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'A need to target more African technologists' says Accenture

'A need to target more African technologists' says Accenture

Accenture and partners, Transunion and The Da Vinci Institute, have officially closed entries for the annual Innovation Index 2017, themed 'ignite ingenuity', and adjudicators are evaluating the submissions.

The Accenture Innovation Index measures, recognises and rewards innovation and systems of innovation in organisations across South African public and private sectors every year. The Index is designed to provide a national benchmark for innovation, providing businesses and policymakers with an authoritative and objective snapshot of the state of innovation within their organisations and in South Africa.

Rory Moore, Innovation Lead at Accenture says that the innovative ideas coming from thousands of entrants have been outstanding. "There is no doubt that our independent adjudicators have a tough mission ahead as the calibre of submissions keeps improving year-on-year. This is exactly what we expected to see this year – some remarkable companies going all out to showcase their level of innovation and begin their all-important journey to becoming true innovation leaders."

Last year's Innovation Index highlighted that the pace at which South Africa is innovating needs to accelerate if the country hopes to continue to compete in the 21st century. The survey painted a worrying picture of 57% of companies scoring less than 52 points out of a possible 100 – they fall into the "innovation laggard" category. Only 29% could be categorised as innovation leaders.

According to Moore South Africa can do a lot more to support innovators and innovation in general.

"We have strong policy frameworks but these haven't translated into meaningful differences for entrepreneurs. Also, we are still largely focused on creating African industrialists. However, there is a need to target more African technologists. For example, each direct Technology job creates 5 more indirect jobs. As a result, this is huge when compared to the industrial norm of 1 direct job creating 1.3 indirect jobs. Data prices are excessively expensive and delay access to information and opportunity."

The country needs to tailor its approach to create a production line of worldly wise and street smart entrepreneurs, Moore adds, and also needs to speed up the registration process for new start-up businesses.

"In innovation and entrepreneurship you need to be able to adapt and improvise as you deal with the ups and downs of launching your new business or idea. There are however a few obstacles. We need to speed up the registration process for new start-up businesses. It should be easy and quick to start a business and get access to the necessary support from both public and private sectors," he says.

This year's results will be announced at the Accenture Innovation Conference 2017 in October.

"We're excited to see the quality of entries for this year's conference, once again indicative of the ingenuity of South Africans to tackle important issues facing business and society," comments Lee Naik, CEO TransUnion Africa. "We continue to be inspired by the creativity and opportunities this event showcases, and look forward to recognising the winners in October."

"The Accenture Innovation Index has indeed become a key player within the South African business community, allowing innovators across different industries to showcase their contributions towards the development of new and improved business related products and processes," says Professor Bennie Anderson, CEO of The Da Vinci Institute. "We are looking forward in meeting the winners at the conference in October."

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