Innovation policies and innovation systems: The case of Information Technologies in South Africa
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The alignment of innovation policies with the needs of the innovation system remains a great challenge, particularly for developing countries. In relation to this challenge there are several factors associated to problems with measuring innovation, the recognised different dynamics of innovation processes in developing countries, and the ‘distance’ between relatively new innovation policies and the dynamics of the local industry. These problems can sometimes lead to ‘disconnections’ between innovation policies and innovation processes in developing countries. These aspects will be examined in this paper, illustrated through the case of the Information Technologies (IT) industry in South Africa, in particular software. Based on a few existing studies, this paper highlights the urgency to collect continuous and comprehensive data on the dynamics and innovation processes of the South African software industry. In South Africa, dearth of data is clearly inhibiting the chance to develop a much needed software strategy to compete with other countries with more coordinated efforts.