Having conversations about the place, practice and purpose of design thinking

The Learning and Discovery Lab works across the d-school Afrika at the University of Cape Town (UCT) to contextualise and deepen its work and impact. This further aligns to the University’s main purpose to contribute to unleashing human potential for a fair and just society at UCT and beyond.

As we enter a phase of significant growth and visibility, we’re excited about the work we’re doing and the space on UCT’s Middle Campus – and we believe it could contribute to meaningful societal change.

This requires being reflective, constantly opening up our practice to scrutiny and working with partners and collaborators both inside and outside UCT.

Research Development and Knowledge Building:

Here the focus is twofold: internally – building our knowledge base more intentionally through engaging in business intelligence research; externally – undertaking research that links our work to the broader design thinking field.

Dialogues and Reflexive Praxis:

Engaging in writing, reflection, and design dialogues to foster critical, dynamic and responsive engagement with practice.

Learning Collaborations:

This aspect of the Lab’s work involves bringing various stakeholders together like visiting scholars, the Africa network, civil society partners, and student leadership to drive innovation and tackle challenges.


Building a community of practice through partnerships and ongoing collaborations

We recognize the importance of long-term strategic collaborations both inside and outside the d-school, involving coaches, students, the broader UCT, and societal partners.

Working in partnerships to co-create our practice is thus an intentional strategy geared towards creating a design thinking community of practice, sharing common values, goals, engaging critically with the field.

This community extends to UCT constituents, external partners, and the broader African continent.

Through these efforts, we aim to make our work more visible, demonstrating its impact on different constituencies, contributing to broader society, and engaging boldly and critically with design thinking.

We aim to do this in a manner that is cognisant of the place we are in, the purpose that needs to frame our engagements, and the practice that emerges to meet these difficult societal challenges.

In addition, we aim to bring young, new researchers on board so that our work and ways of thinking can influence a new generation of scholars and researchers.