Abstract

Look at the world around you, virtually every single product in that room, every single service you interact with, every app you open, has historically been designed by a group of homogenous designers. What would the world look like if we had a more diverse group of designers in the driver’s seat? To tackle that challenge I worked with Act in Africa, a business accelerator based in Zimbabwe, to design and lead a program that gave unemployed Zimbabweans the tools and opportunities to become design researchers and to shift who held the power to design and world-shape in their society. The program pushed the participants to go from learner to leader within a month. We worked on a local challenge, ‘How might we improve public transport in Harare?’ as a way for them to rapidly learn design research skills and apply their skills to their context. We then worked with major local corporate clients in a design sprint where the researchers practiced their skills and ran a real consulting project. We are running a version two of the program this year and planning a scale-up to Zambia design research; training; decolonizing design; community design.

Keywords

Design research; training; decolonizing design; community design

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License

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Jun 4th, 12:00 AM

Designing to Shift Power

Look at the world around you, virtually every single product in that room, every single service you interact with, every app you open, has historically been designed by a group of homogenous designers. What would the world look like if we had a more diverse group of designers in the driver’s seat? To tackle that challenge I worked with Act in Africa, a business accelerator based in Zimbabwe, to design and lead a program that gave unemployed Zimbabweans the tools and opportunities to become design researchers and to shift who held the power to design and world-shape in their society. The program pushed the participants to go from learner to leader within a month. We worked on a local challenge, ‘How might we improve public transport in Harare?’ as a way for them to rapidly learn design research skills and apply their skills to their context. We then worked with major local corporate clients in a design sprint where the researchers practiced their skills and ran a real consulting project. We are running a version two of the program this year and planning a scale-up to Zambia design research; training; decolonizing design; community design.

 

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