Our objective at the d-school is to infuse students and
professionals with a design thinking mindset.
Training in design thinking enables innovation and new outcomes to help meet the needs of users in complex socio-political and economic contexts. This is particularly relevant in a region like ours that requires human-centred, contextually relevant, innovation - from products to services, systems and business models.
The Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking based at the University of Cape Town (d-school) is the only dedicated academic institution offering training and capacity-building in design thinking in the Africa region. It was founded in Cape Town, South Africa in 2015 with the support of the Hasso Plattner Foundation. The d-school joins the globally renowned Hasso Plattner Insitutes of Design Thinking at the Universities of Stanford in the US and Potsdam in Germany.
From the beginning, the d-school programmes have attracted the diversity across all spectrums (race, gender, religion, discipline, interests, skills,experience and worldview) that we believe is vital for addressing the complexity of the modern era.
The d-school students come from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. They typically aspire to become game changers in innovation and enjoy working in multidisciplinary teams on transversal projects. They are challenge-loving, problem-solving, big picture thinkers who thrive in dynamic environments and hope to solve the world's problems.
The d-school works with institutions and departments across the University of Cape Town to bring training in Design Thinking to students, faculty and staff.
This includes a growing demand from UCT faculties to partner with the d-school to co-deliver programmes within UCT. A credit bearing module for 4th Year Engineering Students (EEE4113C) was co-created with the Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment (EBE) and launched in 2017. The d-school also delivers design thinking training for students enrolled in the Genesis Programme’s Post Graduate Diploma in Entrepreneurship and for student social entrepreneurs at the Raymond Ackerman Academy (RAA) based at the Graduate School of Business. In 2017, the d-school’s Foundation Programme was piloted on the UCT Plus programme towards becoming an official UCT short course.
In December 2016 UCT approved the move of the d-school from its temporary home, under the office of the Vice Chancellor, to the Centre for Higher Education Development (CHED).The move to CHED in 2017 enables the d-school to work with UCT to develop a more rigorous academic oversight and governance framework. This will in future enable the formalisation of some of the d-school programmes’ academic accreditation.
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