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04 September 2017

Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators to conduct business innovation survey

Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)
Press Release

Human Sciences Research Council

Pretoria, Monday 4 September 2017 – In assessing the state of innovation amongst South African corporates, the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII) at the Human Sciences Research Council, will conduct the Business Innovation Survey 2014-2016.

South Africa’s Business Innovation Survey, covering the period 2014-2016, will examine the innovation activities in 5,000 enterprises—from small to very large, and across a range of industries.

In the same way that a company’s financial statement is an essential tool for performance monitoring and planning, the Business Innovation Survey delivers a national picture about what innovations are taking place, how they occur at firm-level, and what can be done to enhance innovation capacity.

Media will be briefed about the details of the survey on Tuesday 5 September 2017.  Media can participate via videoconferencing links to the HSRC offices.

The briefing will include statements by the Survey’s technical team concerning the aims, method, and expected outcomes of the research, as well as a statement from the Department of Science and Technology about the significance of the research for national policy.

Media is invited as follows:
Date            Tuesday 5 September 2017
Time            10h30-12h00
Venues        Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town

Cape Town
HSRC, 12th Floor, Plein Park Building (Opposite Revenue Office), Plein Street, Cape Town. Contact Jean Witten on 021 4668004 or email

The Atrium, 5th Floor, 430 Peter Mokaba Ridge, Berea
Contact: Ridhwaan Khan on 031 242 5400, 083 788 2786 or email:, or Hlengiwe Zulu at e-mail

HSRC Video Conference, 1st floor HSRC Library Human Sciences Research Council, 134 Pretorius Street, Pretoria. Contact Arlene Grossberg on 012 302 2811 e-mail:

Participants at the Cape Town venue will also have an opportunity to visit the ‘Innovation Survey Hub’, a dedicated research centre at the HSRC where all fieldwork will take place.

If you would like to participate online, please write to to arrange a remote link.

Manusha Pillai on or 0823893587
Adziliwi Nematandani on or 082 765 9191

Follow the conversation on #ResearchMatters #TransformingSociety #HSRC

Notes to the Editor

About the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC)

The HSRC was established in 1968 as South Africa’s statutory research agency and has grown to become the largest dedicated research institute in the social sciences and humanities on the African continent, doing cutting-edge public research in areas that are crucial to development.

Our mandate is to inform the effective formulation and monitoring of government policy; to evaluate policy implementation; to stimulate public debate through the effective dissemination of research-based data and fact-based research results; to foster research collaboration; and to help build research capacity and infrastructure for the human sciences.

The Council conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific research for public sector users, non-governmental organisations and international development agencies. Research activities and structures are closely aligned with South Africa’s national development priorities.

Join the conversation at:

For more information or to set up interviews, please contact:
Manusha Pillai
Mobile:  082 389 3587

Human Sciences Research Council

Tuesday 5 September 2017
HSRC (Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban)

As researchers at the HSRC, we take very seriously our role in generating new knowledge and informing public policy in South Africa.

Our CEO Crain Soudien has challenged us to confront the difficult reality in our current conditions, where we experience very negative GDP growth (, find jobs without people to fill them, and a growing proportion of our people without jobs, or the hope of every finding formal employment.

And according to the Statistics South Africa report on poverty trends in South Africa (released on 22 August 2017), 30.4 million South Africans were living in poverty in 2015, increasing from 27.3 million South Africans in 2011 (

Prof Soudien very recently urged:
“we cannot continue to do the same things and expect different results. We cannot continue to lament the high levels of poverty and inequality in our country, and continue to apply these same remedies.”

One of the most important ways in which we need to do things differently in South Africa is to recognise the changes that digital technology and innovation can bring to our lives and livelihoods. 

In other parts of the world, business and governments seek solutions in innovative technologies such as augmented reality, artificial intelligence, simulation and additive manufacturing, big data and analytics. 

In May this year, the World Economic Forum meeting in Durban encouraged African countries to recognise that ALL industries are being disrupted digitally.

Government, private sector and civil society actors, each in their own sphere and through partnerships, are urged to unlock the potential  of the digital economy,  “for citizen service delivery, customer experience and innovative solutions, for a better life for all”.

The historical constraints on development in African countries, however, mean that there is a high risk of being left even further behind, if we do not have the skills or infrastructure to support the  high-speed, widely available internet connectivity required.

This is the rapidly evolving context within which we in the Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators undertake our research on measuring science, technology and innovation in South Africa.

We need an evidence base of current and potential activity in the national system of innovation, if we are to find new ways to do different things. And through this survey we are interested in big policy questions:

How innovative are South African firms in the sectors that are key to our economic growth strategies?
1.    Are these firms doing the kinds of innovation that can contribute to employment generating and inclusive economic development?
2.    Do we have enough people with the skills to innovate, and to harness the potential of the digital economy?
3.    What are the main barriers that firms experience that hinder more innovative activity?

Such policy questions are answered globally through business innovation surveys, using a methodology developed over the past 25 years, and standardised in the Oslo Manual.

CeSTII has been conducting these surveys in South Africa on behalf of the Department of Science, Technology and Innovation since 2005.

The last nationally representative survey is now ten years old, covering the period 2005-2007. Government still uses