greater
sensitivity to the potential for confusion, and adequate
linkages and lines of communication with DST, the
controversy could have easily been avoided, along with
the resultant ill feeling, as well as delay to the
Activator™ programme.
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|o¸e ¹34 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e ¹35
Department of Science and Technology South Africa (October 2007).
Innovation towards a Knowledge Economy. The Ten Year Plan for South
Africa (2008 – 2018). Department of Science and Technology, South Africa.
Planting, S. (6 April 2007). From Aid to Trade. Financial Mail.
Department of Science and Technology South Africa (August 2002). South
Africa’s National Research and Development Strategy.
sa_nat_rd_strat .pdf
Department of Science and Technology South Africa (October 2007).
Innovation towards a Knowledge Economy. The Ten Year Plan for South
Africa (2008 – 2018). Department of Science and Technology, South Africa.
Finnsight 2015
Lemola, T. (2001). Management of Engineering and Technology, 2001.
PICMET apos: 01. Portland International Conference, Vol 1, Issue 2001,
p. 483.
Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (2006). Science
Competencies for Tomorrow’s World. Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development (OECD).
Research.f – Finnish Science and Technology Information Service.
Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland (2006). Science,
Technology, Innovation.
Series of publications: Science and Technology Policy Council of Finland.
Tapper, H. (2001). The Potential Risks of the Local in the Global Information
Society. Journal of Social Philosophy, Winter 2000, vol.31, no. 4, pp. 524-534,
Blackwell Publishing, USA
Further Reading
Carlsson, B.; Jacobsson, S.; Holmen, M. & Rickne, A. (2002). Innovation Systems:
Analytical and Methodological Issues. Research Policy, 31, pp. 233-245.
Freeman, C. (1988). The Economics of Industrial Innovation. Pinter, London.
Metcalfe, S. & Ramlogan, R. (2008). Innovation Systems and the Competitive
Process in Developing Economies. The Quarterly Review of Economics and
Finance, Vol 48:2, May 2008, pp. 433-446.
Ministry for Foreign Afairs of Finland (2005). The Guidelines of ICT and
Information Society in Finnish Development Cooperation.
Ministry for Foreign Afairs of Finland (2007). Development Policy
Programme 2007: Towards a Sustainable and Just World Community.
Government Decision-in-Principle 2007. Helsinki: Ministry for Foreign
Afairs of Finland.
Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö (2008). Kansallinen innovaatiostrategia. Helsinki:
Työ - ja elinkeinoministeriö [Ministry of Employment and the Economy].
Department of Science and Technology South Africa (2002). South Africa’s
National Research and Development Strategy. The Government of the
Republic of South Africa. Pretoria.
sa_nat_rd_strat .pdf
Edquist, C. (2001). The Systems of Innovation Approach and Innovation
Policy: An Account of the State of the Art. Lead Paper presented at the
DRUID Conference, June 2001.
Godinho, M.M.; Mendonca, S.F. & Pereira, T.S. (2003). Mapping Innovation
Systems: A Framework Based on Innovation Data and Indicators. Globelics
Conference Paper.
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (2008).
Open Innovation In Global Networks. OECD Publications, Paris.
Varis, M. and Pellikka, J. (2004). Local Technology Policy in the Kuopio
Region: A System of Innovation Perspective. Department of Business and
Management, University of Kuopio. In: 13th Nordic Conference on Small
Business Research, Tronsö, Norway, 10. - 12.6.2004.
|o¸e ¹36 ' (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co (oo¡e·o||o· |·o·e.o·| o· |··o.o||o· ´,·|e·· /e|.ee· ||·|o·J o·J ´oo|| ^|·|co ' |o¸e ¹3.
Further Reading
COFISA Document Library includes reports and other
material on various Foresight exercises conducted in
South Africa in the period 2007 – 2009.
European Science and Technology Foresight Knowledge
Sharing Platform
Foresight for Development Africa
Futures Research Methodology CD (Version 3.0) - the
largest, most comprehensive, internationally peer-
reviewed collection of Foresight methods and tools.
Millennium Project. State of the Future Report is a “report
card on the future” produced annually since 1997 by the
Millennium Project.
Proceedings of the EU-US Scientifc Seminar: New
Technology Foresight, Forecasting & Assessment Methods
Segal, N. (2007). Breaking the Mould: The Role of Scenarios
in Shaping South Africa’s Future.
South Africa Node of the Millennium Project (2007) ISBN
Case Study
Border Rural Committee (May 2009). Integrated
Local Economic Development Plan for Northern
www.cofsa.org.za/pdfs/brc_iledp_nk.pdf; after July 2010
- http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
Umhlaba Rural Services (May 2009). Introduction to the
Leader approach to Rural Development in South Africa: A
Comparison and Assessment.
Further Reading
Activator, The Innovation Hub
OSKE – Centre of Expertise Programme, Finland
Innovating Regions in Europe
Turku Science Park, Finland
Activator Partners
ESKOM Innovation Circuit (power utility)
Meraka Institute (CSIR, South Africa)
Vodacom (mobile operator)
Browne, D. & Leitch, A. (2009). Case Study of Telkom
South Africa’s Centre of Excellence Postgraduate Research
Programme. In: IST-Africa 2009 Conference Proceedings,
6-8 May, Uganda.
Eriksson, M.; Niitamo, V.-P & Kulkki, S. (2005). State-of-
the-Art and Good Practice in the Field of Living Labs.
Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on
Concurrent Enterprising: Innovative Products and Services
through Collaborative Networks, Milan, Italy, 2006, pp.
Madon, S.; Reinhard, N.; Roode, D. & Walsham, G. (2009).
Digital Inclusion Projects in Developing Countries:
Processes of Institutionalization. Information Technology
for Development, Vol 15, No. 2, pp. 95-107.
Mulder I.; Velthausz D.; & Kriens M. (2008). The Living
Labs Harmonization Cube: Communicating Living Labs’
Essentials. In: Electronic Journal for Virtual Organizations
and Networks, 10, pp. 1-14.
Parker M. B.; Wills, G. B. & Wills, J. (2008). Community in
Tension (CiT). ECSTR-LSL08-002 ISBN: 978-0-620-42256-7.
Wealthy Mind Publishers.
Ståhlbröst, A. (2008). Forming Future IT: The Living Lab
Way of User Involvement. Unpublished PhD Thesis,
Luleå University of Technology Department of Business
Administration and Social Sciences, Division of
Informatics, Finland.
Stoecker, R. (2005). Is Community Informatics Good for
Communities? In: The Journal of Community Informatics,
1(3), pp. 13-26.
Further Reading
Dwesa eCommerce Website
Siyakhula Living Labs
Siyakhula Living Lab Booklet
09.pdf; after July 2010 http://www.dst.gov.za/links/cofsa
Kakko, I. (2008). Report on the Limited-Scope Feasibility
Study into the Establishment of an East London IDZ
Science Park.
Lamprecht S. (2007). Report on the Findings of the
Prefeasibility Study into Establishing Science Park Activity
in the Eastern and Western Cape.
Segal, N. (2008). Science and Technology Parks and
Economic Development: Lessons from European
Experience. IASP XXVth World Conference Proceedings,
2008. http://www.iasp.ws/publico/jsp/herramientas/
Further Reading
Department for International Development (DFID).
Monitoring, Evaluation and Lesson Learning Guidelines.
International Institute for Communication and
Development (IICD) (2008). Monitoring and Evaluation for
learning - IICD’s unique approach.
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) (2002).
Handbook on Monitoring and Evaluating for Results.
World Bank (2004). Monitoring & Evaluation: Some Tools,
Methods & Approaches.
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Further Reading
European Innovation Scoreboard
INNO-Policy TrendChart Annual Country Reports
OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy
OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard
PRO INNO Europe website
Neville Comins
Neville Comins is currently
the Chief Technical Advisor
for COFISA, having been the
National Innovation Advisor
from June 2008 to March
2009. He was previously
the founding CEO of The
Innovation Hub, the frst full
member of IASP (International
Association of Science Parks)
in Africa and elected a Board
Member of IASP from 2004-
06. He has been involved in
innovation and science park
programmes in South Africa,
Namibia, Botswana, Senegal
and Mozambique. Previously he held positions at the CSIR of Director of
the Division of Materials Science and Technology, and later Director of
Business Development (Integrated Projects). Neville holds a PhD degree
in Physics from Cambridge University, is a member of the Academy of
Science of South Africa and an Honorary Professor of the University of
the Witwatersrand.
Bob Day
Born in the UK, Bob Day
immigrated to South
Africa 35 years ago after
receiving his PhD in
Applied Physics at Imperial
College, University of
London. Since the 1980s
he has been applying
Science, Technology
and Innovation (STI),
supplemented by ICTs,
Knowledge Management,
and Foresight to
alleviate poverty and
promote socio-economic
development. He held
senior positions in the
Medical Research Council,
the CSIR and UNISA, but in
2003 he founded Non-Zero-Sum Development to pursue this passion
in a more focused way. Non-Zero-Sum Development is working with
leading development organisations, regional and national research
organisations, as well as several national government institutions on a
range of STI initiatives in many African countries.
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Daan du Toit
Daan du Toit has
held various senior
positions, frst in
the South African
Department of
Foreign Afairs and
since 2002 in the
newly established
of Science and
Technology, related
to the South Africa’s
international scientifc
and technological
cooperation. This
included responsibility for establishing and managing
the European South African Science and Technology
Advancement Programme - a dedicated platform to
promote scientifc and technological cooperation
between South Africa and the European Union. He has
also represented South Africa in various multilateral
forums such as the OECD and the United Nations, and
managed strategic bilateral cooperation partnerships.
In October 2006 he was appointed as the South African
Department of Science and Technology’s Senior Science
and Technology Representative to the European Union,
a position based at the South African Mission to the
European Union in Brussels where he holds the position of
Minister Counsellor.
Aki Enkenberg
Aki Enkenberg
(M.Soc.Sc) currently
works as a Senior
Advisor on
Innovations in the
Confederation of
Finnish Industries
EK in Helsinki,
Finland. He worked
as the Junior
Professional Ofcer
in COFISA between
October 2006 and
March 2009. Before
COFISA he was
employed as an
Advisor and Project
Manager in TIEKE
Finnish Information
Society Development Centre in Helsinki.
Peter Greenwood
Peter Greenwood
is a director of the
that is focused on
contributing to
national, regional
and international
initiatives in the
areas of knowledge
ecology, the
society, the future,
and innovation
with the purpose
of alleviating
poverty and promoting socio-economic development
throughout Africa, through the application of science,
technology, information and communication technology
(ICT) and innovation. He has been involved in a wide
range of initiatives including the development of national
science, technology and innovation strategy, designing
interventions in innovation systems, rural development
and monitoring and evaluation.
Thando Gwintsa
Thando Gwintsa
was born in Alice
in the Eastern Cape
and holds a Higher
National Diploma in
Medical Laboratory
Sciences from Ireland
with a specialisation
in Histopathology.
He further obtained
Masters degrees
in Business
and Safety, Health
and Environmental
from Australia. His
career started as
a lecturer in the
medical laboratory
sciences and he later joined the Lesotho Highlands
Water Project as a Project Medical Biologist. This was
followed by a position as the projects, safety, health and
environmental monitor under the employ of the Lesotho
Highlands Development Authority. He contributed
in the development of public health epidemiological
baseline studies, water and sanitation as well as the health
impacts of resettling communities impacted by the dam
construction. He currently works for the East London
Industrial Development Zone as an Executive Manager
in charge of Investor Services. As part of his portfolio
he deals with Safety Health and Environment, skills
development and SMME development. He is currently
championing the development of a science park in
support of innovation in the Eastern Cape.
Tina James
Tina James has
more than 25
years experience
working on
various aspects of
ICTs in developing
Africa). Work
undertaken to
date has drawn on
her wide range of
experience in the
management of
projects in the
felds of ICTs and
ICT policy
and strategy
development, and programme design. She was Senior
Advisor to the Canadian International Development
Research Centre’s (IDRC) Acacia Programme, which
focused on ICTs for Development in sub-Saharan Africa.
Her prior work experience includes various ICT-related
management positions at the CSIR. She has operated
as an independent consultant since 1997 and recently
established icteum consulting, based in South Africa.
Tina has been involved in various STI activities including
as project leader for the Department of Science and
Technology’s ICT Technology Roadmapping initiative; was
a member of the DST’s Foresight ICT working group, and
recently reviewed the Lesotho S&T policy (UNCTAD). She
has worked with the Maxum Incubator (The innovation
Hub) since 2007 to support the development of women
entrepreneurs in technology-enabled businesses. Tina
has edited several publications including An Information
Policy Handbook for Southern Africa and ICTs for
Development in Africa (Networking Institutions of
Learning). She is an associate lecturer at the University
of the Witwatersrand’s LINK Centre in Johannesburg,
South Africa.
Lauri Kuukasjärvi
Lauri Kuukasjärvi
(M.Sc.) worked in
COFISA as the Chief
Technical Adviser
between September
2006 and March 2009.
Prior to that Lauri
was in charge of the
Centre of Expertise
Programme (CoE)
in Lahti Science and
Business Park in Finland
from 1999 to 2006.
During the years 1981 –
1999 he worked at the
University of Helsinki
in SME training and
development, regional
and rural projects
and international
activities. Currently he works with the Regional Council of
Päijät-Häme in Finland and as short term expert in rural
development in international programmes. He is a partner
in Sustainable Innovation – Susinno Ltd.
Ilari Patrick Lindy
Ilari Patrick Lindy is Advisor at the Department of
Development Policy in the Ministry for Foreign Afairs
(MFA) of Finland. He works on strategic development
of the MFA’s global policies and instruments related
to information society; and science, technology and
innovation in the context of development cooperation.
He has previously served as Counsellor on ICT4D for the
Ministry at the Embassy of Finland in South Africa; Senior
Expert for the European Network and Information Security
Agency (ENISA) and Project Ofcer at the European
Commission DG Information Society. He has an MA in
Communications Science from Helsinki University. He is
currently co-chair of the European Expert Group of the
EU-Africa strategic partnership (No 8) focusing on science,
technology, information society and space.
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Rasigan Maharajh
Rasigan Maharajh is
currently Chief Director of
the Institute for Economic
Research on Innovation
(IERI) based at the Tshwane
University of Technology. He
was previously the Head of
the Policy Group at the CSIR
following his deployment
as National Coordinator of
the Science and Technology
Policy Transition Project
for South Africa’s frst
democratic government.
Prior to 1994, he worked in the non-governmental sector
concerned with literacy, education and human resource
development whilst simultaneously holding elected
leadership positions within various student, youth and
organised labour structures of the mass democratic
movement and the African National Congress. Rasigan
is an active member of the Global Network for the
Economics of Learning, Innovation and Competence-
building Systems (GLOBELICS). and conducts research in
the feld of evolutionary political economy. This currently
involves numerous international, continental and regional
projects on the form, function and context of knowledge
generation, application and difusion in economic growth,
social development and democratic governance.
Mmboneni Muofhe
Mmboneni Muofhe is
the Chief Director for
International Resources
at the Department of
Science and Technology
(DST). He previously
served as Director for
Strategic Partnerships
and Global Projects in
the Department. He has
extensive experience
in the management of
science and technology
programmes which includes years of coordination,
implementation and management of the Technology and
Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP). This
is a South African public-private partnership programme
in research and development aimed at improving the
competitiveness of industry, based at the National
Research Foundation. He holds a B.Sc degree from
the University of Venda, Master of Science (M.Sc) from
the University of Cape Town and a Master of Business
Administration (MBA) from the University of Pretoria.
Marlon Parker
Marlon Parker is a social
entrepreneur and has
been an Information
Technology Lecturer
at the Cape Peninsula
University of Technology
(CPUT) since October
2000. He obtained
his Masters degree in
Information Technology
(cum laude) and is
currently busy with
his PhD at CPUT. He
is often invited by
many organisations and institutions (UCT Graduate
School of Business, University of Rhodes, schools, NGOs,
corporates) across the country as guest speaker on ICTs
for Community Empowerment. Marlon has also produced
several academic research papers, supervises post-
graduate students and co-authored the published book
The Social and Economical Impacts of E-commerce. He
was also one of the judges for the 2008 e-Commerce
Awards and was nominated in 2009 as one of the Top
Young South Africans by the Mail and Guardian. His
passion for community development has infuenced his
research interests and he is currently working on a project
titled Using ICT as a Change Agent to Empower Citizens
in a Community in Tension (CiT) 1. The Advice Support
Network was borne out of these eforts and serves more
than 40,000 people across South Africa with social related
issues using their mobile phones.
Thomas Pogue
Thomas Pogue is a
Visiting Research
Fellow at the Institute
for Economic Research
and Innovation (IERI),
which is part of the
Faculty of Economics
and Finance,
Tshwane University
of Technology. His
research focuses on
three inter-related
themes: collaborative
innovation, human resource mobility, and systems of
innovation. Prior to joining IERI, he worked at several
research institutes including the CSIR, the University of
Cape Town’s Development Policy Research Unit, and the
University of Nevada’s Center for Economic Development.
In that work an initial concern with sustainable regional
economic development in rural mineral dependent
communities evolved into an interest in the economics of
technological change and its relationship to development.
He has taught economics at several higher education
institutions, including Maastricht University in The
Netherlands, the University of Cape Town, and the
University of Nevada, Reno in the United States.
Reuben Rammbuda
Reuben Rammbuda
(currently completing
his M.Sc) is the
Programme Manager
for the Limpopo
Living Lab initiative.
He held several
positions in Limpopo
Agencies where
his main duties
were strategy
development and
leadership. His
interest is in developing business models, strategies and
a sustainable ecosystem of partnerships on strategic
projects and programmes in Limpopo. He worked for
LimDev (Limpopo Enterprise Development), Absa Bank,
Trade and Investment Limpopo (TIL) and the Small
Enterprise Development Agency(SEDA), before joining the
Ofce of the Premier-Limpopo as Programme Manager
of the Limpopo Living Lab. He was the chairperson of the
Limpopo Information Society Coordinating Committee
(LISCC) which monitored the conceptualisation of
INSPIRE and the Limpopo Living Lab initiatives. Reuben
made signifcant contributions to the National System
of Innovation as part of the Science Park Strategy
Development Core Team and numerous innovation
activities in the region. He made contributions to the
development of the Limpopo Integrated Innovation
System framework and the Limpopo Living Lab
feasibility and business plan. Reuben remains key to the
implementation of the Limpopo Living Lab (renamed
the Limpopo Technology Innovation Hub). He is part of a
network of Living Lab specialists and is a Board member of
the Living Labs in Southern Africa (LLiSA) network.
Stanley Ridge
Professor Stanley
Ridge is Pro-Vice-
Chancellor of the
University of the
Western Cape.
He studied at the
Universities of Natal,
York (UK), British
Columbia and
Stellenbosch, and
taught at Stellenbosch
for ten years before
becoming Professor
of English at the
University of the
Western Cape in
1979. Professor Ridge
has a wide range of
interests, not least in the interface between academe
and society. In that connection he has been a member of
the National Science Park Forum and of the group which
drafted the national science parks strategy. He is currently
President of the
English Academy of
Southern Africa.
Kobus Roux
Kobus Roux is an
electronics engineer
with 15 years
experience in the
research and
development of
radio frequency
and wireless
systems, network
architectures and
protocols, and
information systems.
He is employed as
Competence Area Manager of the Emerging Innovations
group at the CSIR Meraka Institute, a national R&D
organisation. Kobus is interested in applying technology
through innovative business models and has a passion
for working on improving opportunities for people in
Africa with technology, bottom-of-the-pyramid and
grassroots approaches.
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Nirvashnee Seetal
Nirvashnee has a B.Sc
(Hons) in Geography
and Environmental
Management from
the University of
Natal and an M.Sc in
Environmental Studies
from the University of
the Witwatersrand. She
has held positions in the
Department of Water
Afairs and Forestry,
the Innovation Fund
and the Department of
Science and Technology. Nirvashnee has been the South
African National Coordinator (Director) of the Cooperation
Framework on Innovation Systems between Finland and
South Africa (COFISA) from November 2006 to February
Thembinkosi Daniel Semwayo
Thembinkosi holds
a B.A. degree in
Economics and
Geography, and
an M.Sc in Geo-
Information Systems.
Thembinkosi has over
ten years experience
in Geographical
Information Systems
design, business
strategy development,
innovation mapping
and knowledge
engineering. He has,
from 2007 – 2009,
been the Western
Cape Coordinator for the Foresighting project of the
Cooperation Framework on Innovation Systems between
Finland and South Africa (COFISA). He has participated
in provincial and industrial sector-specifc Foresighting
and scenario planning exercises in the Eastern Cape,
Western Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng provinces of
South Africa. Thembinkosi has founded three companies:
Phuhlisani Solutions, Knowledge Crucible, and Ontolligent
Software Services. He sits on the boards of Phuhlisani
Solutions and Knowledge Crucible, and is currently the
Managing Director of Ontolligent Software Services.
Helena Tapper
Helena Tapper
has a Licentiate
and Master’s
Degree in Political
Sciences and a
Master’s Degree in
Forest Economics,
University of
Helsinki, Finland.
She has received
several academic
awards and
amongst them
a Fulbright
Scholarship to
study knowledge
economy at the
University of
California Los
Angeles and MIT,
Boston. She has a strong academic background: she was a
senior lecturer in communications studies, specialising in
knowledge economy and globalisation at the University
of Helsinki. She has an extensive list of publications in
this feld. Ms. Tapper coordinates and supervises a cluster
of four Science and Technology programmes in South
Africa and Southern Africa: Innovation Systems, ICT for
Development, Information Society Strategy in South
Africa, and a Biosciences programme with NEPAD. A
Regional Innovation Support Programme in Southern
Africa is currently in the preparatory phase. She is a
speaker at international conferences on these topics.
Helena Tapper is currently chairing a Donor Working
Group in Science, Technology and Innovation in South
Africa. She has chaired and coordinated, together with
the World Bank, EU and Department of Science and
Technology (South Africa), two Regional Workshops on
Science, Technology and Innovation. These Regional
Workshops have brought together 17 African, particularly
SADC countries, to discuss the needs and development
of Science, Technology and Innovation in their countries.
Ms. Tapper worked from 2001 to 2005 as a Senior Advisor
in ICT4D at the Inter-American Development Bank
in Washington DC. Before coming to South Africa in
2007, she worked as a Senior Advisor for International
Programmes in the Finnish Information Society Centre
in Finland.
Alfredo Terzoli
Alfredo Terzoli
(Laurea in Physics,
UNIPA, Italy)
is Professor of
Computer Science
at Rhodes University
(South Africa),
where he heads
the Telkom Centre
of Excellence
in Distributed
Multimedia. He
also serves as the
Research Director of
the Telkom Centre of
Excellence in ICT for
Development at the
nearby University of Fort Hare. His main areas of academic
interest are convergence in telecommunication and ICT for
development. Prof Terzoli has a long history of experience
in teaching, research and postgraduate supervision. He
manages several international research projects.
Rudi van der Walt
Rudi started his
career as a chemical
engineer in the
and chlor-alkali
industries. He also
lectured operations
and technology
management at
UNISA’s Graduate
School of Business
Leadership. After a
number of years at
the CSIR as business
manager, he
established the
CSIR’s venturing company Technovent (Pty) Ltd. This
company formed, developed and sold technology
companies based on CSIR technologies. Presently, he is
Director: Technology Transfer at the North-West University,
which has been responsible for preparing the business
plan for the North-West Science Park. Rudi owned a
technology business in his earlier years, which stimulated
him in developing a passion to help technology and
innovative entrepreneurs. He developed various
approaches to guide these entrepreneurs through the
difcult start-up phase, when little support is available.
He is mentoring a number of start-ups, of which most
are in the Maxum incubator of the Innovation Hub in
Pretoria. Apart from transferring university technologies
to industry, he is also establishing a Regional Innovation
System in the arid areas of Southern Africa around the
North West Province.
Ashley Westaway
Ashley Westaway
recently took up an
Ashoka Fellowship.
These prestigious
fellowships are
awarded to
outstanding social
around the world.
Ashley’s fellowship
will run from 2010
to 2012, during
which he hopes to
pioneer innovative
approaches to
integrated rural development in the Keiskammahoek area of
the former Ciskei Bantustan. He was the Managing Director
of Border Rural Committee (a prominent rural development
NGO in the Eastern Cape) from January 1997 to January 2010.
He is a historian who holds a Doctorate in Literature and
Philosophy, awarded to him by the University of Fort Hare in
2009. His current research interests include the production
of historical truths in post-1994 South Africa, contemporary
history of the former Bantustans, and the restitution and
processes of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
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