In a changing world, new challenges call for new, creative solutions to novel problems across almost all spheres of business. This, in turn, requires new ways of thinking and a generation of leaders that have the expertise and experience to guide teams successfully. As a result, there is a substantial and growing demand for design leaders in South Africa, but very few qualifications that address the range of knowledge required for these leaders to perform optimally.
Seeking to address this emerging need, The Independent Institute of Education, SA’s largest and most accredited private higher education provider, has launched a unique new postgraduate qualification – an IIE BA Honours in Design Leadership which can be completed on campus or distance (online) at IIE-Vega. “Like almost all aspects of business, and for that matter our lives, the world of design has developed and transformed exponentially in the past few years,” says Ria van Zyl, Head of Honours, Design at IIE-Vega.
“This has a resulted in amazing opportunities for budding designers to build on their skills as the demand grows for senior designers, creative directors, art directors, senior digital designers, design entrepreneurs and consultants, strategists and design managers with a contemporary insight and approach, and as older generations of leaders retire. This demand has specifically emerged as a result of the way the worlds of design, brand, business and technology now collide,” she says.
Lizette Carstens, Head of Digital, Game and Experience Design, says leaders in the design arena are tasked with transforming ideas into solutions which make a genuine difference in people’s lives, by creating and implementing sustainable, desirable and effective solutions.
“The scope of design careers has widened significantly, and graduates with skills to think, question and create to better the human experience are in great demand. The paradigm shift in the role of design, and the designer specifically, has created the need for designers with advanced knowledge and skills in the areas of foresight, problem-finding abilities and evidence-based approaches.”
Van Zyl says the qualification will enable graduates to proceed to further postgraduate study, or potentially step into senior roles across the business world.
“Graduates will be confident in critically engaging with advanced interdisciplinary theories and discourse in the broad fields of design and design leadership, while also being able to plan, develop and evaluate strategic, innovative solutions for complex problems that are guided by evidence and ethical consideration in multi-faceted and diverse contexts.
“Furthermore, they will be able to conduct research that inform the design process and outcomes, as well as explore problems and complex issues, learn independently and in a self-critical manner to develop competencies suitable for lifelong development in design and design leadership, and ultimately, personal and professional success that make a positive difference in the world.”