5 tips on tech and business innovation from a top South African physicist

Adriana Marais, former head of innovation at SAP Africa and a current director of the Foundation for Space Development Africa, says tech and business innovation demands that you promote curiosity, embrace new perspectives, learn and come up with creative ways to solve real world problems.

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Business and technology innovation happens when an organisation introduces new processes or offers new services and products to affect positive change. This can mean improving existing methods and practices or starting afresh and creating something from the ground up.

That's the word from Dr. Adriana Marais, a South African theoretical physicist, technologist and aspiring extraterrestrial. A former head of innovation at SAP Africa, Marais is also a director of the Foundation for Space Development Africa, an organisation aiming to lead Africa's first mission to the Moon, the Africa2Moon Project. She believes that innovation is a natural product of the human mind, a result of curiosity-driven exploration, observation and reasoning. 

adriana marais Kat Grudko

Dr. Adriana Marais is a director for the Foundation for Space Development Africa and a former head of innovation for SAP Africa.

For example, says Dr. Marais, we stare up at the night sky and wonder what it would be like to travel beyond Earth. In this case, innovation comes in the form of building rocket ships that can transport people into space and creating a space station where these people can live. But the innovation doesn't stop there. Our initial curiosity-driven endeavour drives other innovations like the development of LED lights so that we can grow food anywhere and the creation of advanced water filtration membranes, which make it possible for people to survive in resource-constrained environments, like space.

The value of thinking differently is especially important today as modern businesses and IT leaders seek new ways to attract customers, boost efficiency, outdo their competitors and, ultimately, boost their bottom line.

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