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By 4 November 2015 | Categories: news

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Local innovation firm, Innocentrix and its partners, The Blue Globe (UK) and Skild (USA), have launched an Open Innovation Challenge, to assist the people of South Africa to turn protest into action, in pursuit of implementable solutions.

The #FeesMustFall Ideas Challenge aims to apply innovation methodology to the social challenge of unaffordable higher education and will provide an open innovation platform to give the people of South Africa a voice on the issue.

The #FeesMustFall Ideas Challenge makes use of a powerful online tool that captures ideas from all interested parties from anywhere in the world. All ideas will be submitted and evaluated on this platform, and an unbiased judging panel consisting of local and international experts, following a predefined process, will down-select the 10 best ideas to be moved forward. It is important to note that judges will only have a view of the ideas submitted and not have insight into the identity of idea contributors at any stage of the evaluation process. Shortlisted ideas will be made public by end January 2016, and the winning idea will be chosen by the public through voting and commenting online.

The winner will receive R10 000 in cash. Winning solution(s) will belong to the people of South Africa and will be made available to any individual, institution or group that demonstrate the required capability to move it forward. The closing date for submissions is 30 November 2015 and participation is free of charge. The background detail, themes and outputs of the challenge, including the shortlisted ideas and suitable recommendations will be written up in a report by Innocentrix and will be handed over to Government in January 2016. This report will also be accessible to the public and would be downloadable from the Innocentrix website.

Public protests has swept through South Africa over the past few weeks over the costs of higher education in the country. Accessible education and the stabilisation of ever-increasing university costs united campaigners under the hashtag #feesmustfall to eventually secure a 0% fee increase for 2016. The 0% increase was announced by South African President Jacob Zuma on Friday, 23 October.

Immediately after the announcement, concerns were raised about the sustainability of the 0% increase, and what impact it will have on the quality of higher education. Discussions on how to manage university funding and ultimately, how to make education more accessible to all South Africans regardless of social standing, will be imperative to the future of South Africa and our global competitiveness.

“We at Innocentrix believe that solutions to the above problems exist, and that affordable, quality higher education can become a reality for all South Africans. Being in the innovation space, and regarding ourselves as involved citizens that want to apply innovation as value adding enabler, we wanted to give the people of South Africa a voice by playing an active role in creating our country’s future through innovation. We can do this by providing free access to the tools and services within our reach. Through Open Innovation we aim to find solutions to these issues, and ultimately create a brighter future for our country. It is in our hands! We encourage anyone who feel they have an idea on this issue to join us and help us realise this goal,” says Henra Mayer, CEO pf Innocentrix.

Anyone who wishes to take part in the #FeesMustFall Ideas Challenge can visit www.innocentrix.co.za/feesmustfall. For more information, please send an email to feesmustfall@innocentrix.co.za or call Henra on 082 323 7447 or Zander on 082 806 5897.

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