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CDI design thinking sessions help the Western Cape Government

Wednesday, 21 November 2018  
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The CDI recently wrapped up a project for the Western Cape Government’s Delivery Support Unit (DSU), which resides in the Department of the Premier, facilitating a two-stage process with their Game Changer teams to introduce them to design-led thinking and problem-solving tools.

These are strategic project teams that focus on six priority areas of delivery: energy security; apprenticeship (technical and vocational skills); After School (activities for no-fee and low-fee learners in the Province); eLearning; alcohol harms reduction; and an innovative, mixed-use development (the Better Living Model).

With the Game Changer programme winding down in March 2019, the CDI team used a hands-on approach, and participants were encouraged to engage in the process, reflect on their challenges and issues, look for ways to solve these potentially complex problems and then develop strategies for implementation.

The aim was for teams to formulate an action plan for the remaining months to deliver and meet targets on time, ensure sustainability/longevity of their projects and programmes and embed the Game Changers’ activities in the system/host.

According to Lisa Parkes, the CDI’s design programme manager, the sessions were developed to cover all phases of the design thinking process.

 “The first session introduced participants to design-led thinking and problem solving giving them exposure to design thinking process and tools to clarify and clearly articulate the problem; the second session had participants exploring solutions, introducing techniques for rapid prototyping and providing guidance to develop strategies for implementation. Using real world challenges and a hands-on approach, participants engaged in the process and had a tangible experience of how it unfolds.


“Overall the sessions were very well received, with all participants embracing the process and using the opportunity to understand the context and application of the tools.”


The CDI has managed or collaborated on a number of pioneering projects in the province over the past few years; showcasing the value of design-led thinking and problem-solving tools in the public sector in particular. 

The CDI was involved in the inception and implementation of the CoCreate Health project which involved working in two Provincial clinics to run a design-thinking process with staff to come up with improvement ideas. With a 
grant from the Dutch government, CDI scaled this work to three City clinics - Albow Gardens, Wallacedene, and Town 2 in Khayelitsha. The CDI has also run design thinking interventions in Early Childhood Development as well as with high schools; and manages the Better Living Challenge for the Province, which aims to surface design innovations that support the improvement of the living conditions of low-income communities. 


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