Design and Innovation for Social Change

Last week RLabs hosted a Talkoot! with its main partners; Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Aalto University, and the Cape Town partnership. Talkoot! is a Finnish expression used when friends and neighbours come together to work on a task of common interest, or to help someone who does not have the capacity to accomplish the task on his own.

Talkoot! Day at Rlabs was part of a week-long “Helsinki Meets Cape Town” event. The event provided a platform for the current World Design Capital, Helsinki, to share experiences and support Cape Town’s own planning processes for its World Design Capital year 2014.

On Talkoot! Day, a diverse group of people gathered on the Cape Flats to connect and share ways in which to deal with unique challenges from two diverse communities. The community of Khayelitsha presented a case that dealt with the problem of litter, refuse and refuse removal. And the community of Bridgetown shared its case that relates to the health service delivery challenges experienced by its vulnerable members.

Talkoot! Day kicked off with a community tour done by Bradley Naidoo, the owner of tour company Chisana, who is a local from the community of Bridgetown. The rest of the day involved a co-creation process where representatives from Finland, Altoo University, CPUT, Khayelitsha, Bridgetown, designers, and others, searched for ways to help the identified communities deal with its challenges. And after many hours of brainstorming, sharing of ideas, bottles of mineral water, fruit, and caffeine, groups presented their final ideas. Ideas were well received by the communities, and many individuals showed an interest to support the implementation of it.

Everyone truly lived up to the meaning of Talkoot!, and after much collaboration, finished off in true South African style, with a traditional braai done by the local community members of Bridgetown.

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