South Africa’s vision of an equitable society depends on sustainable long-term development that involves higher economic growth, a lively export market and labour-intensive, value-adding economic activity in the production sectors, led by manufacturing. The Design Institute is geared towards linking design, innovation and entrepreneurship to unlock new channels of economic growth that is not dependent on a services economy, but relies on new products and services that can add to industrialisation
The Bloomberg Innovation Index recognises the key role that innovation plays as a driver of economic growth and prosperity. So what can we read into the fact that this year South Korea tops the list of the world’s 50 most innovative countries, and South Africa ranks second last at 49th, just above Morocco, but behind Tunisia, when it comes to African countries?
What if Africa becomes the global export hub for food security, alternative and sustainable energy, the producer of the next generation of skilled professionals and big ideas? What if design makes it happen?
For design to make a meaningful difference to the state of a nation’s economic wellbeing takes commitment from a variety of role players, including the government, private sector, the creative fraternity and the general public.
There’s an elephant in the room when it comes to "innovation." And it’s an ironic elephant given that we're all so hooked on data analytics, a/b testing, and getting metrics for anything and everything. Yet we all throw around terms like creativity, breakthroughs, and disruptive innovation. Companies eat up this stuff--they're fully on board. Innovation is going to shape the future. Sure--if we track and shape it.
Some might argue that innovation is impossible to quantify. They're wrong.
What if services were delivered seamlessly in all communities in South Africa? What if you never had to queue for anything? What if potholes were fixed as they appeared, or even better, what if they never appeared at all? These are the kinds of questions that designers ask and it might be here, in the design fraternity, that we would be able to design a better South Africa – 20 years into democracy. Read more
At a TEDx get-together held in Soweto in early November, Gavin Mageni, group manager of the Design Institute challenged the audience with two questions:
- What if we had the power to design our roles as active citizens within a country full of possibilities? and;
- What will happen if we all start thinking like designers and apply that thinking to everything we do?
“We will not be able to produce sufficient commercial activity through Entrepreneurship if we do not apply the Design Thinking process on the products and services that we bring to the market”.
These were the words of Venete Klein, SABS board member, company director and social entrepreneur when she spoke at the Entrepreneurship Colloquium at the University of the Western Cape on 17 September 2013.
Written by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
“In our experience, everyone is the creative type.”
Designers are starting to operate in a way that’s more important to society as a whole’, says Stephen Burks, industrial designer and founder of studio Readymade Projects.