We’ve been busy … very, very busy

Over the past month the Design Institute has been truly living out its mandate of being South Africa’s public design facilitator. With partnerships and projects reaching maturation, DI project teams have been hard at work to turn design into a vehicle to effect social and economic change. Read more

SAB Foundation accelerator programme

February saw candidates in the SAB Foundation Accelerator Programme attend their third module at the Design Institute. This programme was initiated to rapidly accelerate the finalists from the SAB Innovation Awards. Eight candidates are undergoing the process.

The SAB Foundation Accelerator Programme was initiated to empower selected individuals with knowledge and application of the design with the purpose of rapidly accelerating SAB Innovation Awards finalists to migrate into the mainstream economy.

The programme generates a deep understanding of the proposed business concept, product idea and relevant industry sector. Based on the understanding gained, a refined customer value proposition and business case are developed resulting in a advanced and verified business and product concept including all that is necessary for further fund-pitching and industry partner linkages.

Currently, three beneficiaries are in the final stages of developing prototypes, while four beneficiaries have products in the final stage. Many of the selected beneficiaries have won awards and accolades previously and have had the opportunity to showcase their products on various platforms. It is evident that those beneficiaries participating in various forums and winning accolades have generated great media interest in their products. Even so they have not been able to commercialise their products fully, something that the Design Institute’s SAB Foundation Accelerator Programme aims to achieve.

Design Indaba and DAC emerging creatives: extended programme

The SABS Design Institute has joined forces with the Department of Arts and Culture to mentor six young designers to exhibit their creative work as part of the Emerging Creative initiative at the Design Indaba in Cape Town.  The aim of the project was to develop the capacity of the emerging creative candidates in order for them to build sustainable creative enterprises and to expose them to the industry’s best practices and standards.  The candidates  were Thandiswa Bonani, the co-founder of Luenzo, who manufactures and sells high fashion clothing for women; Lungelo Mashaba who graduated in fashion and textile design form the Durban Institute of Technology in 2013 and aims to start a new fashion business; Siyanda Mbela who designs and manufactures hand painted furniture which is inspired by the uniqueness of South African cultures; Mzukisi Mbane, a BCom graduate who aims to develop a fashion brand that celebrates glamour while narrating a story of African ancestors; Msizi Luthuli who aims to offer signature design men’s fashion wear; and Mokoena Kobeli who aims  to create a truly South African 2D animated TV series for children.

The mentorship was focused creating sustainable entrepreneurship through improving the business case and service offering and to develop the product offering to address user need. This is another step in the Design Institute’s journey to assist in building a new economy for the country.    

Taking hands with Trasnet

The DI has partnered with Transnet to establish the Transnet Design and Innovation and Research Centre that aims to accelerate the development of potential entrepreneurs amongst school learners, the youth and SMEs. The role of the Transnet Design and Innovation and Research Centre is to facilitate the identification and development of entrepreneurial potential over a five-year period.

The Centre’s aim is to make a major impact on the South African economy by promoting a culture of innovation and design, focusing on previously disadvantaged youth between the ages of 18 and 30, as well as black owned SMEs.

The first group of 50 candidates (individuals as well as existing SMMEs) were selected through the Moving Ideas Competition and were invited to join a design focused programme to enhance their business ideas and grow their existing businesses. From the fifty, twenty winners will be selected to go through the complete design support programme.

The moving Ideas Competition opened at the end of last year and attracted 192 entries.

Participating in Ico-D's open forum

During the visit of ico-D Executive Board to South Africa, the representatives from the Design Institute joined the Board meeting for a workshop on areas of potential collaboration and support between Ico-D and the South African design community. Issues important for the future of the local design industry were raised and discussed and potential support actions will be refined during the following few months.

Ico-D also presented an Open Forum with local designers to better understand local challenges, expectations and opportunities. The ico-D Board presented its current strategy and focused particularly on identifying local needs in order to formulate its strategy for Africa, and South Africa in particular.

(Photograph of DI tree)

Growing partnerships

Gavin Mageni, head of the Design Institute, with visiting International Design Council (ico-D) executive board members at a tree that was planted in 1991 by a group of visiting ico-D (then Icograda) members. The tree was planted in the garden in front of the previous location of the Design Institute and is still growing strong.


Front from left to right:

Robert Glogowski (Germany); Heidrun Mumper-Drumm (USA); Peter Florentzos (Australia) and Jovana Milovic (Canada)


Gavin Mageni (SABS Design Institute); Jacques Lange, former world president of Icograda (South Africa) and David Grossman (Israel).