When you think of innovation, what cities come to mind? Although several metro areas around the country are now aiming to acquire the best STEM students and professionals, many countries are far beyond the curve. Take South Africa for example.
Little is known about organizations like SmartXchange in Durban or Durban University of Technology, whose Urban Futures Centre is making waves in initiatives that are virtually changing the world. According to the organization’s website, SmartXchange is “an incubator whose core mandate is to provide enterprise development services to small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME'S) in the Media, Information Communication Technology and electronics sector. SmartXchange manages a program that identifies and assists in developing quality skilled MICTe SMME's in KwaZulu Natal and also to build a pool of skilled MICTe workers that will enable KwaZulu Natal businesses to flourish.”
The Durban University of Technology website states, “The Urban Futures Centre at DUT (UFC@DUT) is based in the Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment. The UFC@DUT is an interdisciplinary laboratory that not only builds theory, but also tests out ideas and interventions in ways that are not prescribed and determined by dominant stakeholders, be they government officials, academics or large social movements. The UFC@DUT seeks to find new solutions to problems, and to do so in collaboration with those most affected by the complexities that characterize urban spaces.”
Their guiding principles include completing accurate and thorough research; breaking barriers in social injustice; creating an atmosphere of inclusivity; and challenging paradigms of policy and theorizing.
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