The Design Institute is focused on unlocking socio-economic value for South Africa through design.

The SABS Design Institute is the official body mandated to develop South Africa’s national design capability. The Institute does this by linking the public, business and government together to design the products, services and systems that create new socio-economic value for South Africa and the world.It empowers all organisations to better design, develops new entrepreneurial businesses and improves the success of existing businesses to create increased revenue and employment in South Africa.

Previously focused on industrialisation only, the Design Institute has redirected its strategic approach to use design to increase the nation’s competitiveness.

The National Development Plan envisions a South Africa that is remade by 2030. The three areas that stand out in the plan are economic growth; skills, education and innovation; and the capability of the state. The plan articulates what should be done to transform South Africa, but it does not say how these actions should be taken.

This is where design begins to play a role – it is the organising principle of turning intent into action.

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The SABS Design Institute is the official national design promotion body of South Africa with the mission to be a centre of knowledge and a catalyst for the delivery of design.

Success Stories


A Modern, Ancient Medicine

Lutendo Magoro

Lutendo is developing a range of products made from an indigenous plant from Venda
called Munugwane. The plant is used as traditional medicine and can cure mouth ulcers
and throat sores. Her main aim is to create a modern branded version of an ancient cure.


Evolutionary Toilet System

Paseka Lesolang

Paseka has identified a problem in a lot of toilets – they have a leaky toilet valve. The consequence of this is that they waste five bath tubs of water each day. Paseka’s new toilet valve prevents this waste.


Speeding up Lab Testing

Omesan Nair

Omesan created a brand new Ipad app that gives instant results for the most common laboratory experiments. This replaces expensive equipment and cuts the time for test results from weeks to seconds.


Hawker Trading Capsule

Sibusiso Mnyamane

Sibusiso’s idea is to develop a multi-purpose trading capsule that could be used as a storage capsule, a goods trolley or a display table. His main aim is to address the challenges faced by both the informal traders and municipality.


Power Cleaning for Pots

Malebogo Mashishi

Malebogo has developed a pot scrubbing device that cleans stubborn grime. The hand held device has a rotating head that is attached to a sponge to power clean any dishes.


Locating Water System

Hollo Matlala

Water wastage is a problem. Hollo’s device is a water security system that detects and monitors water leakages, using sensors and renewable energy.