Innovation for development in South Africa: experiences with basic service technologies in distressed municipalities

Tim G. B. Hart, Irma Booyens, Sikhulumile Sinyolo

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8 Citations (Scopus)
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South Africa's National Development Plan entrenches the importance of a capable developmental state for the country's social and economic development. Likewise, the potential of science, technology and innovation to address development challenges is emphasised. The developmental state and inclusive innovation ideas have been in and out of the policy agenda since 1996 but have recently gained renewed policy attention. As part of an inclusive innovation for development agenda, the Department of Science and Technology facilitated the demonstration of a suite of basic service innovations in 'distressed' municipalities. This paper, using a mixed-methods approach, draws on the assessment of these demonstrations to reflect on key features which come to the fore in both the developmental state and inclusive innovation literature as crucial for success. In order to enjoy a measure of success in terms of developmental states and inclusive innovation for development, similar conditions are necessary: the encouragement and fostering of active participation by all stakeholders; sufficient financial resources and human capabilities at all levels; and strong collaborative and cohesive networks with similar purposes in mind. Once these form part of practice we are likely to see better implementation of inclusive innovation for development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-47
Number of pages25
JournalForum for Development Studies
Issue number1
Early online date20 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2020


  • inclusive innovation
  • developmental state
  • public sector innovation
  • innovation capabilities
  • networked governance
  • basic services


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