innovationWe would argue, that unlike the United States, South Africa doesn’t have a strong culture of innovation.

Innovation is not institutionalized in our universities or actively promoted by our state structures.

Bill Gates thinks that this should change – and that the future largely depends on its success.

In a powerful op-ed piece this week, Gates rightly states that there is a false perception that innovation is the exclusive domain of the private sector. In fact, what is needed, is a public sector that incubates the culture of innovation within the institutions of a nation and tends the fertile ground for it to flourish.

Accelerating innovation requires both political leadership and private sector leadership. As U.S. voters decide which candidates they want to elect to fill national, state, and local offices, and as many countries around the world undergo similar political transitions, I think we should consider what kind of leaders can drive the innovations we need.

Because we are at a pivotal moment when the conditions are ripe for transformative innovations, there are many important things this new group of national leaders—including whoever is elected in the U.S. in November—can accomplish over the next decade. There are four objectives I think we should prioritize:

  • Provide everyone on earth with affordable energy without contributing to climate change.
  • Develop a vaccine for HIV and a cure for neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Protect the world from future health epidemics, which might be more infectious than Ebola and more deadly than Zika.
  • Give every student and teacher new tools so all students get a world-class education.

A preferred future of a nation is possible with a big vision and the willingness to make that vision real. We have big problems to solve and real opportunities to chase. What’s is needed is co-operative leadership between civil society, business and government to start working together to manifest this dream for us all.

More: Accelerating leadership through innovation – Bill Gates