The HPI d-school building is home to the Hasso Plattner d-school Afrika* located at the UCT’s middle campus. Through the d-school Afrika*, UCT became the first academic institution in Africa to offer training and capacity building in design thinking.
The d-school offers a wide variety of programmes to students, staff and faculty. The school has worked with the university’s Faculties of Commerce, Education, Engineering and Built Environment, Humanities, Social Sciences, Health Sciences and Law and Science representing the range of disciplines essential to the transdisciplinary work that underpins design thinking practice.
The Hasso Plattner Foundation aims to accelerate the adoption of digital technologies, support environmental science and conservation, and foster connections through art and culture. It was this that led previous Vice-Chancellor Dr Max Price to persuade Professor Dr Hasso Plattner, co-founder of software company SAP AG and chairman of its supervisory board and the Hasso Plattner Trust, to ‘plant’ a d-school in Afrika, at UCT. This was founded in Cape Town in August 2015 with funding, intellectual property and academic support from Plattner and commenced the first student programme in 2016.
The Potsdam institution is d-school Afrika*’s sister school and works very closely with the Cape Town institution through knowledge and coach exchange programmes.
Founded by Hasso Plattner in Potsdam in 2007 using the Stanford d-school model, it has become the European centre for design thinking education.
The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford was founded by David Kelley and Bernard Roth in 2004 and has become one of the most popular academic programmes at the university. Stanford’s d-school builds on methods from across the field of design to create learning experiences that help people unlock their creative potential and apply it to the world.
The Global Design Thinking Alliance (GDTA) is a network of institutions that teach, research and further develop the methods and mindsets of design thinking.
The GDTA is a vast and varied network comprising 35 member institutions on five continents – from the London School of Economics to d-school Afrika* at the University of Cape Town. Thanks to its virtual infrastructure, best practices in design thinking can be exchanged, debated and explored to understand challenges on a global scale.
Annual conferences bringing together delegates from 30 countries and monthly Spotlight Sessions highlight design thinking methodology in different cultural spaces. Furthermore, a Coaches Exchange Programme facilitates in-depth learning and teaching across international boundaries.
The d-school Afrika* has established its footprint within Afrika with programmes like Design Thinking Afrika which is in partnership with Ashesi University and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, American University in Cairo’s Center for Learning and Teaching in Egypt, and the University of Nairobi, Department of Art and Design in Kenya are inviting students from these specific institutions to apply for this exciting, interactive, and unique online programme in Design Thinking.
The school has further intention to convene and nurture an Afrikan Collaborative Network and community of practice of like-minded institutions of learning and development, with a focus on design thinking that is reflective of and responsive to the Afrikan context.
Embedded in every Afrikan home language is the use of the letter ‘k’ in the name Afrika. We choose to recognise our continent with its original spelling, allowing it to remain true to its identity, history, and people.