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Head SAIIA Futures Programme, South African Institute of International Affairs

Dr Deon Cloete (PhD) is the Head of the Futures Programme at SAIIA, where he leads the institute’s work on strategic foresight, systemic innovation and anticipatory governance. His research interests span complexity-informed approaches to strategic foresight, systemic change, systems innovation and transformative futures by re-imagining complex systems change and the roles of cross-scale change agents. He is a transdisciplinary action researcher and an experienced facilitator of systemic change, innovation and strategic foresight interventions with a focus on ‘systems change co-creation for sustainability transitions and regenerative cultures. He researches and consults national, regional, continental, and global stakeholders in the education, health, energy, mining, and automobile sectors, but also a wide range of development agencies, organisations and national and local governments interested in anticipatory policy, planning decision support for leaders, decision-makers, policymakers, and multilateral institutions. Deon graduated from Stellenbosch Business School with a PhD in Complex Systems Change and Innovation and serves as a research fellow at the Centre for Sustainability Transitions at Stellenbosch University.


  • 2020–present
    Head: SAIIA Futures Programme, South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA)
  • 2017–present
    Research fellow, Centre for Sustainability Transitions
  • 2019–2020
    Senior fellow & Project Lead, SAIIA Regional Observatory Programme
  • 2018–2019
    Senior researcher, UCT GSB Bertha Centre for Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • 2016–2017
    PhD Candidate and research associate , Centre for Complex Systems in Transition


  • 2017 
    Stellenbosch University, PhD Complex Systems Change and Innovation
  • 2010 
    Stellenbosch University , M.Th Clinical Pastorate / Pastoral Psychology
  • 2009 
    University of South Africa (UNISA), BA Honors Psychological Counselling