Design Thinking: Africa special

How design can lead to innovation and drive change?

Discover the strength of collaborative design thinking in Africa region

Event Details


March 8, 2018: 09.00-11.00 (09.00-11.00 am)(Paris time)
March 13, 2018: 09.00-11.00 (09.00-11.00 am)(Paris time)


Two 2-hour virtual roundtable Episodes starting March 8th


Ms. Aurélie Marchal, Founder and Director of am-designthinking

After more than 10 years in the banking sector, mainly as an internal auditor, Aurélie studied creativity and design thinking and subsequently founded her consultancy dedicated to participatory and creative change management. am - designthinking’s mission is to support companies in their goal of reconciling quality of life at work and collective efficiency. It operates on four key levels: strategy, organization, management practices and the workspace.

She is a true pioneer in design thinking in France and Europe.

Her clients include organizations such as: Orange, Total, Airbus, etc.


  1. Understanding how Design Thinking can help to find solutions for innovation and to drive change
  2. Increasing knowledge and up-to-date practices of Design Thinking
  3. Learn from “real life” examples how Design Thinking is applied and implemented

Brief Description:

Design Thinking is aiming to synthesize analytical and intuitive thinking.

It is about taking a problem and then finding a solution. But how is it different from other problem solving methodologies? In early days the process was used mainly while designing products. Today the methodology has evolved and it helps to design service experience and to reinvent organizations and to drive change.

The starting point is the user or customer and their needs. The process encourages understanding the problem to empathize with the user, observing and gathering insights of user needs before proposing a solution. Design thinking encourages fast prototyping and early testing which however varies a lot from one product or industry to another.

Design thinking can help to humanize and simplify even complex processes and technology and to help to understand the customer/user experience. In some particularly sensitive environments (like hospitals or senior care etc. the design thinking can help to come up with solutions that truly differentiate offering and drive customer loyalty and satisfaction.

As an example Airbnb came up with their successful business model only after integrating design thinking. Airbus with their new Airbus 350 integrated design thinking in defining their customer experience. Samsung transformed their organization from low-end technology consumer product company to a leading customer experience design company. The designer of Samsung had to imagine a new design for engineers as well as for users.

These are just few examples of Design Thinking management in organizations.

During the three event episodes the following issues will be addressed:

  • Design Thinking; process, organization and management

What are the consequences of adapting design thinking for the whole organization? What would be the ideal organizational position of DT Director? What is the relationship of internal R&D and Product Development teams?

How to push people beyond their traditional functional roles?

What is the role of top management in design thinking? What are the specificities and key success factors to build and to obtain financing and/or budget for DT projects? How Design Thinking fosters change?

What is the impact on organizations ability to thrive constant (whatever that means) change?

  • Impact of Design Thinking

How to demonstrate the added value of Design Thinking? How to foster the user/client experience? What are the difficulties in detecting unconscious and unexpressed client/user needs? What are the challenges in transforming the insights into delightful client/user experiences and added value? How to remain agile to continuously surprise clients/users?

How to best protect the added value and competitive advantage of immaterial?

  • Future of Design Thinking

What are the challenges and solutions to keep Design Thinking on the agenda? What are the indicators and how are they used to provide information for future DT challenges? What are the future trends in Design Thinking?

Target Audience:

Innovation and R&D Directors, Business Development Managers, Strategy Directors, Marketing Managers

Meeting Date(s) and schedule:

March 8-13 2018, from 09.00 – 11.00 a.m. (Paris time)

Speakers of the event:

Nabil EL HILALI is a professor and Researcher at ESCA Business School Casablanca, Senior Consultant in innovation management and design thinking catalyst

In a transdisciplinary perspective, he holds Ph.D. in management Science from Audencia Business School / University of Nantes and Ph.D. in Humanities and Social Sciences from the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis France.

Author of a Ph.D. dissertation on design in its interaction with branding and marketing management, his research focuses on the management of innovation, branding management and design thinking.

As an academic, he has published in distinguished scientific journals, he is a reviewer of Design management conference Institute in Boston and has participate in international conferences such “Design research society”; “European Academy of Design”; “Francophone Research Network Design”; “Tokyo International Association of Societies of Design Research”; “Taiwan International Conference on Kansei Design”, “Boston Design management academy conference”, Hong-Kong Design Management Academy conference” and “Design Management Conference Cambridge”

His current work currently focused both on theory and consulting practice toward national and international companies on innovation management, new product development and design thinking as driven innovation catalyst.

Outline of Nabil's speech will be available soon.


Salma Jniene is a Managing Director  at EVOS Consulting

EVOS Consulting - Innovation - Design Thinking - Mktg & Sales Dev - Performance operational, Morocco

Educated at the University of Southern New Hampshire, USA (MBA, CIS) and Ecole National Supérieure des Mines de Rabat, Morocco (ENSMR), Salma JNIENE is a Managing Director of Evos Consulting, an executive training and consulting firm, based in Casablanca, Morocco, specialized in Innovation & Design Thinking, Go To Market strategies and Operational Efficiency.

Salma JNIENE is also passionate about education, she launched and managed the campus of the prestigious University Paris-Dauphine in Morocco and developed executive programs that address the needs of corporate clients in diverse sectors (finance, public sector, health sector, SME..) 

Previous to that, she has worked in different Multinationals companies such as Microsoft covering the North Africa Region, where she was responsible of developing the ecosystem of partners as well as driving the business group information workers.

Salma Jniene began her career in NH, USA as a product Manager in the R&D department of Aprisma technologies (actually Computer Associates), then as an Alliance manager responsible for developing partnership with key vendors as cisco, juniper, Nortel based in the Silicon Valley.   

Salma Jniene pursue her passion for creativity, entrepreneurship and education, by being part of several associations such as Reseau Entreprendre Maroc, CEED Morocco, and Mentor ‘ELLE where she coaches and advises young entrepreneurs on topics of growth and innovation.

Outline of her speech:

How design thinking is helping to build a creative and collaborative team   

Managers struggle to motivate their teams to propose new ideas, work together and streamline processes.  

Managers feel that their team is not solution oriented and not very engaged and therefor tools and best practices are needed to help mobilize coworkers, emerge new ideas and be more creative.



Ulrich Meyer-Hollings is Founder and Partner at LeftFieldLab in Cape Town

Before founding the LeftFieldLab in 2017 Ulrich was joint-managing partner at FXD Digital and he was working with large organisations to unlock adjacent or new business opportunities through structured incubation and corporate venturing efforts.  Ulrich was also a Partner at XYZ Design - an award wining industrial design company from Cape Town that works across Africa to find specific solutions to our continent’s challenges.

Previous experience includes being a Senior Associate at Deloitte Consulting’s Innovation Practice in Johannesburg and heading up the german office of ReD Associates - a leading global design thinking & innovation strategy consulting business. Ulrich has worked with MTN (e.g. TYME), Vodacom, Kagiso Media, Naspers, Equity Bank, Bertelsmann, Deutsche Telekom, BMW amongst other to drive disruptive innovation ventures across different parts of their business.

Ulrich holds a PhD in Innovation Management in Creative Industries and a Masters Degree in Design Thinking from Luneburg University in Germany.

Outline of his speech:

The African opportunity on design& innovation

  • Global Innovation Challenges and Narratives that are not at all innovative e.g. the 4th Industrial Revolution and Age of Machines
  • The African Innovation Narrative and Challenges e.g. a human-centered view of innovation
  • Human-Centered Design and Innovation in Africa e.g. Co-Creation of Solutions with examples from Banking, Media and Telecommunications
  • What Africa brings to the current global narrative on design & innovation


Dr Rael Futerman is a Programme Manager at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design Thinking at the University of Cape Town

His areas of specialisation include Industrial Design, Participatory Design and Design-led Innovation. As a Design Thinking educator, his interest is in developing context-relevant programmes that support experiential learning among multi-disciplinary student and industry groups. His focus areas include the development of contextual models of design thinking practice, entrepreneurship development and discovery-driven innovation.

Rael has worked as an educator and Programme Manager within the Industrial Design department of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), and a consultant and researcher in the academic and corporate sectors. His education includes a Masters in Technology with a focus on gerontechnology, and a Doctorate of Technology with a focus on Participatory Design, both from CPUT. As part of his academic research he has worked with a range of communities, both nationally and internationally, in the codesign of context responsive design methods and outputs. A key area of interest that has emerged is the development of Activity Theory informed systems mapping within design practice.

Outline of his speech:

Syncretic Innovation

Rael is defining this as a human-centred integration of diverse, and often opposing ideas, principles and practices in order to produce new knowledge, products, services and systems. He draws on the diversity prevalent in South Africa as an opportunity to for collaborative learning and how through understanding challenges through different worldviews we can produce more appropriate and resilient solutions.




Episode 1.
  • Thursday, March 8,  2018 from 09.00 to 11.00 a.m. Paris time
  • 09.00-09.05 Welcome to Hyphenity by Marja-Liisa Pihlstrom
  • 09.05-09.15 “Coffee” and Introductions by All participants
  • 09.15-09.30 Focus on the topic: Aurélie Marchal, Expert and Chairwoman
  • 09.30-09.50 Speaker 1: Rael Futerman, D-School Cape Town
  • 09.50-10.10 Speaker 2: Ulrich Meyer-Höllings, Founder & Partner at LeftFieldLab, Cape Town
  • 10.10-10.45 Q&A and Discussion
  • 10.45-10.55 Take Away Messages of the 1st session
  • 10.55-11.00 Focus to the 2nd Episode
  • 11.00 End of the 1st episode

Episode 2.
  • Tuesday, March 13, 2018 from 09.00 to 11.00 a.m. Paris time
  • 09.00-09.05 Welcome to Hyphenity by Marja-Liisa Pihlstrom
  • 09.05-09.15 “Coffee” and Introductions by All participants
  • 09.15-09.25 Focus on the topic: Aurélie Marchal, Expert and Chairwoman
  • 09.25-09.45 Speaker 3: Salma Jniene, Managing Director at EVOS-Consulting
  • 09.45-10.05 Speaker 4: Nabil El Hilali, Professor and Reseracher at ESCA Business School Casablanca, Senior Consultant and DT Catalyst
  • 10.05-10.45 Q&A and Discussion
  • 10.45-10.55 Take Away Messages of the 2nd session
  • 10.55-11.00 Focus to the 2nd Episode
  • 11.00 End of the 2nd episode

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