Start an Innovation HUB

What is Innovation Hubs?


Using schools as Innovation Hubs for exploration and tinkering is imperative in South African contexts. Innovation Hubs are geared toward developing design thinking and  future innovators. These hubs can function during or after school hours or even during weekends. Teachers, youth, learners or community members could be facilitators and participants hereof depending on school priorities and schedules.. Concepts such as tinkering, makerspaces, coding, robotics and virtual learning are merely some examples of foci within an innovation hub. 


School curriculum often leaves little room for cross disciplinary initiatives, exploration, free discussion, project based learning and creative questioning. This could be due to contextual factors such as time restraints, curriculum scope and other.

Aims of Innovation Hubs

Innovation Hubs allow for skills development, creativity, computational thinking and design thinking as participants  develop knowledge, understanding and skills from different disciplines to design and create solutions to problems. Technology forms an intricate part of Innovation Hubs as it is geared towards the development of future innovators. It is a means to access, process and communicate information, model and create solutions, and to solve problems. The involvement of community, teachers and learners of different age groups and skill levels allow for collaborative space. This collaborative space(s) create opportunity to develop respect for others’ viewpoints and appreciate alternative solutions to problems

What does a typical day look like?

Providing creative time and space for learners of all ages to learn and build prototypes, explore questions, and build confidence to code, tinker, break and make. A typical day at an Innovation Hub will include tinkering and coding around a project, understanding challenges to be solved, designing a solution and implementing or optimizing a prototype of the solution. Design Thinking, problem-solving and collaborative teamwork with mentors and sharing information with all are key to innovation hubs.

Where do you start?


EVENTS: Start your exploration by attending once off events such as Hour of Code, Africa Code Week, Training, Conferences or similar. On the next page you will find suggested events to participate in.  See EVENTS page for ideas.

PLAN THE DEVELOPMENT JOURNEY: Turn your inspiration into action and plan a learning journey for others. 

SELECT FOCUS/LEARNING OBJECTIVES: The learning opportunity can be project-, problem-, event- or skill based.  Depending whether you would like to start a Coding Club, a Robotics Club or a Virtual Learning Environment, we have provided you with some start-up resources, short programs and full curriculum items. Please note that this is by no means endorsed nor is your learning possibilities limited to these.  


CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: Send out invitation to learners and/or community members to become part of the Innovation Hub. Schedule a time and place to explore different learning opportunity. Your audience will depend on the content and sessions planned. 

START YOUR CLUB: Often Clubs function within break-time, weekends or afternoons as part of an extra-curriculur programme. In order to prepare the education system and participants thereof, plan your consecutive sessions. You can make use of the Short Programmes or Curriculum (this does not necessarily refer to the in-curriculum offering as part of the CAPS curriculum. Plan and ensure that learners and other participants and the facilitator commits to the journey of development. See CODING CLUBS page for ideas.

INNOVATION HUB: To reach the full potential of Innovation Hubs is to extend a helping hand. Through shared resourcing schools in the surrounding environments can journey together toward developing future innovators in the digital age. 

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Be Brave, Learn & Inspire

Group Activity: Visualise the Innovation Hub

For the rest of the course you will work in teams of 5. You will be required to work through the planning phase of setting up a coding club, planning a development programme suitable for an identified context and then finding resources to support the process.  This can be a mock planning or schools can use this to start drafting their future planning


Step 1: Divide in small groups (if  there are teachers from the same schools choose to sit together)

Step 2: Open the Planning template on at least one of the computers 

Step 3: Complete the questions in the Discussion phase.

Step 4: Allow groups to share their answers.


Step 5: Describe your advocacy plan.

Think of the following

  • Local events

  • Getting your staff onboard

  • Getting parents involved

  • Hosting exploration events at school

Environment and Time

Step 6: Which learning space is suitable?

Step 7: What kind of resources do you have

Think creatively about the following:

  • Unplugged

  • Devices

  • Digital (offline)

  • Digital (online)

Step 8: Based on your existing resources, what could your development journey look like?

Step 9: Select your focus area or objective

Step 10: Allow groups to share their answers

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