The national system of innovation (NSI) is well entrenched in South Africa’s policy discourse as a conceptual framework for understanding the nature and functioning of the country’s totality of science and technology efforts. The NSI is proving to be a powerful concept in that it permits a holistic view of how scientific activity relates to economic performance. This book undertakes a hermeneutic exploration and assessment of the NSI as a conceptual framework for understanding the structure and performance of knowledge institutions within South Africa. Drawing on the writer’s hermeneutic-phenomenological input, the book critically examines the salient features of the NSI as they find expression in official science and technology policy documents and reports. The elements that make up South Africa’s national system of innovation are identified and their roles defined. An argument is presented as to why, collectively, these elements demonstrate system behaviour. The book demonstrates the usefulness of chaos and complexity in explaining, for example, the evolution and current organisation of the NSI.