Message from the Design Institute

Beware of getting married to your product idea

In an article that appeared in the Entrepreneurship magazine late last year, I made the statement that designers, entrepreneurs and innovators should beware of getting married to their product ideas.  What do I mean by that?

 Over its history of more than 40 years, the Design Institute has seen its fair share of entrepreneurs who failed because they got married to their product ideas and could not let go, once they did not prove viable.

Beware of getting married to your product idea

In an article that appeared in the Entrepreneurship magazine late last year, I made the statement that designers, entrepreneurs and innovators should beware of getting married to their product ideas.  What do I mean by that?

 Over its history of more than 40 years, the Design Institute has seen its fair share of entrepreneurs who failed because they got married to their product or ideas and could not let go, once they did not prove viable.

The value of design in shaping the lives of young people

Looking at the Department of Basic Education’s National Curriculum Statement on Design for Grades R – 12, one is again struck by the fact that, properly implemented, Design as a school subject could go a long way in shaping the lives of young people in South Africa. This document states that Design equips learners with crucial life skills such as visual literacy, critical and creative thinking, self-discipline and leadership. It also encourages learners to be resourceful and entrepreneurial, to strategise and to be team players.

Responsibility.

During worker’s month it would serve us well to reflect on the plight of the worker. Entrepreneurship is a gift that can feed a nation. If every person with the ability to create an innovative business simply did so, and focused on not only self enrichment but also focused their efforts on creating jobs, we would soon see the end of poverty. Imagine a country where we use our own raw resources, couple that with design, and mix it up with innovative entrepreneurial thinking (and doing!), then we would re-industrialise the nation.

The importance of history

With the visit of ico-D to the Design Institute, I have pondered the issue of history. The Design Institute’s relationship with international design bodies spans many decades. The other reason I have been offering mind space to the concept of history is because this year the Design Institute will be 50 years old.

The Big Idea

It is the start of a new year and looking back, I am proud to say that the Design Institute team has made miracles happen in the past year. It all started with the Design Institute’s changed strategic approach to use design to increase the nation’s competitiveness.

Ideas can deliver powerful results. The biggest enterprises, the most ambitious plans and the most meaningful contributions all start with the same thing – an idea. An idea can start small and grow to a powerful force that changes individuals, companies, nations and even the world.

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