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The State of Innovation in South Africa

Doing business in the global economy has become far more challenging than ever. Start-ups can generate ideas to disrupt markets and compete for customers against enterprises, whilst the brick-and-mortar store down the road now finds itself competing against international retailers who can ship products to customers quicker and for less money than these companies are able to. Moreover, customers are more informed and thanks to mobile technology, the internet, and social networks are now empowered with the ability to make or break brands through viral service and customer experience feedback. 


A big part of surviving and even thriving in this challenging operating environment is the ability of businesses to innovate: To come up with new ideas that will keep operations, products and services fresh and distinguishes your company from its rivals by offering a unique value proposition or benefits for both existing and prospective customers. But what is the state of innovation in South Africa? Do South Africans see themselves as innovative and what do they deem to be their barriers to utilising their creativity to the benefit of their companies?


These questions forms the basis for Philips South Africa’s Innovation Research study, in which Philips asked people across South Africa about their perceptions of innovation, the barriers to innovation, and areas where successful innovation can improve communities and lives.


According to this study, six out of every ten South Africans interviewed (base of 1000) claim that they are innovators, whilst 20% feel that they are not reliant on others to come up with creative solutions to challenges. Almost half (46%) feel that their idea will be the next big thing in their industry.

What kind of innovation is required locally?

In South Africa, most (54%) respondents feel that innovation should improve lives, whilst 36% think that innovation should make daily life easier and more efficient. When it comes to areas for innovation to improve lives in South Africa, 64% of respondents see healthcare as a crucial sector. In addition, 34% of respondents view education as an area for innovation to improve communities whilst 24% feel health should be the area of focus.


Like the respondents, Philips also believes that everyone has the potential to change the way we live for the better and has partnered with The Innovation Hub in Pretoria to launch the first Innovation Fellows competition in South Africa. This competition aims to unlock local talent and address regionally relevant challenges in healthcare.


Innovators who believe that they have come up with the next big meaningful innovation stand a chance of winning R200 000 as a research and development budget for the next big idea in improving access to primary healthcare.

Interested participants can register at and submit their #nextbigidea in word or PDF format talking to the following topics:

  • The challenge being addressed
  • The technology solution
  • The social impact expected

If your idea is selected, you will be contacted directly to move on to the next phase of the competition.

To download the Innovation Research report & infographic or to get information on the Philips South Innovation Fellows Competition please visit:

September 03, 2015

For further information, please contact:

Radhika Choksey

Corporate Communications

Philips Group Communications - Africa

Tel : +31 62525 9000


About Royal Philips

Royal Philips (NYSE: PHG, AEX: PHIA) is a diversified health and well-being company, focused on improving people’s lives through meaningful innovation in the areas of Healthcare, Consumer Lifestyle and Lighting. Headquartered in the Netherlands, Philips posted 2014 sales of EUR 21.4 billion and employs approximately 106,000 employees with sales and services in more than 100 countries. The company is a leader in cardiac care, acute care and home healthcare, energy efficient lighting solutions and new lighting applications, as well as male shaving and grooming and oral healthcare. News from Philips is located at

About The Innovation Hub

The Innovation Hub, a subsidiary of the GGDA, is Africa's first internationally accredited Science Park and is a full member of the International Association of Science Parks. It is strategically located in Tshwane, South Africa's executive capital in the ‘smart' province of Gauteng. As the leading knowledge-intensive business cluster in South Africa, The Innovation Hub implements initiatives identified in the Gauteng Innovation Strategy and Green Economy Strategy to advance the economic development and growth of the province through innovation. For more information, kindly visit  or follow us on Twitter @Innovhub and Facebook InnovhubZA

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