The State of Innovation Report on Capabilities 2018–2019

The State of Innovation Report on Capabilities 2018–2019 has been released to the public.

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The Creative Leadership Collective and University of Stellenbosch Business School partnered on this pilot report with the goal of helping South African leaders better understand the practical steps they must take to make innovation repeatable and impactful in their organisations.

The State of Innovation Report on Capabilities marks the first attempt to qualify and benchmark where South Africa sits in the development of an innovation ecosystem and who forms part of this process in the corporate and broader organisational spaces. 

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‘We’re excited that the emerging patterns that have been revealed in the report are resonating strongly with leaders and intrapreneurs on the ground,’ says Paul Steenkamp, co-founder of the Creative Leadership Collective and co-author of the study. ‘These are people driving innovations that matter to our companies, country, continent and world.’


In the spirit of lean innovation, this pilot survey was designed and launched as a punchy, low-risk first iteration to start the process of generating a comprehensive and longitudinal dataset via an ongoing annual survey.

A total of 119 participants contributed to this pilot survey representing several companies and industries across South Africa. Although this is a small sample, we were inspired to move quickly by Innovation Made Tangible, a similar study which had 112 respondents.

Paul says the current trend toward prioritising innovation comes at a critical time in the country’s history.

‘To solve the problems we face as a country and continent, we can’t afford to do the wrong things right from an innovation perspective. We need to think and act differently, and leaders need to create a more empowering culture within their organisation.

‘Encouragingly, South African public and private sector organisations have taken note: management commitment and support for innovation is perceived to be on the up.’

Study co-author Dr Awie Vlok of the USB said most managers would like to improve their innovation performance but lack the knowledge and skills to do this.

‘Despite the rapidly growing knowledge base, managers in Southern Africa require knowledge, skills and attitudes to deal with our challenges and context. This report conveys important insights into the views of those taking part in the survey, and future surveys will expand on these.’

For more information or to suggest inputs for future reports please contact Paul Steenkamp at

To view and download The State of Innovation Capabilities 2018–2019 Report, visit