WDC 2014 and the City of Cape Town Projects

One of Mayor Patricia de Lille’s objectives of World Design Capital 2014 is to develop a culture of design thinking within the public sector and entrench the use of design processes to provide solutions for communities.  But what is design thinking as a business solution and what is the City of Cape Town doing to make this objective a reality. We spoke to Richard Perez, Director, WDC 2014 for the City of Cape Town.

What is design thinking as a business tool?

Bill Gates once said ‘innovate or die’ and this is equally important for both product and services companies. Design thinking is a problem solving tool to generate innovative ideas with the user at the centre of the process, and for the public sector, this is citizen centricity. It involves collaboration from a cross disciplinary team and a good facilitator for maximum generation of ideas and creative solutions.

What are the City of Cape Town’s design thinking initiatives?

We are raising awareness and embedding design thinking into the public sector so that it continues well beyond 2014. The initiatives include:

  • Running co-design workshops with the 111 wards and their citizens. Here communities with designers and the public sector will identify innovative solutions to address local challenges. Citizens who would like to get involved in their ward’s co-design workshops, please drop an email with your name and ward number to codesign@capetown.gov.za.
  • Showcase the City of Cape Town’s projects through a design lens. These include:
    • Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) programme – reducing crime in Khayelitsha through design, infrastructure and community participation.
    • SmartCape – providing free computer and Internet access at City public libraries
    • MyCiti Rapid Transport System – efficient, affordable and universal public transport
    • Economic Areas Management Programme (ECAMP) – an innovative, flexible decision-making support tool to guide the allocation of municipal resources across Cape Town’s 71 business districts.
  • Showcasing the value of service design such as in the health department where we are currently scoping out a project for one of the City’s clinics into which we will bring private sector consultants, academics and international service design experts to develop and deliver a process which delivers tangible benefits for the clinic community.
  • Producing thought leadership to highlight how well the City is run globally. For example do you know that when the City of Cape Town was established as a Unicity, the systems transformation process which pulled seven legacy systems together under a unified SAP ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, created the largest municipal system of its kind in the world.

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