People 'n' Issues

Calling SA innovators

August 28th, 2015
A recent Philips study has revealed that most South Africans think that they are sitting on the “next big thing”

Philips South Africa has announced the South African results of an Innovation research study (conducted in 5 African countries), which aimed to understand what South African citizens think of innovation, perceived barriers to innovation and areas where successful innovation could improve lives. Following the results, Philips has committed to providing an opportunity for South Africans to highlight their meaningful innovations in the field of healthcare with the launch of the South African Innovation Fellows Competition.

“Africa is filled with opportunities and we have long seen this potential. Upon entering South Africa over 100 years ago, we have been committed to delivering meaningful innovations,” said JJ Van Dongen, senior vice president and CEO of Philips Africa. “Following our research, we now want to show our support in offering South Africans the opportunity to showcase their own tangible innovations that can fundamentally change and improve the lives of others. We are committed to delivering on our promise of ‘innovation and you’ and will support the entrants as they realise their success.”

Survey Findings

With 60% of South Africans considering themselves to be innovators (59% female vs 62% male), 20% of respondents said that they are not reliant on others to create solutions. Innovation is also deeply rooted in people who are educated, independent in their businesses or hold senior positions in companies.

High confidence levels where noted amongst young black and Indian people living in more developed areas, whose innovations were often conceptualised. Finding daily innovative solutions to everyday problems was higher among young people (74%) in comparison to older respondents (26%).

57% of correspondents indicated a lack of money as a key barrier, 29% highlighted poor infrastructure, 23% mentioned an unsupportive corporate culture and 22% government regulations as barriers to innovation. More expectation was placed on big companies to offer the right support (42%) with expectations on government opportunities much lower (31%).

Most respondents found it easier to come up with innovations to social problems that impact their immediate communities with the likelihood of turning ideas into something tangible quite high. However, functionalities like money and motivation proved to be barriers.

A majority of participants identified Education (65.7%) and Healthcare (64.2%) fields as areas of opportunity in innovation and where the most beneficial results would be seen.

54.2% of respondents believed innovation should improve one’s life and the lives of others with 36.4% believing it should make daily life easier and more efficient.

In comparison to other markets on the continent (Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco and Egypt), Nigeria showed the highest overall score (69%) in believing they are innovators, followed by South Africa (60%), Kenya (54%), Egypt (28%) and finally Morocco (27%).

All countries identified the same two sectors of Health and Education as areas that would have the highest impact on their lives (Healthcare 69.6% and Education 58%).

Four in ten people interviewed across the five markets are optimistic about their ideas being the ‘the next big thing’ with more than half of Kenyans (58%) and Nigerians (57%) being more positive followed by South Africans (46%).

Innovation Fellows Competition

Philips Africa in collaboration with The Innovation Hub in Pretoria is launching its first South African Innovation Fellows competition to unlock the talent and address locally relevant challenges in Healthcare.

If you believe that you have the next big meaningful innovation, Philips wants to know about it. Philips will be providing R200 000 as a research & development budget to the #nextbigidea in improving access to primary healthcare.

“We believe that everyone has the potential to change the way we live for the better. Submit your next big idea and we will help you make a real difference to the current challenges identified in our African Innovation Research report”, says Van Dongen.

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