DESIGN is no longer seen only as a way to create better products. It's increasingly viewed as a more effective process to better understand users' needs and then shape experiences, services and products more effectively around them.
This approach known as design thinkingwas introduced to a group of nonprofit organisations NPOs by Inyathelo: The SA Institute for Advancement on March 13 in Cape Town.
The workshop took place at the Inyathelo office in Woodstock and was facilitated by Jill Ruijsch van Dugteren, who holds an MPhil Master of Philosophy in participatory design education from UCT.
She is a highly experienced lecturer in design education, research and facilitation at higher education institutions and NPOs.
"The workshop attracted participants who work across a range of sectors, including health, education, social enterprise and mental health," said an Inyathelo spokesperson. "Participants worked in a consultative way, engaging in pairs and in groups, resulting in a rich and lively engagement."
Inyathelo has been discussing design thinking with Van Dugteren since 2014, considering how its processes, methods and tools could help address challenge areas for NPOs. "In the last year or so, the curiosity around design think ing has intensified in both for profit and nonprofit spaces. "We thought it would be a good idea to present a daylong workshop as an introduction to the approach," she said. "Our team's initial conversations on running a workshop like this centred on how it could lead to rejuvenated creativity, enhanced critical thinking and improved decisionmaking in, for example, strategy, planning and programme design. "The workshop showed, though, that design thinking is a discipline that can be applied across various areas of work and on both broad, specific and practical matters."
Participant Sandi Sher, marketing manager at TSiBA Education, said: "Design thinking is still so underused in South Africa as a new way of thinking and running of organisations. "It's going to be a critical method of managing the rapid technology changes faced by everyone, way into the future," she said. The programme director at Nacosa a network of civil society organisations addressing HIV, Aids and TB in Southern Africa, Marieta de Vos, said: "I will consider using creative processes with groups to unravel complex ideas and get to new and innovative solutions."