Technology & Innovation

March 5, 2021

Future Cities South Africa LogoThe Global Future Cities Programme aims to improve the planning and management of three cities in South Africa, resulting in increased local prosperity and quality of life. Specifically, this includes a reduction in levels of poverty and gender inequality, together with creating two-way trade opportunities. Our overall strategy is to build trusted relationships, develop skills, and create transformational and enduring impact in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban through the delivery of five interventions. This work will focus on transport, urban regeneration, economic analysis, resilience, and human settlements.  

Future Cities South Africa is the implementing arm of the Global Future Cities Programme in South Africa. Lumec was contracted by Open Cities Lab to work on 2 Global Future Cities projects implemented at Durban and Cape Town.

City of Cape Town

The goal of this project is to support the City of Cape Town in the implementation of the Data Strategy and in the development of an Economic toolkit that, through use cases and implementation within the city ecosystem, demonstrate the impact a data-driven city can have on improving the lives of residents and in the development and progress of the city. The Data Capabilities Workstream requested technical assistance to provide support, advice and guidance on the data literacy programme. Lumec completed a report that provides recommendations and feedback based on best practice curricula and approaches applicable for the City of Cape Town. For more information see the Global Future Cities website write-up on the project here.

eThekwini Municipality

Lumec was appointed to project manage this project on behalf of the Future Cities South Africa consortium. The project aims for improved data integration, collection and analysis to facilitate collaborative informal settlement action. For more information see the Global Future Cities website write-up on the project here.

Access to this research will be added to this post as it becomes publicly available. For more information on this project, contact us.

March 5, 2021

The Start Up Support Programme is an accelerated mentorship programme taking innovators from conceptualisation to a market ready stage. The 12 month programme includes providing business and technical skills to innovators, facilitating prototype funding for participants, and linking innovators with angel investors. The programme is hosted by Innovate Durban and funded by the Technology Innovation Agency (TIA). There are 15 innovators taking part in the programme in 2021.

Lumec is responsible for training and mentoring innovators in business development. This includes:

  1. Lean Canvas: Workshop the 9 steps of a lean canvas.
  2. Market Viability: Explain what it means to identify catchment areas, identify what the function of demand is, analyse market trends, and build a demand model. Present the most useful survey techniques and statistical resources (primary and secondary research).
  3. Financial Model: Explain what a financial model looks like, how to research competitor pricing and ascertain business costs. Use a template to conduct high-level costing, calculate potential revenue, and identify the business break even point.
  4. Business Plan Development:  How to develop a logical, succinct document, including practical plans for starting your business e.g. company structure and team, route to market, marketing plan, and timeframes.
  5. Pitching/Investor Readiness: Information and assistance with the development of funding applications for public sector seed funding / feasibility study funding, and pitch documents for private sector investors.

If you are interested in hosting similar training for startups, please contact us.

March 5, 2021

Corruption Watch, in partnership with Transparency International, have embarked on a project called Open Contracting for Health, the aim of which is to advocate for greater transparency in health procurement processes. This research, conducted with Open Cities Lab, forms part of this project.

The 5 stages of the open procurement process (planning, tender, award, contract, implementation)

The scope of work was as follows:

  • Conducting a rapid assessment of national and provincial health procurement portals, assessing the availability of information on the portals (3 national portals and 9 provincial portals were selected for the rapid assessment).
  • Selection of 3 portals for additional in-depth technical review, including:
    • Scraping and development of a data catalogue using Open Contracting Data Standards
    • Analysis to determine which procurement health indicators are possible using the available fields and data.
    • Recommendations based on the above analysis including what additional fields should be included and what interventions should be prioritised by portal owners for improved procurement processes.
    • Analysis on overlap and peculiarities of data on the portals when compared to each other.

The three portals selected for these deep dives were the eTenders Publication Portal, the North West Department of Health Website and the Gauteng Provincial Government Tender Information Portal.

A policy brief and summary report was launched on 30 March 2021. You can see the summary report here.

November 27, 2019

Cover of the State of Innovation in KZN 2019 reportLumec was appointed by Innovate Durban in both 2019 and 2020 to develop KwaZulu-Natal’s (KZN) first Innovation Publication which shows the state of innovation in KZN. The objective of the publication is to provide stakeholders in the ecosystem, including innovators, investors and government, with up to date information and trends in the innovation space. The publication is a compilation of numerous indicators that are used to measure the level of innovation in the province. Furthermore, the publication showcases innovators from KZN who are at varying stages of development in the innovation pipeline. An additional output from the project was the development of a dashboard which allows stakeholders to interact with the indicators and provides access to videos and interviews of the KZN’s innovators.

The publication measures innovation under the following categories:

  • People relates to the human capital and knowledge generated that enables and accelerates innovation and creativity. Critical skills such as those developed in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses are seen as crucial for economic growth and development. Knowledge also measures new ideas in the form of patents, as well as new research produced by researchers and doctoral students. 
  • Investment describes the amount of investment in terms of rand value that is directed towards innovation, research and development in various sectors.
  • Infrastructure measures internet access in KZN in comparison to other provinces in South Africa.
  • Ecosystem relates to the environment within which innovation takes place and includes events and funding instruments. 
  • Lastly, the impact category measures the benefits of innovation across various areas including revenue, employment and economy.

An excerpt from the 2020 State of Innovation in KwaZulu-Natal

The State of Innovation in KwaZulu-Natal report cover 2020

“KZN remains a top performer in the number of enrolments and graduates across the maths, science and engineering fields at secondary schools, TVETs and Universities. UKZN is ranked first in South Africa for the number of PhD graduates and publication outputs. The value of investment increased across all indicators in the year of review. The 40 innovatio

n events and 405 funding instruments relevant to innovators in KZN reflect a strong and growing innovation ecosystem.

Despite growth in these areas, it is concerning that R&D expenditure and venture capital investment still remains significantly lower than in Gauteng and the Western Cape. Furthermore, the number of KZN households that have internet access is below the national average of 64.7%, at 59.4%. Through numerous programmes aimed at providing support and funding to startups, as well as penetrating low-income areas through innovation labs, Innovate Durban aims to make a positive impact on these indicators and hopes to see continued growth in coming years.

Innovate Durban is proud to showcase five new innovators in this edition and encourages innovators to take note of their advice and learn from their experiences. A theme across innovators is the importance of staying dedicated and being willing to devote time and resources to the innovation in order to achieve success”. 

Access the 2019 and 2020 Innovation Publications here.


July 24, 2019

The Durban EDGE data portal contains raw data, data stories and data dashboards, the majority of which are publicly available. Data includes economic growth, employment, business licensing, freight cargo and more.

November 15, 20170

LUMEC developed a business case and business plan for the South African Cities Network’s common framework for managing city data and indicators. The goal of the framework is to assist cities to manage data, indicators and reporting requirements through a common indicators codebook, capacity building, reporting template generator, an open data almanac, and a city data forum.

November 15, 20170

LUMEC assisted eThekwini to establish Innovate Durban as a stand-alone, not-for-profit company. This process included facilitating all legal processes (MOI, CIPC registration, SARS Tax Exemption, Board of Directors), along with a detailed business plan to guide the activities of the entity once established.