On Wednesday the 11th of January, we hosted a Design Thinking workshop in collaboration with the Western Cape Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT) and the Cape Craft and Design Institute (CCDI). The workshop served as an introduction and awareness initiative for a study commissioned to CC&DW by the Department titled A Baseline Study on the Western Cape Design Eco-System. The Department seeks to identify strategic interventions that continue to place design as a catalyst for economic growth in the Province. In order to inform these interventions, the Department has subsequently commissioned this study to gain a better understanding of the provincial design landscape, challenges and opportunities.
Local business owners and designers from various sectors attended the workshop to understand what ‘Design Thinking’ really is, as well as the role design can play in their businesses.
So, what is it?
“Design Thinking has its core in human empathy…it’s not a quick fix, but it’s a real fix”, said guest speaker Johan van Niekerk, Industrial Design programme leader and lecturer at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). Design Thinking, which is often misunderstood, is not adopting a vague and “airy-fairy way” of thinking nor does it necessarily mean you need to start thinking like an artist. It refers to a broader, more creative approach to problem-solving compared to conventional practices.
How can I practically apply Design Thinking methodologies to my business?
Design Thinking methods and strategies are not limited to any particular industry. The process emphasizes more detailed focus in research and analysis in the primary phase of product conceptualization. This means more time, money and effort spent understanding what your client needs, how the product/service should be made and ultimately how to deliver such. Although this does raise a lot more questions and cause uncertainty at the beginning of creating a product or service, the end result is useful with a clear direction and higher chance of success.
“Design is a human-centered and collaborative approach to problem solving, using a designed mindset to problem solving.” – Tim Brown
Here’s what participants of the Design Thinking workshop had to say about their experience. Keep an eye out for follow-up blogs during the lifespan of this study.
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