Thinking Outside The Box: Highlights From The Design Thinking Ghana Conference

The Design Thinking Group Ghana along with the Ghana Design Network and Ashesi Design Lab organised their first Design Thinking Conference on Friday 19th May, 2017 at the CEIBS Campus at East Legon. The theme of the conference was “Winning Through Today’s Challenges With Design Thinking“.

The event featured keynote speaker, Arne Van Oosterom of the Design Thinking Group (Netherlands). Other people included Dr Gordon Adomdza (Ashesi University and Design Thinking Ghana), Dela Kumabor (Cobalt Partners), Ashwin Ravichandran (MEST Incubator), Freda Yawson (Innovate GH) and many others.

What is Design Thinking?

You might come across a lot of definitions of design thinking when you google the term. Simply put, design thinking is methodology that provides a solution-based approach to solving problems. In the end, design thinking focuses on the end-user and solving their problems.

Design thinking follows a certain framework or flow when being applied. The flow can be visualized as follows:

Image Credit: Nielson Norman Group

Design Thinking has been used by a lot of companies including Airbnb who used the process to help catapult from a failing startup to a multi-billion dollar company.

Event Highlights: Keynote Address

Dr Gordon started the conference off with general introductions and what he hoped would come out at the end of the event. He then handed off to the keynote speaker, Arne Van Oosterom. Arne began his presentation by explaining how design thinking could help solve problems not only in business but society in general.

Mr Van Oosterom continued with how companies including Coca Cola and Proctor and Gamble have now started using design thinking in their process.

Mr Van Oosterom showed off a video in his presentation which featured an engineer trying to re-learn how to ride a bicycle which was redesigned in a such a way that the bike would go in the opposite direction that a rider turned the wheel.

You can watch the video here:

The video was to highlight how hard it is to rewire our brains to think different when trying to solve a solution.

Event Highlights: Workshop Groups

The event featured workshops where audience members were put into different groups. The groups were Product, Service, Programme and, Policy Development. Each group would be using the design thinking process to solve a problem in Accra. The problem was presented to the different groups to solve using design thinking. The problem presented was about fixing Accra’s plastic waste problem. The workshop groups were aided by Design Thinking facilitators including Jorge Appiah (Kumasi Hive), Karle Matze (Stanford Seed), Yaa Cuguano (MPharma) and a host of other facilitators.

After the workshops, selected groups were chosen to present their solution.

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Event Highlights: Design Thinking Panel

After a lunch break, audience members were back in the main auditorium for a design thinking panel session. Panelists for the session included David Hutchful (Bloom Impact), Marissa Fee (GN Electronics), Ouborr Kutando (Office Of The President), Peter Kersten (Ghana Design Network), Dr Gordon Adomdza (Ashesi University/Design Thinking Ghana) and Constance Swaniker (Accents & Art).

Photo Gallery:

The event appeared to be a great success. Participants were already looking forward to the next edition of Design Thinking.


For more information about Design Thinking Ghana, you can check out the Design Thinking Ghana website and follow on social media including Facebook and Twitter

Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator and editor of TechNovaGh.com, an online digital platform focusing on technology in Ghana.

I’m also a UX Designer, book reader, and tech enthusiast (duh!)

Email: [email protected]