After its enthusiastic reception at the last Innovation Summit, "the Lab" is back, providing this year's event with an interactive hub where breakthrough technologies share space with art, architecture, food and live performance and South Africa's boldest thinkers swop experiences and business cards.
The Lab's physical structure has been designed by architects, artists and technicians and will be built using recycled wooden pallets, cotton and sustainable technologies to create a dynamic, organic environment conducive to the free flow of people and ideas.
One of the Lab's primary functions will be to facilitate connections among role players at all stages of the innovation process, from inspiration to commercialisation.
It will provide a platform for inventors to showcase prototypes and pitch concepts to investors, while entrepreneurs will be linked to suitable technology providers, funders and government agencies through a process of "entrepreneurial matchmaking".
There will also be plenty of opportunities for informal engagement at the Lab's "pause spaces" where participants can enjoy freshly- prepared food, visual art and live performances.
Open day on August 28 will give the wider public, and especially the youth, first-hand experience of innovation in action, including the chance to interact with the most creative minds in business, academia, the media, government and civil society. Entrance is free.
The Lab is also inviting innovative individuals, teams and companies to enter their ideas in the Innovation Summit Lab Competition. All submissions will be featured on the Summit's facebook page (facebook.com/innovationsummit) and those that receive the most "likes" will be displayed in the Lab's Ideas Garage. The prize for the best entry is an iPad 3 with a Samsung Galaxy Smartphone and a Philips HD Camcorder going to the runners-up.
The Innovation Lab will operate for the duration of the Innovation Summit from August 28 to 30 at The Forum on the Dimension Data Campus, Bryanston, Johannesburg. The public will have free access on August 28.