Learning from the Extremes

March 3, 2010

Learning from the Extremes (pdf) from Charles Leadbeater and Annika Wong is an informative read exploring innovation in education across formal and informal learning, one of the more interesting chapters covers disruptive innovation in informal learning. From the whitepaper:

"Transformational innovation does not create alternative kinds of school but alternatives to school— entirely new ways of learning.

In the developing world, schools do not work well in many of the most challenging social contexts where education is most needed. A social innovation created in response to industrialization and urbanization in Europe and the United States in the 19th century may not be the best answer to the needs of sprawling developing world cities in the 21st century, where most people will earn their livings in small, entrepreneurial businesses. The developing world needs low-cost, high-quality forms of mass learning to reach the millions of families who are coming to cities and who want to learn. Schools are a cumbersome and often ineffective way to meet this need.

The means are now becoming available to produce transformational innovation of this kind. The spread of the web, particularly through mobile phones, will allow more people than ever to access information, knowledge, and advice from skilled teachers and their peers, to participate in discussion, and to learn by their own discovery and through playing games. We have only just begun to explore how the web might be used to promote learning."

Most of the case studies are more social entrepreneurial than technology based, but definitely food for thought. 

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Tyred, old tires upgraded

February 23, 2010

With the Design Indaba Expo coming up in a few days time in Cape Town, there will be a lot of designa goods to view, including these great pieces from Tyred

"If you’re looking for durable furniture that is not only helping the environment, but also helping people find jobs, Tyred will have you burning rubber in no time. By taking used and old tires, Tyred create custom designed chairs, ottomans and tables that can be used indoors and outdoors. They use various materials from foam and leather to canvas and wood, meaning each piece of furniture can be made to your specifications and to fit the location in which you want to use them. While helping the environment, Tyred is also making a social impact by only employing men with families and attest to hiring more men as the need arises. "Design Indaba. 

Posted via email from REculture

Other peoples rubbish, Heath Nash

February 14, 2010

Heath Nash is a sculptor living in Cape Town who has made his name by creating functional art from rubbish. Read the story of how Nash started working with waste material creating ranges such as Other People's Rubbish as "a possible form of future upliftment for a country in desperate need of employment opportunities, and as a way to promote the idea of recycling to a very unaware SouthAfrican public"

Image via GOOD

Posted via email from REculture

Design for Social Wellbeing/BoP design

October 4, 2009


Edan Weis is working on  his PhD research project; Design for Social Wellbeing: A Case Study of Normative Design Thinking, see the work in progress here.

“This research is a comparative study of the design process accross several organizations designing for/with the poor, specifically the early concept/ideation stages of product development. I’m interested in the way designer’s “frame” their problems according to their individual perspectives, and how this affects their design process. In “social design”, perspectives are often as contested as the development theories they are associated with. The aim of study is to devise methods and practical approaches for design focused on alleviating poverty by examining the design process itself, rather than through external discourses of development economics, sociology of technology, or innovation studies. The research assumes that such discourses—while still important in understanding social design practices—exert a greater influence at the practical level of designing than has been previously recognized.”

“This study investigates industrial design practice which aims to contribute to poverty alleviation and economic development in poor nations. The practice of “Design for Social Wellbeing” (DSW) generally operates in four capacities: 1) product/service design consulting for/with local businesses and individuals; 2) commercial product/service development for low-income markets; 3) education for formal/informal manufacturing or crafts sectors; 4) implementing national industrial and economic policy. ”

Edan is currently looking for BOP product developers / inventors / design firms interested in participating in a case study for his PhD research project.

Via BOP Source, @bopsource. Image from Edan’s Research Proposal (PDF).

Posted via email from Design in Africa

Plastic waste recycling press

August 16, 2009

Great stuff from Maker Faire Africa via Afrigadget.

“We’ve got a lot of plastic trash all over Africa, especially in the cities. A team from IDDS (Amit Gandhi from the US, and Mark Driordan from the UK) decided to create a way to add value to waste plastic by using a low-cost process to transform it into something useful: plastic sheets. From these sheets can be made a number of other products. On display they had shoes, bags, pencil cases and folders.”

See video here.

Image credit, Maker Faire Africa Flickr pool.

Posted via email from REculture: A post consumption economy

Recycling in Nairobi

August 3, 2009

Originally from REculture: A post consumption economy

Steve Daniels has a great post at Analogue/Digital about Nairobi’s Industrial Area. “Essential to the Industrial Area’s thriving activity, and indeed a critical differentiator from rural jua kalis, is an equally thriving materials infrastructure. To sustain the manufacturing of so many diverse products, a separate industry has emerged for raw materials, both recycled and new.”
“Working with scrap material presents new design challenges. Flexibility is critical when ideal parts are not always available.”
Have a look at Nairobi Industrial Area: Products for more recycled lamps, boxes and much more.

Images by Steve Daniels.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from REculture: A post consumption economy

Nokia and education, part one

April 23, 2009

Met some really interesting students who are designing and exploring education delivery on handheld devices.

‘Project Nokia.Expand aims to create a learning platform for children in developing countries in the form of a mobile device. The device will be durable, low-cost, light-weight, easy to use and contains components that enable the children to interact with their immediate environment. The example applications are based on extensive user studies across multiple countries and continents. They will support learning, communication, and playful interaction within and outside a school. We believe that learning happens through interacting with the world. Technology supports that.’ Design Factory.

More to come after the opening of the Product Design Gala.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from Design in Africa

Blogging for Readymade

February 23, 2009

Photo Credit

I am writing for Readymade‘s Illustrated Weekly World of Design, topics include the design process, innovation, design news from South Africa and all the other stuff in between.

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Out and about

February 16, 2009

Having fun, dealing with Africa time, good times.

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Mail on Ovi; low end devices, high user adoption

February 2, 2009

Photo credit

Nokia announced Mail on Ovi late last year, it was picked up well, and seen as a milestone to delivering email to most of the planet.

“At Nokia we believe email should be available for everybody. We also launched Mail on Ovi, a free email service primarily aimed at the billions of first time email users, 75% of world’s population.” Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo – President and CEO, Nokia stated recently.

Mail on Ovi is free and preloaded on all Nokia Series 40 devices launching in 2009, and a wide range of devices currently out there. Its easy to use, because you don’t have to install anything, you don’t need a computer at all, it ‘works out the box’.

Now here is the interesting part, if you want to install the gmail app on a S40 Nokia, you can’t, you cannot download it; it will tell you that the file size is too big. I stand to be corrected, but I tried 2 different s40 devices, same result. And that is after figuring out how to find the app on the internet. But you can set up gmail in the mail setting pretty easily though, but that would imply you already have a gmail account.

What does that mean? Is it because there are hardware limitations to keep costs low, or is the s40 software is not sophisticated enough to deal with 3rd party applications? Could it be a clever business move to eliminate competition? Or could it just be that Nokia saw an opportunity to make email as simple as possible without too many hurdles. And who do you think is more recognized to 75% of the world’s population?

Now all that needs to happen is for service providers to lower data costs, a ubiquitous internet that can be viewed on all devices and we could be seeing the next internet really take off.

Posted via email from Design in Africa