Archive for the ‘design for social impact’ Category

Google 10^100

September 26, 2008

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Project 10^100 is the latest from Google to help change the world, using a huge amount of prize money and brand leverage, they hope to source the world for good ideas to benefit and make an impact in peoples lives. Google is embracing “crowdsourcing,” the Internet-age notion that the collective wisdom of mass audiences can be leveraged to find solutions to design tasks.

The ideas can come from anybody, anywhere and can be anything, ideas that Google has cited as good examples are the Hippo Water Roller. Which in my opinion not the ideal solution, but it is inspirational and has seen a lot of press coverage, which helps the world think about how the other 4  billion live. Project H has called for a re-design of the roller for improved shipping efficiency for wider distribution and a lower price point. A new design should see a smaller, lighter more usable roller, which will help delivery and lower costs, lets see what happens.

But, back to 10^100;


  • Community: How can we help connect people, build communities and protect unique cultures?
  • Opportunity: How can we help people better provide for themselves and their families?
  • Energy: How can we help move the world toward safe, clean, inexpensive energy?
  • Environment: How can we help promote a cleaner and more sustainable global ecosystem?
  • Health: How can we help individuals lead longer, healthier lives?
  • Education: How can we help more people get more access to better education?
  • Shelter: How can we help ensure that everyone has a safe place to live?
  • Everything else: Sometimes the best ideas don’t fit into any category at all.


  • Reach: How many people would this idea affect?
  • Depth: How deeply are people impacted? How urgent is the need?
  • Attainability: Can this idea be implemented within a year or two?
  • Efficiency: How simple and cost-effective is your idea?
  • Longevity: How long will the idea’s impact last?

Hard to believe Google is only 10 years old.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

MMA Architects win Curry Stone Design Prize

September 25, 2008

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The Curry Stone Design Prize has been won by MMA Architects for their low cost housing design which is being built in Freedom Park in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town.

The idea behind the design was conceived by Ravi Naidoo during Design Indaba 2007, the 10×10 Housing Project invited leading international and South African architects to submit housing designs for lower income families.

“Lets give dignity and empathy to the poorest of the poor by designinga house that pushes the envelope in terms of ingenuity, creativity and sustainability.” Ravi Naidoo; PingMag 2007.

The design from MMA Architects is a low cost, timber and sandbag infill construction, can be built with little or no electricity and uses unskilled labor from local communities.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

Nokia-Calling All Innovators global developer contest

September 24, 2008

Just picked this up from Worldchanging, Nokia has announced Calling All Innovators, a global contest for developers to create mobile applications that will help to better society. This is a great opportunity for people out there to develop their ideas or to start working on a new ideas. The project is endorsed by Dean Kamen.
From the press release;

‘Calling All Innovators challenges mobile application developers worldwide to create applications that will enhance the use of mobile devices in real world scenarios, in one of the three following categories:
ECO-Challenge: Make a difference by submitting an application that will work to minimize mobility’s global environmental impact and develop ways to offer mobile solutions that help consumers make sustainable choices such as reducing their energy consumption or carbon footprint.
Emerging Markets: This category opens up new opportunities for developers to imagine the possibilities of pioneering applications and services impacting the daily lives of millions in developing nations, which could include solutions for education, health data access, infotainment, rural agriculture, or any other application that improves lives in emerging markets.

Technology Showcase: This is an opportunity to create and showcase compelling, experience driven applications, using any technology that runs on Series 40 or S60 devices, such as Flash Lite, Java, Python, or
open source. From a single-purpose application to completely community driven, this developer’s showdown will help open consumers’ minds about what an application can do.’

One area that should show a lot of entries is the Emerging Markets, I hope to see some great ideas concerning mobile education, this is one area I think Nokia can make a huge impact in the future.

More on mobile education soon.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

Cape Craft & Design Institute

September 17, 2008

The Cape Craft and Design Institute is a joint initiative of the Western Cape Provincial Goverment, AMTS, DST and CPUT. The CCDI incorporates a Fabrication Laboratory (Fab-lab), this laboratory is a high tech facility with open-source design software linked to digital desktop manufacturing technology.

This means that people in the emerging creative class will have access to improve their economic situation, grow their business and learn new skills.

Erica Elk, executive director of CCDI says ‘We aim at design that makes a difference to quality of life in our developing world.’ from South African crafts: style and social investment, Pingmag 2006.

One of the success stories is the range of wire tables and stools produced by Willard Musarurwa and developed by New York designer, Steven Burks, as part of the Aid to Artisans programme. They are being marketed in Italy and Europe by Enrico Basson of Artechnika and are availabe at Weylandts in South Africa.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

design for slums

September 12, 2008
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Lagos will be home to 23 million people by 2015. Challenges for people living in these mega-slums include poor infrastructure, inadequate housing, overcrowding and sanitation. Soon after viewing the clip, I came across this; some clever Swedish designers came up with a possible solution; the Peepoo bag is a disposable single use toilet, that is of course biodegradable.

Based on ‘flying toilets’ which is a term coined from Kibera, Nairobi. ‘It means that one uses a normal plastic bag as a toilet, which after use, is thrown outside the home into the street or on a pile. The name flying toilet indicates that it is thrown as far as possible.’

The Peepoo bag is a more elegant solution, and Peepoople hopes that the bags will be collected and used as fertiliser. Oh, yes, it is odor free too for up to 24 hours.

I hope that sustainable economic benefits evolve for distributing and collecting the bags, which will add value and communicate clear benefits to the people who purchase them.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

South Africa as part of a global product production community

September 9, 2008

In a recent article in Business Day, Roelf Mulder MD of XYZ Design, discusses using offshore toolmakers while manufacturing in South Africa. The benefits are increased product quality and export competitiveness.

South African manufacturers ought to see themselves as part of a global product production community that combines the best resources from around the world to take a product to market, rather than trying to keep all the processes onshore’

The Condom Applicator won the ‘Winner of The Most Beautiful Object In South Africa 2007 Award‘ at the 2007 Design Indaba.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)


September 8, 2008

ColaLife is embarking on one of the most fascinating approaches to innovating current distribution methods.

What about Coca Cola using their distribution channels (which are amazing in developing countries) to distribute rehydration salts? Maybe by dedicating one compartment in every 10 crates as ‘the life saving’ compartment?

Simon Berry recently called for a collaborative effort to explore the challenges that lie ahead. Like “How are we going to incorporate non-Coke items in Coca-Cola crates?”

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)

New Ushahidi design

September 4, 2008

Erik Hersman from White African has announced that Ushahidi has been updated and has a additional funding.

The Ushahidi Engine is a platform that allows anyone to gather
distributed data via SMS, email or web and visualize it on a map or
timeline. Our goal is to create the simplest way of aggregating
information from the public for use in crisis response.

Posted by email from Design in Africa (posterous)