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As a pioneer of design thinking in Africa, Zutari, a leading engineering and infrastructure consultancy, will be a key attendee at d.confestival 2022 in Cape Town from October 12-14. Hosted by the Hasso Plattner d-school Afrika International School at the University of Cape Town (UCT), the occasion not only marks Africa’s premier design thinking conference, but will also see the official opening of a new 6-Star Green-listed d-school building on the UCT campus.
The d.confestival is a unique hybrid event centered on design thinking that follows on from the 2012 and 2017 events held in Potsdam, Germany. It is supported by the Global Design Thinking Alliance, which is also celebrating its fifth anniversary. The term “confestival” refers to a combination of the traditional academic lecture and the interactive and creative elements of a festival. Sessions will include keynote presentations, panel discussions, interactive workshops and a discovery tour of Cape Town’s innovation ecosystem.
“As Zutari, we have been on a journey of design thinking over the past six years,” says Wim van Schalkwyk, Head of Growth, Eminence and Innovation at Zutari. “It’s deeply rooted in our company’s purpose to co-create technical impact that enables environments, communities and economies to thrive.”
Design thinking puts people at the center of the design process. It recognizes end users as active participants in the design process, exposing opportunities for innovation. “We have learned many lessons from introducing this approach in the African context of infrastructure engineering. Partnering with clients like the City of Cape Town has allowed us to explore new ways to solve the city’s complex issues like social housing, water resilience and social inclusion. The benefits of this way of thinking and doing have yielded impactful results – now ingrained in how Zutari approaches all of his work.
Van Schalkwyk argues that good design cannot stop at putting “the human at the center”. “We have to remember that people don’t live in a vacuum. We live on one planet; and this planet has its limits. At Zutari, we believe that designing and engineering resilient cities requires us to be both people-centric and planet-conscious. »
Zutari has been involved in important work to help cities become more resilient to climate change and other challenges in its core markets of water, energy, resources, built environment and services. transport. Its solution-seeking approach seeks to answer four key questions: what is desirable for people? What is technically feasible? What is financially viable? And what is environmentally sustainable?
As part of a discovery tour of the innovation and design thinking ecosystem in Cape Town, d.confestival delegates will have the opportunity to visit Zutari’s office in Century City on October 13th. Under the theme “The resilient city. Engineered.’, Zutari will share his partnership with the city of Cape Town to make the city more resilient. This will include a panel discussion with members of Zutari’s management and sustainability team and Cape Town city officials. Three diverse case studies will present the overall impact of a people-centered and planet-conscious design approach in the city.
Van Schalkwyk concludes that Zutari is excited to participate in this internationally significant event at UCT. “As one of the first major engineering consultancies to fully embrace design thinking as a mechanism for innovation in Africa, we remain committed to co-creating a positive impact on the continent.”