Problems are opportunities for design and innovation.

“I imagine a new Africa where there are more entrepreneurs to create more jobs, infrastructure and to build the economy to a new level of phenomenal. I see the youth entrepreneurs taking over from the government through entrepreneurship.” Lufefe Nomjama

“Africa remains a place of great opportunity. To encourage social entrepreneurship can only bode well for her future.” Kayli Vee Levitan

“I see a rich source of innovators solving global challenges with a uniquely African approach. Philip Kiracofe

“No poverty, no war, no corruption. Healthcare, housing, food and education for all. No more negative labels on Africa.” Ariane De Bonvoisin

“I imagine us moving from aid in Africa, to made in Africa.” Emma Dicks


Social Innovation

Social Innovation is emerging worldwide as people realize that it is time to work together to find new solutions to the challenges facing society. All definitions have one thing in common: working together towards a sustainable society. Social Innovation has an inter-sectoral approach and is universally applicable. (adapted from Wikipedia).


Innovation is to make something new and implementing it successfully in the real world. It differs from invention in that it isn’t necessarily about making something completely novel. It is more about changing what is currently out there to serve a group of people in a new way. This can result in helping a lot of people, and making some money too! For example the computer was an invention but the PC was an innovation. The first computers were huge and no one had them at home, in their office, let alone in their pockets. Then someone came along and said “Hey, how could we let ordinary people experience the power of a computer in their homes and at their desks?” That’s the question an innovator asks! This lead to the Personal Computer (PC). Then another innovator asked “How can I take my computer with me when I travel?” (the laptop) and another innovator asked “How can I have the power of a computer in my hand at all times?” (the smart phone). Now people are asking “How can the power of a computer be integrated into what I wear?” (wearable tech).
Laptops, tablets, smart phones are all ‘computers’, but they serve different purposes that opened the products up to different people and utilised the power of computing technology to serve different needs.


    • Innovation is a new solution to a problem that you implement

Innovation is not necessarily:

      • o invention (computer → smart phone example)
      • o only tech
      • o only to make money


  1. Observe the world around you. What could be better?
  2. Read investigative newspapers such as Mail & Guardian and GroundUp to find descriptions of a wide variety of problems. Listen to what people are unhappy about in their daily lives. Draw a mind map of what you come across.
  3. Do any themes emerge?
  4. Are there areas that you find much more compelling than others?
  5. Select an area you feel most passionate about and start understanding it better.
  6. Begin with the dream, not the problem. Although, as we will later see, it is imperative to understand the problems we are addressing, the starting point is to first think of what the ideal is. What do we really want in this world? What do we want for our communities? What do we want for ourselves?
  7. Meet some Social Entrepreneurs:
  8. Research some social innovation case studies that reflect an area you are interested in.

Resources/References/Case Studies:


Upstarts’ links:

    1. Launch Week Video:
    2. Colour Run video:
    3. Pro-Circuit Coach: Peter Greenwall: profile-peter-greenwall.php
    4. Workshop Wednesdayvideo: (coming soon)
    5. Slide Share: Peter Greenwall: