Scout has been appointed by the Craft and Design Institute (CDI) to promote the upcoming #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL, which CDI organises on behalf of the Mission Network of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa. The festival, which runs from 20 – 23 September 2021, will take participants on a deep dive into the major fault lines in South Africa – brutally exposed by the impact COVID-19 – in order to stimulate ideas and action that result in inclusion and change in our world.

The point of the festival is to expose the broader Design & Innovation community to thought-leaders, innovators and inspiring makers and doers, in order to inspire and catalyse more thought and solutions, and build a “community of practice” in the process. Private sector businesses, communities, designers, thinkers, do-ers, visionaries and policy makers from across the country and beyond are invited to participate in this collaborative public event.

The “unconference” style of this year’s festival allows for small physical gatherings and site visits, online conversations, and facilitated design thinking sprints, all aimed at supporting innovators to start to bed down their ideas. Entrance is free for online participants and the event will be streamed live, running alongside a small hybrid component of in-venue seating located at The Old Biscuit Mill in Salt River, Cape Town. There will be no more than 50 people at a time in the venue, due to strict COVID-19 protocols.

An initiative of the Mission Network of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa, the #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL celebrates and examines the power of design to tackle current socio-economic and environmental challenges within an African context. “We aim to explore these pressing challenges experienced by South Africans, but also, and importantly, showcase the application of innovation and design-led approaches to serve as inspiration,” explains Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, Consul General at the Netherlands Consulate General in Cape Town. “This, we hope, will spark many more new ideas. Connecting it all is design; we want to stimulate the design of better systems, products and services,” Messerschmidt concludes.

The programme for this year’s festival has been in development since March 2021, through the CDI’s monthly Creative Exchange programme. These exchanges have served to start the conversation and exploration of very complex issues and have thrown up the need for more detailed, focused discussions over the four days of the festival. With a broad theme of “Designing a brave post-COVID world”, the underpinning question of the programme is: “How might we design solutions for increased inclusivity and access?”

The programme is structured against four key topic pillars: Our economy, our healthcare system, our food system, and our water and sanitation systems. Particular focus is on inclusive digital innovation and creative solutions to address what COVID-19 has left even more vulnerable. The organisers have invited subject experts to talk on a range of topics under these pillars.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare so many of our challenges as a country. If we can start with understanding and processing, we can find new ways of designing solutions together that will lead to better access and real change,” states Erica Elk, CEO of CDI. 

The festival will pursue these issues not to dwell on them but to shine a light on them so as to understand why they exist in the first instance – in the desire to stimulate new thinking and fresh ideas from the many thinkers and doers who relentlessly seek solutions to poverty, hunger and inequality in our world.

This year, the festival will also incorporate the launch of the RE:SOLVE Design Innovation Challenge and its Call for Entry. This is an eight-month design thinking process programme driven by the CDI, with funding from the City of Cape Town, aimed at turning good ideas into reality.

While the live streaming for #cocreateDESIGN FESTIVAL 2021 is free, it is necessary to book tickets for the in-venue gatherings at a cost of R50 per person. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to non-profit organisations working to solve the festival’s four pillar challenges in South Africa.

Book here to secure your place at the online event and to book for an in-venue gathering: