In the past it was common just to think in one way to solve a specific problem. The norm was to have a specific starting point and then using a predefined step-by-step approach to work towards the solution. The road to the solution was therefore always clearly marked with one direction and innovation was sometimes rendered as being very difficult using this approach. However, applying these types of methodologies are more complex when it comes to solving critical social problems especially where resources are limited and communities are marginalized. The journey of innovation and creativity is more than just a one-way sign-posted route but one that should be free from limitations and assumptions.

A shift of focus is required from the Design World to the Design for the World which will lead to even more exciting innovations that can have a major social impact. The design approach should be one of people-based and not just having people as the end-user. This is part of Design Thinking as an approach to find innovative solutions where the aim is using your community as a way of finding more creative and disruptive ways of solving problems.

“If designers are going to realise the full potential of design thought, then they should also learn to anlayse how the situations that frame design practice are
themselves constructed”

One of the most innovative companies on the planet Apple Inc. observe and are driven by design thinking methods. They put prototypes in the hands of children to discover how they interact with their technologies.

One of the greatest lessons we’ve learnt at RLabs has been to apply the methodology of Design Thinking into making a social impact. Like 2 South Africans did in 1991 with the idea of the Hippo Water Roller (See image) which provides women and children with the opportunity to move water with a capacity of 90litres without difficulty and its been adopted across Africa. This innovation was not created in a fancy office but with the people on the ground and is part of the success of this innovation. RLabs prides itself in coming up with localized community-driven innovations and innovative services like our mobile counseling services, undisciplined academy approaches and social media factory which has people at the center of everything.

If you really want to make a difference and do so creatively then an alternative design mindset is required and who knows the lasting impact you could have on the world.

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