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The impact of the acceleration of innovation strategies in service delivery performance within the Fourth Industrial Revolution era: a case of a provincial public institution.

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The world is currently in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, characterised by fast-advancing digital technologies. Digital technologies such as the internet of things, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomation, 3D printing, cloud computing, nanotechnology, and many other similar technologies, directly and indirectly affect the way of life. This direct and indirect effect is prolificated by the ability of digital technologies to influence communication, information, knowledge and daily operations in all aspects of life at home, in society and at the workplace level. The growth or advances of digital technologies is said to be at an unprecedented speed. It comes with rapid changes that have made the 21st-century global economy and environment volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. This complex nature of the modern environment presents uncertainties, and amid it, organisations must deal with the changes and continue to operate efficiently and effectively. As a result, there has been an observed paradigm shift in public service delivery and administration where governments across the world utilise information and communication technology, digital technologies and the Internet to improve operations and service delivery. For instance, innovation strategies such as e-Government exemplify the adoption and utilisation of technologies in state services. This study aimed to investigate the impact of the accelerating innovation strategies in service delivery within this Fourth Industrial Revolution era. A qualitative approach to best respond to the research questions and used purposive sampling to identify the most relevant participants. The population of this study was KwaZulu Natal Treasury employees and study size and sample was eight staff members from the IT and Systems Units within Treasury. Data was collected through open-ended semi-structured interviews. The collected data was reviewed, synthesised and interpreted through thematic analysis. A rigorous analysis of primary data led to the findings of unequal levels of innovation within Treasury. Implying that some units or departments invest in innovations more than others. Further findings showed that the adopted innovations proved to be beneficial in terms of improving service delivery. Leading to the conclusion that taking full advantage of innovation technologies and systems could be advantageous for the department. Additionally, this study found that adopting 4IR technologies, digital services, ICT infrastructure, and innovation strategies relies on budget sufficiency. Therefore, accelerating innovation systems and processes in service delivery requires the department, its leaders, and management to embrace and invest in innovation.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.