Design Storming: Igniting change with collective imagination

Design Mine LOVES Design Storming: Ignite change

From Cape Town 2014

Published on 20 June 2012

Cape Town, in bidding for World Design Capital 2014, committed itself to transforming lives by design – rebuilding community cohesion; reconnecting communities through infrastructural enhancement; and repositioning the city for the knowledge economy. A grand vision, no doubt, but how do we get designers and communities talking the same language and collectively solving pressing social problems to get us there?

Creative Cape Town, in collaboration with the Cape Town Design Network (CTDN), and in partnership with community-based organisations, has an answer: Design Storming.

What is a Design Storm?

In 2005, Yahoo start a series of design hacks, bringing together designers, developers, scientists and other geeks in the same physical space for 48 hours of intense collaboration. For Cape Town’s Design Storming sessions, small teams of community members, government, academia, designers and business people will be brought together for 12 hours (two days with six hours of workshopping) around a common problem – such as sanitation, waste management or job creation – as defined by a community-based organisation.

The first Design Storm is set for 30 June and 1 July – in celebration of World Industrial Design Day – at VPUU Precinct 3 in Khayelitsha, and the Social Justice Coalition have defined the first design challenge – around refuse collection and removal in townships. Refuse collection is a critical component in ensuring that communities are clean and safe. Failure to adequately collect and dispose of refuse leads to the spread of disease, pests such as rats, contamination of water sources, and blockage of sewerage systems. (To understand the challenge better, read their problem statement here and the design brief below)

Michael Wolf of the CTDN explains why they decided to get involved: “With World Design Capital 2014, we’ve had a lot of designers coming to us and asking how they can get involved and what they can do. We would like to see World Design Capital 2014 as an opportunity to plant a couple of seeds that will involve the community and designers in really bringing about some change. Design Storming is almost like an incubation initiative for that.”

I’d like to ignite change and spark genius.

Can I get involved? Design Storms are voluntary, fun and open to anyone, but if you’d like to participate in this first session, reply to as soon as possible, as places are limited. Transport to and from the venue will be arranged.

What: Design Storming Session 1
When: 30 June and 1 July, from 10h00 until 17h00
Where: VPUU Precinct 3 in Khayelitsha

If you aren’t able to commit to this weekend, don’t worry: There will be more Design Storms in the near future, and this first sessions’ participants will be asked to present the outcomes of their collective storming to a live audience and panel of judges around a month from now – so watch this space. You can also keep tabs of the #designstorming hashtag on Twitter to follow the workshop’s progress.

Read up on the first design challenge

Read the Social Justice Coalition’s problem statement, outlining the challenges of refuse collection and removal in the townships via this link.

Your challenge will be to co-design a solution with the community, for the community, by the community, that takes into account:

– Irregular collection of refuse
– Lack of community awareness about the current collection system
– Lack of a sense of ownership at a street level
– No convenient space to store refuse at home
– Refuse containers (ex-shipping containers) that are inconvenient and unhygienic (locked much of the
   time and situated nearby water sources)
– Refuse removal contractors who are not held accountable for their performance
– That there is often no recourse for community complaints
– The need for viable recycling solutions

Photos of some of the refuse challenges facing communities are courtesy of the Social Justice Coalition