Who to structure design teams and optimise processes

The size of design teams is growing in size, but for many organisations design is a new field and not their core business. In this talk i would like to expose the various challenges and solutions i’ve implemented as a consultant to corporates in South Africa who are trying to scale their designs teams, remain focused to delivering value at the same time keeping staff engaged and motivated to the career goals and aspirations.

Designing the African Century through Venture Design

Over the last 10 to 15 years; the potential of Africa has been shouted from the rooftops, with our exploding young population, decent penetration of technology and a permissive trade environment; every pundit was placing bets on Africa Rising to meet its challenges and potential head-on. Looking back today it is difficult to see evidence of the much spoken about “Africa Rising” – instead we seem to be more and more mired in our unsolvable problems, both socio-economic and socio-political. While; over the same period of time; Silicone Valley has been able to produce countless Unicorn ventures with multi-billion dollar valuations and unmistakeable impact and value creation. What might be some of the things that have gone well or not so well in how we in Africa have responded and organised ourselves to solve African problems over the last 10 or so years? How might we use these learnings to develop a razor-sharp focus on designing and delivering the future we want for ourselves?

In this presentation “Designing the African Century through Venture Design” my primary hypothesis is that as Africans we need to be explicit and intentional about how we approach our problems. We need to design our way into the future we dream of. For this purpose, I borrow from the framework of Venture Design to better understand how we could design products, services and sustainable businesses that seek to exploit our potential as a continent by creating innovative solutions to our peculiar problems. Using the framework of Venture Design I propose an approach for both the corporate, societal, governmental and start-up ecosystems to leverage Human Centred Design and Design Thinking to better understand African problems and explicitly design the ventures that can deliver for us the future we dream of.

My name is Seth Mbhele and I have spent the past 25 years as a developer, multi-disciplinary experience designer and entrepreneur. I bring these disciplines and experiences together in my day job as a Design Strategist and Venture Designer consulting to leading corporate clients in Financial Services, Telecoms and Healthcare in South Africa and across the continent.

Design Mantras

Jax is going to dig into some of our favourite heuristics. Sometimes following the good advice of a mental shortcut messes up a design, instead of saving it.
Let’s pause to think when to lean on a heuristic. How to choose a better mental shortcut for a situation. Knowing when to throw your mantra away and reboot your thinking.

Post Covid Differentiator: The Value Add

If Covid has taught us anything, it would be that life is precious and that our choices can’t just be a series of experiences. Our choices have to matter practically, emotionally and socially. Take the opportunity to explore your product’s value-add for users, before “agiling” into a solution.

Design together: Collaboration in Product Teams

For designers, a lot of what we do involves working with other people in the organisation. Designers are valued by collaboration and team enablement rather than only individual tasks.
Collaboration is however often seen as a buzzword. This talk will cover examples of collaboration between PMs, engineers, designers, researchers, writers and other stakeholders in product teams.

Working together from everywhere

Real collaboration is hard to come by – even after a year of remote working. The question is, how do we create a space that is conducive to real, radical collaboration? The answer? Through understanding ourselves, each other, and how we work together so that we can be more efficient, motivated, reduce friction and learn from the best in our teams.

Keynote: Made with love

Accessibility does not happen by accident. It takes empathy, thought, and understanding, and the Inclusive Design Principles can help you create accessible products and services with love.

Make it harder to use – why you shouldn’t always remove friction for the user

We live in a world where thing are becoming increasingly easier to use, but at what cost? There is a case for not removing difficulty and perhaps introducing difficulty for the user in order to build longer lasting relationships. I explore the space that exists for increasing the friction and finding the balance for product design.

Designing for connection

Dating apps are not just about the perfect matching algorithm. Many subtle design decisions go into creating the right kind of experience for the particular audience that you’re targeting, from the search mechanism through to the presentation of profiles and the interface language. In this talk, Maritza shares some experiences from the evolution of the Intentions dating app to illustrate the subtle choices that go into finding the right balance between teasing sex appeal, establishing trust and yielding results.