A feature of the conference was the participation of persons from several layers of the community – civil societies; local, provincial and national government; business leaders and academics. Despite differences in approaches, there also were ample indications that cooperation across barriers is possible. An important aspect of innovation, amongst others, is that more established opposing factions may shift attitudes due to fresh insights, thereby creating new possibilities for cooperation and growth.
Prof. Ralph Hamman of the University of Cape Town Business School, in his talk on innovation, specifically social innovation, described innovation as the simultaneous achievement of competing agendas / objectives. Social innovation occurs when intermediaries shift the initial tension of opposing agendas and objectives through discussion and negotiation to achieve cooperative and complementary innovation.
Prof. Piet Naude, director of the Stellenbosch University Business School, in his talk on current forces in the developed world, explained and indicated that there are good opportunities for development in Africa in this larger world, inter alia because of the large number of young people and the rapidly expanding middle class. Such opportunities can be utilised through development transfer and utilisation of technology.
Dr Daan Velthausz of the CSIR in Pretoria explained the role of technology and good systems in local government with reference to the utilisation thereof in a small number of municipalities in South Africa. Cape Town, amongst others, is a municipality in which good progress has been made with the integration of different municipal systems. When the groundwork has been done, technology can be used to stimulate active citizenship and utilise voluntary contributions from residents to gather information by means of their cell phones and other devices for assisting in municipal maintenance and to populate smart technology and systems with relevant content.
Other speakers at the conference included Tim Harris, Danie Fölscher, Andrew Boraine, Conrad Sidego, Dr Therina Theron, Cecilia Kinuthia-Njenga, Lars Albaek, Prof. Andre Roux, Prof. Stanley Ridge, Prof. Michael Kahn, Pieter van Heyningen, Prof. Andreas van Wyk, Du Preez Lombard, Prof. Gert-Jan van Rooyen, Nigel Gwynne-Evans, Sarah Aulin and others.