Premier Zille Launches Western Cape Design Strategy
Today Premier Helen Zille hosted a symposium of the Premier’s Council on Skills (PCS) at which the Western Cape Design Strategy was officially launched. The strategy identifies design and related activities as one of the four key drivers to harness economic growth potential in the Western Cape, alongside the green economy, IT and broadband, and strategic infrastructure.
Each of the growth drivers are underpinned by specific skills needs and the PCS will create a Design Human Capital Development Forum to drive a provincial skills and training programme that supports design sector development to facilitate design-led growth.
Premier Zille highlighted the importance of design to attract investment, promote job-creating growth and its link to skills development priorities. “Design determines functionality and if done correctly, it increases the efficiency of government and delivery. If design can be a means to drive growth and unlock competitive advantage in the Western Cape, we have to facilitate skills development to meet skills needs where there is demand. That is the job of the Skills Development Forum,” she said.
In 2012/13, the Western Cape Government invested R442,5 million in training programmes and interventions in different sectors. This has been increased to R461,5 million in 2013/14, resulting in almost half a billion rands worth of training opportunities and more than 3 000 bursaries to facilitate demand-led skills development to meet the needs of key growth sectors.
Premier Zille emphasised the critical value of "design thinking" for improving government delivery through a needed redesign of government procurement processes and other bureaucratic procedures in order to enable delivery innovation and efficiency. She said that such design thinking would also enhance the work of the Red Tape Reduction Unit in order to create a more enabling environment for investment and business growth.
The PCS symposium brought together representatives from government, higher education institutions and business. Examples of design application were showcased, ranging from the organisational redesign process of the South African Revenue Service in the late 1990s to the use of business systems design by First National Bank as a tool for retail banking innovation.
The Design Strategy aims to capitalise on the approximately 4 000 design-related businesses and training institutions in the province and help position the Western Cape as a recognised leader in providing design-led products, services and solutions. The design sector in the Western Cape has experienced an average 10% growth in the last two years and is a potential game-changer in finding innovative ways to address the needs of society.