Understanding innovation drivers and barriers in local government: a City of Tshwane Innovation Unit perspective

Mafunzwaini, Aluoneswi Elvis
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Although the concept of innovation drivers and barriers has recently garnered much interest from both practitioners and researchers, very little is known about the nature and dynamics of the factors that influence the success of innovation in local government in the Global South. To manage their impact, a better understanding is required however, a comprehensive systematic review of innovation drivers and barriers is still lacking. The purpose of this study was to conduct research to gain deeper understanding of the factors that drive or hinder innovation in City of Tshwane (CoT). A qualitative research methodology was used to collect and analyse data. Purposive sampling technique was used to select participants. Semi-structured interviews were conducted supplemented by secondary data review. The study found that four issues are critical for successful innovation in CoT, namely: innovation strategic intent, culture of innovation, innovation drivers and barriers and collaboration. Innovation strategic intent is closely linked to leadership and culture of innovation. Drivers and barriers are complex, interdependent and context-specific factors that are imbedded in their environment. It is difficult to provide a list of innovation drivers or barriers because they are bi-directional and the role a particular factor plays can change as a function of context. What in some instances could be a driver of innovation might in others act as a barrier. Drivers and barriers may be categorised into macro, organisational and micro factors. Organisational factors are the most important and direct factors that CoT should focus their interventions to make innovation successful. Leadership commitment and management support is one of the important innovation drivers or barriers, as leadership influences all other factors. A holistic approach is required to address innovation challenges because innovation drivers and barriers are intertwined and context-specific.
A research report submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management in the field of Innovation Studies to the Faculty of Commerce, Law and Management, Wits Business School, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, 2020