Department of Science and Innovation
The results of the latest Business Innovation Survey (BIS) 2014-2016 have been released.
In a statement, the science and innovation department indicated that, according to the survey, 69,9% of South African businesses are innovation-active.
The Centre for Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators (CeSTII), a unit of the Human Sciences Research Council, carries out the BIS on behalf of the department.
The department facilitates the survey as a partner within the national statistics system, with the support of Statistics South Africa.
According to the higher education, science and technology minister, Blade Nzimande, the BIS was “undertaken in South Africa to produce indicators on business sector innovation performance, which helps the government and stakeholders to understand the nature, determinants and impacts of innovation. Such information is useful in shaping government
policy on how to better promote innovation in order to boost inclusive economic growth and competitiveness”.
New data on innovation in South African businesses was also important in informing the implementation of the objectives of the 2019 White Paper on Science, Technology and Innovation.
“The survey results are being published at a time when businesses are being forced to become innovative in order to survive in the unusual circumstances created by the outbreak of COVID-19. With stringent safety regulations to combat the spread of the virus, the products and services
sectors need to innovate to ensure people’s safety and business continuity”, said Nzimande.
According to the survey, innovative South African businesses engaged in four types of innovation. 48% carried out product innovation activities, 42,0% organisational innovation, 41,7% marketing innovation, and 34,6% process innovation.
Meanwhile, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), an entity of the department – working with a number of local partners – has completed work on a local ventilator to be rolled out nationwide to patients showing respiratory distress in the early stages of COVID-19 infection.
The local ventilator forms part of government’s National Ventilator Project under the auspices of the trade, industry and competition department and is supported by the Solidarity Fund.
“The CSIR solution is a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device that uses an innovative design to provide a mild level of oxygenated air pressure to keep the airways open and, thus, assist with breathing.”
The CSIR is also, in conjunction with a local partner, working on a Bi-level positive airway pressure ventilator for patients with more severe symptoms.