The Innovation Summit is in full swing with an exciting line up of speakers, innovators, start-up and entrepreneurs all mixing and mashing whilst taking in the wealth of information.
It is all about Home-Grown innovations and solving local problem by not blindly following what the US and Europe are doing. It is sad to hear that South Africa has fallen by 16 points on the global innovation index from 43 to 59 which is the reason conferences such as this are critical.
The Innovation Summit brings together various role-players from business, to government to academics all with the purpose of sharing their knowledge to overcome local South African issues. Something that I witnessed first hand whilst attending the event.
Peter Greenwall started of the event and taught the enthusiastic audience many new terms that ring so true.
My personal favourites are:
- WTF – that stands for Why The Fail ? – this is the method innovators look at why things fail and create solutions to fix it.
- Insipiragilism – this is where you take someone idea and copy, paste and adapt it
- Errorthaughtical – recognise where something is wrong and innovate a solution to fix it.
With every event such as this I look for those special stands/ products/ service.
The first one is CommunityLED. This is a company run by Steve and Steve who provide a solar power business in a box. The system is different to other solar power systems due to the fact that it is light-weight as it doesn’t use a typical “gate motor 12v battery”. The system comes with 3 bright LED lights & yet energy efficient. It also has a USB slot to charge cell phones. The entire kit is sold at R500 which includes training and whose aim is to encourage entrepreneurs to sell this unit in their community as a safer alternative to paraffin lights. Entrepreneurs can also sell charging time to charge cell phones as an additional revenue stream. The system also works well for campers and people who want a backup in case Eskom loses power again.
The Technology Innovation Agency is someone that you need to speak to if you have an innovative idea that needs mentorship and funding. The Agency will take you through each step, provide guidance and fund to bring your idea to life. They do not offer “cash” but they offer vouchers for various partner companies eg. voucher to use tooling or machinery etc. This is an effective way to control spending and avoid mismanagement of funds.
The Technology Innovation Agency is about to launch a Youth fund catering for those people be tween 18 and 30 years old who have innovative idea and need help.
[update: Youth Fund launched - more details here]
I was shot in Joburg is a great project that started in 2009 that set out to provide a platform for former street kids, who received photography training to apply their skills to generate income. The kids shot scenes in Joburg (and Cape Town) which are printed on canvas. Each child earns revenue from every picture that is sold however in order to access their money, they have to take part in an entrepreneurial course. I urge companies to get involved wit this business.
Hands on Tech were there to showcase the Lego Education which is the building blocks (pun intended) for children development. There are varying levels of Lego system from pre-primary school to primary school to high school. Each level incorporates various elements of Robotics such as pullies, levers, cogs right up to programmatic robotics that interact with the world using 5 senses. These systems should be part of every school curriculum. In fact 10 students from SA will be flying off to the World Robotics Olympiad