Transformative Innovation Policy in South Africa: The TIPC initiative

Chux Daniels / Sepo Hachigonta |

Part 1 of 2

South Africa (SA) has been transforming since the abolition of apartheid in 1994. A central part of this process, has been the positioning of the science and technology (STI) landscape as a key driver for social economic advancements. When examining South Africa’s innovation policy, a striking feature is the parallels that can be drawn between their objectives and those that form the rationale for Transformative Innovation Policy (TIP). Various TIP characteristics are encapsulated in South Africa’s policy frameworks. The approach followed within the Transformative Innovation Policy Consortium (TIPC) is to promote innovation policies and practices that respond to social and environmental needs, inclusion, poverty reduction and employment. The sphere for focus and expansion will be the policy tools and mechanisms to ‘actualize’ these policy objectives.

With examination; experimentation; coproduction of knowledge; training and evaluation, TIPC can act as a focal point and further learning instrument to assist in achieving change.  The initiative will specifically focus on activities aligned to South Africa’s National Development Plan. While learning from the Consortium as a whole, issues relating to South Africa’s specific position must be fundamental. The TIPC project will ensure that the lessons from the Consortium feed into local issues which will make the subsequent phases of TIPC wholly relevant to the South African context supporting their positive societal and environmental change.

"We have a number of strategic initiatives within South Africa that look at evidence based policy making, TIP will further add value to these initiatives. Furthermore, there are already examples within the South African context with regards to ‘transformative policies’. The TIPC programme should leverage on what is already existing and at the same time learn and make positive linkages with other countries. We’re excited to see how the whole project will pan out. I hope though for the meetings to go beyond meetings so the initiative can practically contribute to the formulation and monitoring of policies in South Africa"

Sepo Hachigonta, National Research Foundation (NRF)

"There is no doubt that innovation is an important economic and sometimes social development intervention that fosters value-add through competitiveness. A deliberate policy on innovation provides for incubation and transformation of research outputs into tangible goods and service. However, like any other development intervention, it will be important to monitor and evaluate the policy and its accompanying programmes and projects to ensure that it is delivering. Therefore, the TIPC activities can be envisaged as a starting point for developing an explicit results’ chain and framework that will allow us to monitor and evaluate this intervention"

Kambidima Wotela, TIPC South African Team, On behalf of NRF

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