Business News of Thursday, 14 June 2018
Source: Design Thinking Ghana Hub
Individuals and organizations interested in finding creative ways of developing new products, services and business models will get some good lessons and best practices at the upcoming Design Thinking Ghana Conference, the DTGC on June 22nd & 23rd, 2018. The event is being organized by the Design Thinking Ghana Hub, the Ghana Design Network, and the Ashesi D:Lab.
Last year, DTGC2017 engaged 120 Ghanaians and 30 expatriates with presentations, mini-workshops, design charrettes and great networking activities with the audience made up of professionals and students. According to the organizers, this year, DTGC2018 is bigger and better with a two-day event featuring a series of exciting and educational activities.
Dr. Gordon Adomdza, Founding Lead at Ashesi D:Lab and Co-Founder of Design Thinking Ghana Hub noted that DTGC2018 has two tracks: Using Design Thinking for competitive Advantage and Social Impact. “We believe that if a company has deep customer or user insights, it can understand the customers’ needs better than its competitors and subsequently provide the best solution. If customers enjoy the best solution, their level of satisfaction will sustain the company’s business and also ensure the greatest impact”
On his part, the Program Chair, Dela Kumahor noted that the program was designed around the two tracks with talks, case study presentations, workshops and pane0ls addressing the two tracks throughout the two-day event. “We have presentations on how companies have used design thinking to create new offerings in products, services and programs in healthcare, telecoms, financial services, customer services, education, energy, informal sector, community development among others. We have case study presentations on what companies have achieved by using the design thinking methodology in different sectors as well. We also have two panels, one on the limits of design thinking and the other on making the case for design thinking in your organization” said Mr. Kumahor.
The conference will also see two keynote speakers. On the first day, Dr Rael Futerman, the Program Manager at the d.school at University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa will deliver a keynote address. The UCT chapter of the d.school is the newest and third Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking in the world, joining the well-established d.schools at Stanford and Potsdam Universities. Dr. Futerman is also running a two-day design thinking workshop prior to the conference, to understand the need for design thinking in Ghana. On the second day, Arne Van Oosterom, Founder of the Design Thinkers Group, DesignThinkers Academy and Design Thinking Network, from the Netherlands will deliver the second keynote address. Arne has led the Design Thinkers Group to become one of the leading ‘design driven’ Innovation Agencies facilitating the process with many organizations around the world. Other notable innovators presenting include David Hutchful of Bloom Impact, former Director of Innovation at Grameen Foundation and Whit Alexander, founder of Burro Brand.
Based on the conference activities and the tracks of competitive advantage and social impact, the organizers maintain that the participants will leave the conference with a good sense of how to gather deep customer or user and market insights, how to unpack them, explore practices for developing solutions and explore the tools for conceptualizing and testing their solutions. Participants will also be exposed to how these processes work in exploring opportunities for social innovation in pressing socioeconomic environments, how to engage stakeholders, collaborate for social impact and how to sustain the impact once established.
Design thinking has really taken off with many corporations, schools and training programs, adopting the process in their innovation training programs and project. Dr. Adomdza said there is a reason why design thinking is gaining grounds. “With deep customer insight, companies are sometimes able to create value beyond what their competitors offer and make significant impact. There are many ways of unearthing deep customer insights, but the Design Thinking approach provides deeper more nuanced information for decision making because it focuses on the user and takes a systems perspective in tackling the issue at hand”.