FINAL programme – Inventors Conference 2011

FINAL programme - Inventors Conference 2011
Date:17 November 2011 Tags:, , , , , , , , , ,

Inventors Conference FINAL programme: Thursday 24 November

Note: Presentations will be followed by a short Q&A.

07h30 – 08h15: Arrival, registration, tea/coffee.


08h30 – 08h40: Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. And a violin.

08h40 – 09H00: Okay, let’s do it. Welcome by Popular Mechanics editor Alan Duggan, address by Kristin Klose, Acting Chief Director for Innovation at the Department of Science and Technology, standing in for Dr Val Munsami (called overseas at short notice).

09h00 – 09h30: Defend yourself! Presented by Rowan Forster of Edward Nathan Sonnenbergs, South Africa’s largest law firm. Rowan practices as an attorney in the intellectual property department and specialises in patent and design applications, both locally and internationally, with a particular focus on the drafting, filing and prosecution thereof. He also specialises in trade mark filing and prosecution in various jurisdictions, as well as intellectual property litigation.

09h30 – 10h00: Bridging the innovation chasm. Presented by Ravini Moodley, CEO of the Institute of Inventors and Innovators (III). A concept that tries to explain why South Africa has failed to benefit effectively from the research and intellectual capability developed here. Unfortunately, each side of the chasm is controlled by a different kingdom (aka government department). Ravini will discuss some of the major challenges encountered by inventors within our National System of Innovation, and present some recommendations.

10h00 – 10h30: Additive manufacturing – both sides of the coin, from DIY prototyping to space-age applications. Presented by Deon de Beer: Executive Director: Technology Transfer and Innovation at Vaal University of Technology.

10h30 – 10h45: Punctuation Moment No. 1: Demonstration of desirable (and occasionally surprising) inventions and gadgets in the lobby and courtyard.

10h45 – 11h00: Morning tea break, networking opportunity.

11h00 – 11h30: Inventing our transport future. Presented by Errol Braithwaite, a civil engineer with extensive experience in large-scale projects here and overseas, and Technical and Marketing Executive in the Bombela Concession Company – the company contracted to design, build, operate, maintain and partly finance the Gautrain Rapid Rail Link. He’ll tell us how they took R25 billion and helped to invent Gauteng’s transport future – and also leave us with a few useful ideas.

11h30 – 12h00: Getting down to bricks and mortar. Co-presented by award-winning inventor Richard Kgwahla and well-known patent attorney Anthony van Zantwijk of Sibanda & Zantwijk. How the “little guy” fought to take his ideas from concept to reality, and how you can do the same.

12h00 – 12h30: It’s not just about the money (but money helps). Presented by Alexandra Fraser, Business Development Manager at Invenfin. Delegates will be briefed, without favour or prejudice, on the various government and private-sector finance options to help progress their inventions from concept to something much more tangible. Alexandra joined the Invenfin team in 2009 after completed her Masters in International Business and Emerging Markets (cum laude) as a Chevening scholar at the University of Edinburgh’s Business School.

12h30 – 13h00: Shining a light. Presentation by Francois Prinsloo, Contracts R&D manager at the CSIR National Laser Centre, which provides a critical core of laser technology knowledge and expertise through the research, development and implementation of laser-based technologies and applications in Africa.

13h00 – 14h00: Lunch break.

14h00 – 14h15: Punctuation Moment No. 2. Meet Peter Greenwall – and prepare yourself for a radically different take on innovation. Peter is a songwriter, author, entrepreneur and ‘errorthoughtical’ engineer whose musical scores have featured at World Cup opening ceremonies, Miss World Pageants, London musicals and multimedia stage shows for corporate events. His comedy musical presentations are based on his book, ‘Logical Stupidity – Innovation by Navigating Through Nonsense’.

14h15 – 14h45: Pitch it to the panel. A discussion (with panel of experts, including patent attorney, industrial designer, entrepreneur/marketer) in which we evaluate a selection of inventions, suggest why they should work (or not), and explain what needs to be done to make them successful.

14h45 – 15h15: Presentation by Advocate Ouma Rasethaba, Chief of Corporate Governance at Telkom since November 2007. Advocate Rasethaba is responsible for ensuring overall governance, risk, ethics, compliance, sustainability, and the Telkom Foundation. She is very active in community projects and offers free legal advice to those communities. She has been admitted as an attorney and an advocate in the Supreme Court of South Africa.

15h15 – 15h30: Afternoon tea break, networking opportunity.

15h30 – 16h15: Keynote: Why good design rules the world. Austria- and South Africa-based industrial designer Brian Steinhobel is emphatic that a good idea remains just a good idea without a proper design and development process. He reveals how ideas can be transformed into billion-rand successes, stating: “A holistic, multi-faceted approach must be taken to achieve global excellence in developing inventions and ideas if maximum potential is to be achieved.” Brian will explain why good design doesn’t happen by mistake, and how mistakes often happen in the pursuit of good design.

16h15 – 16h45: Going, going… gone? Presented by Simon Gear, a director of Kijani Green Energy, expert in corporate sustainability and modern environmental thought, and anchor of South Africa’s premier environmental TV show, 50|50. After years or banging the climate change drum, Gear has realised that regardless of what we humans think of the matter, the earth is beginning to give us strong environmental signals in the only language we understand – price. We may be able to partially innovate ourselves out of this mess, but not without an honest and realistic assessment of what is going on in the world around us.

16h45 – 17h15: Starting a revolution in the skies. Presented by Ivor Ichikowitz, Chairman of the Paramount Group. How the Group’s focus on South Africa’s innovation and skills base has driven the development of world-leading technologies. The process and challenges involved when developing ideas into globally competitive products. What are the obstacles to greater innovation in Africa? The importance of believing in the continent’s potential, and why we need to think BIG.

17H15 – Punctuation moment No. 3: Peter Greenwall gets inside your head. (No, not really.)

17h30: Final wrap, drinks (cash bar).


EVENING FUNCTION (paid guests and invitations only) – from 7.30 pm. INVENT 2011 Awards Dinner: Popular Mechanics rewards competition winners and honours South Africa’s ‘Inventor of the Year’ for 2011.

Just the facts:
* The one-day PM Inventors Conference and Inventor of the Year awards dinner take place at the Indaba Hotel and Conference Centre (click here for map & directions) in Fourways, Johannesburg, on 24 November 2011.

* Only 100 seats are available for the Inventors Conference at the discounted rate of R800 each.

* Only 60 seats are available for the conference plus awards dinner at the discounted rate of R960 each.

To book your spot at the conference only, or the conference plus awards dinner, at a 20% discount, go to

For group bookings and minors/students, contact

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