Design Indaba Day One

For those of you who have never heard of the Design Indaba it’s an organisation that drives for a better world through design, creativity and innovation.
Each year over a few days they hold a conference in Cape Town where some of the worlds brightest creative minds get together to share inspirational 1

Day one traditionally opens with a talk from a South African Agency, and this year it was from our very own group ECD Chris Gotz. Chris told our Ogilvy Cape Town story of a rebirth through fire. Together with Gavin Levinsohn, Chris helped transform the agency from a rather traditional but good agency, into South Africa’s number 1 integrated agency. The key message focused around divine discontent, and a need for us all to stop just telling stories, and to start making them instead.

next up was  Juliana Rotich from Ushanda in kenya, she spoke about some of the incredible innovation coming from Africa that helps democratise information such as the BRCK, and shared that for every 1% growth in internet penetration, most countries will see on average a 1.63% growth in GDP.

Amsterdam based graphic design studio  Experimental Jetset, shared some of their inspiration on how they got to some of their most famous work such as the graphic design for the Whitney Museum in NYC. One key takeout was that you have to create your own freedom, it will never be given to you.

Probably my personal  favourite speaker of the day was Jake Barton (watch this video of Jake talking at Wired), founder of interactive New York design house Local Projects. He shared some of their wonderful work and talked a lot about how we need to make more platforms that allow people to create their own authentic stories (See below). The other main point was to stop always trying to just conceptualise ideas and wait for briefs, and rather mock things up then actively go sell to clients as solutions.

Ije Nwokorie MD of Wolff Olins in the UK talked about how great design inspires people to do things differently, and how creativity tends to work best in messy environments.

This years Pecha kucha talk were as always a mixed bunch from all over the world as normal, the standout talk was by Dave Hakkens who invented the Phone Bloks ( have a look at, and then turned down a job with Motorola to follow his own path.

The last two talk were from Tom Hulme from Open Ideo and famous UK designer Thomas Heatherwick. Tom told us we are all designers, and how great design addresses a human need and in a low friction (easy to do) way.
Thomas took us through his iconic work creating the UK Olympic Cauldron, the new London Bus, as well as the UK Pavilion in China.

The day ended with a special surprise as they announced a new Heatherwick design project at the V&A Waterfront that will create Africa’s first public contemporary African art museum.

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