A local organisation called The Shift is encouraging young South Africans to engage with real social, environmental and ecological issues from a design perspective, using the principles of Sustainable Design to foster change in the way we interact with our planet and the organisms that we share it with.

The Shift has recently released a call to action for a Sustainble Design Competion with the brief “Small Change; A world of difference”. The competition, the second of its kind organisation (previously known as the Ecological Design Initiative), focuses on a influencing consumer and producer actions via a more conscious approach to design.

Design is first and foremost about solving problems and making life better. Sustainable design thinking and processes considers the social, environmental and economic aspects of development, paying careful attention to the impacts on these dimensions at each phase of a product, system or service’s lifecycle. By putting this conscious approach to development to practice, the creative industry is able to influence consumer and producer choices and actions, while improving living conditions and sustainable growth opportunities for communities all over the world.

South African design and creative youth are invited to submit proposals for products, systems and services in response to the competition brief, Small Change; A World of Difference. This call to action challenges the creative community to suggest ways in which seemingly small shifts and improvements can influence significant positive change to local and global communities and natural environments.


Overall the suggested concept should promote well-being for People, Planet Prosperity. To be considered, designs should demonstrate unique promise for addressing global needs. Specific selection criteria are Innovation, Impact and Context.


• Catalytic properties: the concepts ability to drive and influence change

• Potential for scaling and replication

• Replace or improve existing, ineffective systems


• Improves life, livelihoods and opportunities for most vulnerable

• Builds resilience and promotes equitable growth

• Efficiency of production processes and responsible selection of materials


• Refined purpose of the design and the needs it responds to

• Sensitive to socio-economic, environmental and cultural factors

• Design’s durability and its potential to facilitate long-term sustainability

To enter

Designers should submit detailed concept proposals for innovative, sustainable solutions that may span various contemporary design fields from product, industrial and surface design, communication and graphic design, textile and fashion design, architecture and engineering, new models for sustainable business and community development projects.

Presentations may be submitted in the form of mood/story boards, video or sound clips, graphic depictions or even written proposal documents – whichever format is most effective in conveying the details of the design concept.

To be considered, the initial submissions must be received no later than 28 September 2012.

Concept Presentations should be delivered to: Shift: Inspiring Sustainable Design, Office 104, The Valyland Centre, Upper Recreation Road
Valyland, Fish Hoek, 7975. Electronic submissions are accepted and should be sent to info@theshift.org.za .

Please note that all electronic content should also be submitted to the physical delivery address on a readable USB or CD.

Visit The Shift here for much more information!

By: Matthew Koehorst