Pretoria, Tuesday 27 November 2012 - The Innovation Hub Open Innovation Solution Exchange, a web-based platform that connects innovators with solution seekers to tackle service delivery in government and  increase competitiveness of the private sector, will go live today.

The platform is being implemented by The Innovation Hub, Africa’s leading science and technology park, a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency (GGDA), which is an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development (GDED).

Researchers, innovators and entrepreneurs as well as SMEs and large companies are encouraged to respond to challenges and promote their technology offers, via the platform. The platform will host high-potential challenges, sourced from both the public and private sector organisations in Gauteng.  The platform will also provide an opportunity to showcase exciting and ground-breaking innovations and technology offerings from the innovation community thereby providing commercialisation opportunities and partnerships to facilitate access to market.  These challenges or offerings may be posted anonymously and will cover a wide range of sectors and industries.

The GGDA Acting CEO, Mr Simphiwe Ngwenya says “The Innovation Hub’s work aims at cementing Gauteng’s position as a smart province.  This platform has a great potential to stimulate demand-led innovation, enhance competitiveness and accelerate enterprise development in Gauteng in support of the Gauteng Innovation Strategy. Whilst a number of organisations in South Africa have embraced Open Innovation as a practice, there is a space for a neutral catalyst, such as The Innovation Hub, to bring diverse actors in the regional innovation system together.”

According to McLean Sibanda, the CEO of The Innovation Hub, “the Open Innovation Solution Exchange platform will accelerate demand-led innovation in the province. We are particularly proud that Gauteng is one of the first regions in the world to develop this multistakeholder platform using an Open Innovation mediating model, and have established a unique mechanism to advance innovation, competitiveness, economic growth and job creation. The Open Innovation Solution Exchange will assist in linking innovative solutions to real challenges, with the purpose of improving service delivery by government and productivity in the private sector”.

In implementing this platform, The Innovation Hub has partnered with the City of Tshwane, as well as stakeholders representing a number of academic, private and public organisations in Gauteng. By collaborating with a graduate company from The Innovation Hub Maxum Business Incubator, Research Institute for Innovation and Sustainability (RIIS), The Innovation Hub is drawing on this leading SMEs track record in enabling innovation and their partnership with NineSigma, a global leader in Open Innovation mediation with proven practices.

Open Innovation has emerged as a global cutting edge business practice, as companies, universities, non-profit organisations and governments look outside the box to try and accelerate innovation, encourage collaboration among multi-helix actors, reduce time to market and meet organisations’ needs.  Open Innovation also creates a channel for innovative small enterprises to break into the supply chain of large organisations. Intermediaries, such as this platform, play a critical role in establishing links between the various actors.

The Innovation Hub will actively facilitate the posting of challenges as well as moderate the posting of technology offerings to ensure the appropriate quality of submissions in order to maximise value for participants.  Multi-sector advisory and steering committees will guide the development of the platform and play a key role in understanding how the platform and Open Innovation can be leveraged for the benefit of the province.

Solution seekers looking to post challenges on the platform should contact the Open Innovation Solution Exchange resource team at The Innovation Hub.  Solution providers can respond to challenges and post their technology offerings at no cost.  Interested parties should register online at www.exchange.theinnovationhub.com.

 

Innovators are encouraged to submit their responses to the challenges that have been posted.  The response deadline for the first set of challenges is 21 January 2013.

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The Innovation Hub is a subsidiary of the Gauteng Growth and Development Agency , an agency of the Gauteng Department of Economic Development Department.

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