Course Description

Design Thinking for Social Impact March 2020

Cape Town

High-level description of course: 

Design Thinking for Social Impact training is specifically designed to focus on the needs of social entrepreneurs, social enterprises, NGO’s and charities, i.e. those who are focused on delivering services that fulfil a social purpose. The course originated out of deeply researching the specific needs of these organisations and developing an on-line, free-to-use toolkit that will help them to better understand their customer needs, and to design innovative human-centred services for them. The Design Thinking for Social Impact training will give participants a basic understanding of Design Thinking principles, key tools, and terminology. The focus of the course will be ‘Learning by Doing’ by using a suite of design thinking tools like Stakeholder Mapping, Customer Journey Mapping, as well as new tools specifically developed to suit the unique innovation needs of this sector.


Training participants will develop their skills in social innovation. Understanding the needs of users and stakeholders; practicing different types of research; how to re-frame problems and focus on the key challenges; teamwork for co-creating solutions; prototyping to rapidly test and iterate solutions; and how to better plan, raise investment, and implement solutions more effectively.


At the end of the Design Thinking for Social Impact training participants will understand the process and tools that can help them and their organisations to design services that truly meet the needs of their target customers. They will also be familiar with the free, on-line SocialUP toolkit that they can use in their work. (Here is the link to the SocialUP home site:

Case description: During the Design Thinking for Social Impact training we will work on a relevant social impact case that will enhance learning and capability to use the design thinking framework in the not for profit space.


On the first day of the Design Thinking for Social Impact training, we will go through a short and interactive introduction to the specific innovation needs of the Social Impact sector, as well as how Design Thinking responds to them. What is Design Thinking, and how is it relevant and applicable for social impact? What are the challenges? What are the key case studies? Where can you find more information? How can a human-centred design framework be used to co-create novel solutions for society?


The major part of the Design Thinking for Social Impact training however, will be spent on hands-on work on the case using the different tools. It will involve ‘learning by doing’ and include a focus on Customer Journey mapping. This approach also embraces the customers Job-to-be-done, while empathising with the customer’s needs and emotions and wider stakeholder requirements.


The tools that will you will be introduced to, and practice, have been specifically co-created and tailored with and for organisations focused on delivering a social purpose.

 Stakeholder Mapping provides you with an overview of the ‘eco-system’ that you are exploring. Stakeholders are people, teams or organisations that directly or indirectly exchange ‘value’. The exchange of value is used as the basis to explore the underlying services provided by the stakeholders

Value Network Mapping provides insight in the value (benefits) that is being exchanged between stakeholders. Using this tool, you will get a more detailed insight into the services being provided by the stakeholders

Personas are used as the basis for Customer Journey Mapping. Finding out about the objectives, behaviour, attitudes of people is very important for developing improvements or innovations of the services provided.

Customer Journey Mapping allows us to further step into the customer shoes. It shows us the customer’s perceptions and the larger context in which we play a part at the different stages of their journeys. It lets us be emerged in their world, their reality. Get a deeper insight into customer needs, objectives, experience and desired outcomes. It will answer questions like: What are people really trying to achieve? How are they trying to achieve this? What do they use and in what order? Why do they make a choice? What are they experiencing, feeling, while trying to reach the desired outcome?

A customer journey map is built up layer by layer. We start ‘above water’, with the customer and slowly dive deeper and deeper into the organisational structures and context. The tool can be used with customers or management, employees and other stakeholder.

This qualitative design research tool will provide you with customer insights to improve the customer’s experience. The toolkit will be handed out after the training so you can start applying the tool immediately in your context.

Service Scenarios are used to visualise how a (newly designed) service is being experienced from a customer point of view. Simple visualisation techniques are being introduced.

Prototyping is done to be able to test a service concept in a ‘low tech’ environment with relevant stakeholders. Prototyping can be done by building artefacts from cardboard or paper or by using Lego. Also, role play is a powerful way of prototyping.

All SocialUP tools will be available after the session and are free of use for participants.

James Rock Managing Partner of DesignThinkers UK James is highly experienced and senior facilitator with a deep background in innovation across many sectors, and across the world. He has lived in South Africa and understands its specific social challenges. For the last few years James has focused entirely on innovation within the field of social enterprise, and was Director of the European wide SocialUP project that developed the design thinking toolkit specifically for organisations with a social purpose.

Robert Bloom highly experienced trainer and senior facilitator with a multi-disciplinary background that spans corporate, consulting, not-for-profit and government. Robert has a Masters in Business Administration at the Executive Level. He has been facilitating workshops and training for DesignThinkers in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Robert is passionate about human-centred design and the art and science of innovation.


About this Event

Upper floor, 65 Wolfe street, Chelsea Village, Wynberg, Cape Town

Monday – Tuesday 9-10 March 2020
Language: English
Maximum participants: 10


Ticket price: R4995

Prices are intended excluding VAT.

The ticket includes daily morning coffee and snacks.

A certificate from DesignThinkers Academy is awarded to participants who successfully complete the course.

Discounts available for teams signing up, Non-Profits and Government Organisations.

Contact southafrica[@]

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