I think SA has potential to be at the forefront of industrial innovation globally, I mean we've got the science institutes, funding organizations, know-how capacity...and so forth and so on...etc..etc....
I definitely think so too.We do BUT I also think that we have to work more on cultivating this at the basic level, ie, school & varsity. Competitivenesss is an outcome of many things including education. We have a big challenge of making sure we sustain that innovation by bringing in fresh talent in science, mathematics and technology. At the moment we are not doing vey well on that front. We can learn from Malaysia, China and South Korea.
My point is I agree with that sentiment. I also think that we should do more to make sure that innovation is sustained and that we keep a constant supply of that capacity at mass scale. There is a study that shows that we have less and less young scientists coming from varsity. The current ones are growing old.
Million dollar question!
In my view, it all depends on the extent to which we embrace the concept of knowledge capital in our organizations, and society in general. Whatever happens in the learning insititutions should be driven by what is demanded in the industry (skills, knowledge, innovation, etc), as well as what society percieves to be valuable capital. If the industry in general still banks on mineral resources (because they are a safe bet), and does not factor knowledge capital in the mix, sooner or later the need for innovation will cripple the economy. Perhaps that would be jerk out of the comfort zone. We are not even doing that well on the minerals front. We send them out for processing and buy them back. That's slowly changing but largely so.
Of course the ideal situation would be to get a smooth (hopefully quick) transition into a technology economy. That may not be the case, given the education situation amongst other things. As mentioned in the first comment, competitiveness in techonology will happen downstream. So do we sit and wait till the country's educational imbalances come to ideal? I dont think so. It will take a few industry leaders to innovate, and leverage on whatever has been created and developed so far. In any lifecycle, the bulk group will only follow once there has been signs of success from the first pioneers.
Easier said than done, but possible.
Thanks to you, Phomello, for the thought-provoking topic.
I believe we should consider looking into establishing an organization that will be positioned to cultivate a culture of innovation throughout our learning institutes i.e. junior-high, tech-colleges and through to varsity....etc-
SA needs to be consciountized of the benefits/advantages of harnessing innovation as a commercial tool-, it would be fatal for us to generally assume a Patrice Motsepe mindset or Harry Oppeinheimer for that "coin" as the only route to commercial developement etc...we need to explore other avenues Pronto!, the next 10-20yrs will be very critical in determining who the next generation global leaders will be in terms of technological acumen etc....
So...yes...I strongly feel that time is severely critical for our development&progress as a nation, we simply cannot afford to be content with the level of feats we've mustered thus far....We must staunchly adopt a mindset of "Most Innovative Nation on Earth"....anything less, simply will never DO!
The Clock is ticking....what are We/You prepared to do to get this country AIRBORNE???