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Design Thinking holds much promise for innovation in commercial enterprises

Design Thinking holds much promise for innovation in commercial enterprises

A local design agency, Turipamwe, is publishing Namibia’s first industrial White Paper on design thinking, packed with insights from an original study conducted in 2022 that investigated how local organisations viewed and utilised innovation in a broad sense.

This study provides knowledge on the current applications of design thinking and future possibilities in Namibia’s unique context.

Design thinking, an innovative mindset, methodology, and problem-solving process places people’s needs at the centre of its approach. Originating in the early 2000s within design agencies in the United States, it has since spread worldwide, permeating fields such as engineering, industrial design, and management. It has become the mainstream approach to innovation.

The benefits of design thinking for businesses include heightened creativity, improved customer satisfaction, and an increased return on investment.

Still, this transformative methodology remains relatively novel in Namibia. As local enterprises seek to maintain relevance in the era of digitisation and the 4th Industrial Revolution, the quest for insights into how Namibia can leapfrog innovation becomes critical.

“When we embedded design thinking into our business, we were able to transform our company and culture and increase revenue by 30%”, said Tanya Stroh, Founder of Turipamwe and Lead Facilitator.

“We were curious to grasp to what extent Namibian businesses and organisations might be practising design thinking. Collecting useful data and championing design as a business tool allowed us to understand the current landscape better and share our findings meaningfully.”

Turipamwe’s study results, outlined in the White Paper titled “Innovation Nation: White Paper on Design Thinking in Namibia”, provide insights into how design thinking is used and viewed. It features a guest contribution from Dr Mark Mushiva and Professor Heike Winschiers-Theophilus, emphasising the importance of decolonising the methodology. It also discusses potential challenges and offers a roadmap for advancing design thinking in Namibia.

A cornerstone of the publication is a candid case study documenting Turipamwe’s design thinking journey in 2021-2022, revealing practical lessons the team learned along the way. Suggestions on Do’s and Don’ts on applying design thinking in Namibia conclude the publication.

“We found that design thinking is currently practised by a small but growing group of enthusiasts, who are predominantly young and future-oriented managers and business owners” shared Auri Evokari, Turipamwe’s Growth Consultant and the first author of the White Paper. “The study participants link the methodology closely to innovation and see it as an efficient way to develop new ideas without wasting time and resources.”

The publication promises to be an indispensable resource for anyone seeking to foster innovation and harness the power of design thinking. It serves as a bridge between academia and industry, theory and practice. It will be available as a digital publication on Turipamwe’s website and showcased at an event at The Village Garden in Windhoek on 23 November 2023.

Tanya Stroh, Lead Facilitator of Design Thinking at Turipamwe Design Studio.

Design Thinking in action.


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