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Design Thinking
hits the Road

Impact Week

Impact Week in Nairobi

Impact Week Logo

Our mission in Africa

Why would a company travel half the world to teach students how to think around the corner? At the end of the day it’s a matter of counting one and one together.

At Accenture we are passionate about sharing our knowledge with people who want to start a job or run their own business. “Skills to succeed” has helped tens of thousands of young people around the world go from zero to own income already. It’s the most promising program we run to change the face of the world.

Besides that, our client work in our Future Camp has shown that Design Thinking is just the right lever to go from mere improvements to developing completely new fields of business. It’s the most promising program we run to help our customers be sustainably successful.

During the Impact Week from 4 to 7 July 2016, we bring both of these programs together. Our Design Thinking Coaches Theresa Ried and Julia Kress are joining a team of around 20 experts from SAP, Lufthansa and more to fly to Nairobi. At Africa Nazarene University, they will teach about 100 students how to address challenges using Design Thinking with the tagline „Impact through Innovation and Entrepreneurship“. The university incubator that was founded solely for this purpose will ensure that the generated ideas will fall on fertile ground.

Follow our Accenture experts Theresa and Julia through this exciting endeavor! We will be posting daily updates starting from July 5.

Select here to get more infos:

Design Thinking Tracks
Agriculture Food
Cluster Diagram


Agriculture & Food

Food – especially its production and consumption – is still a dominant topic in our world. There are two different extremes; those millions of people who do not have access to sufficient nourishments and those who waste food through its inappropriate distribution and handling. Accordingly, new solutions in the area of food & agriculture can not only help to improve the corresponding production and logistics but also help to give advance to the quality of peoples’ everyday life.

Furthermore, the way we deal with food also has ecological consequences. In this vein, a lot of ecological problems refer somehow to the production of food. Therefore, it would also have a great impact to discover new solutions in this area that help to protect our ecosystem by developing sustainable approaches.


On all indicators of health, Africa lags behind the rest of the world, e.g. life expectancy is significantly lower than in European countries. That’s why changes are essential. Based on the human-centered approach of Design Thinking, the Impact Week participants will deal with the following questions regarding Healthcare in Africa:

  • What are the most common health care issues we have to face?
  • How do we usually try to solve them?
  • Who do we turn to when there are health related issues and why?
  • Where do we turn to get treatment?
  • What challenges are connected to that?


The African education system is in a state of crisis and therefore the education participation rates in Africa are very low. There is a fundamental lack of basic facilities as well as qualified teachers, not to mention teaching materials. To this end the Impact Week participants will make every effort to find tangible approaches as well as suitable solutions to fight for an improvement of Africa’s education system.


In general, the infrastructure in Africa is in no way comparable to European standards, although a good infrastructure is essential for the development of a whole continent. Furthermore, because of a badly developed road network, Africans are often caught in traffic jams and spend valuable time in vehicles. That is why the Impact Week team wants to make a significant change regarding the current mobility situation in Africa and look at what the people need instead of what they have, thus searching for opportunities to improve the lives of many people.


Currently Finance in Africa is a very relevant issue. Over the past few years, Africa has become a very attractive market and provides interesting opportunities for investors: the continent disposes abounding raw material and is open-minded to new services, trade and big infrastructure projects. The strong economic growth is also supported by the development of a stable political environment and the successful fight against corruption. However, by increasing integration of Africa in the global economy, new challenges are posed for the government, African banks, as well as the whole continent, e.g. through capital flows and direct investments. Furthermore, one of the biggest challenges faced by Africa for ongoing economic growth is capital shortage. Anyone who has a business idea, will face financial problems. That is why the Impact Week team will deal with challenges regarding the financial sector during the week in Kenya and beyond.


Although some parts of Africa are making progress in economic growth, democratization and regional cooperation, African countries still face various security challenges caused by violent extremist organizations, drug trafficking or piracy amongst others. The overall goal of the Security track is to find ways to ensure the safety of people’s daily life in Africa. Because of the human-centered approach of Design Thinking, the participants will work on questions like “From a daily life-perspective, what makes you feel safe or unsafe?” or “Is safety a fact or a feeling?"

Lifestyle & Cosmetics

There is a huge potential for Lifestyle and Cosmetics products all over the globe. Youtube beauty bloggers like “BibisBeautyPalace” grow over 3 million followers, companies such as the German owner-run “Cosnova” established themselves from a small start-up to a global enterprise that sets new standards on the international cosmetic market.

The market is full of potential and we are looking forward to deep dive into what lifestyle means for Kenya. – Let’s explore together what it could be in the future.


Mobile XS!

Read our daily stories about the Impact Week in Nairobi, Kenya.

Interview with the Accenture Coaches
Theresa & Julia

It’s going to be very ‚MacGyver‘!
It’s going to be very ‚MacGyver‘!
We interviewed our Accenture Coaches Theresa & Julia about the upcoming Impact Week 2016 in Kenya.

From your perspective as coaches: What is the difference between Design Thinking and alternative methods to find solutions?

Theresa The usual approach is turned upside down. Normally one has a look at what a company can do and how this can be translated into products. When we apply Design Thinking we focus on the need of the end consumer. We have a look at what customers need and develop a solution that meets their demand.

Is there an example to showcase the approach?

Theresa Procter & Gamble asked its customers how they can improve their detergents. With the answers provided they could have in fact reached an improvement. But a second look at the target group showed that in the first place they don’t like cleaning at all. They needed something that fundamentally simplified cleaning. That was the birth hour of Swiffer.

Off to Africa it is: Why did you decide to join the Impact Week?

Julia Key to successful Design Thinking is diversity. We will have teams with completely differing backgrounds. Such diversity, as we will see it in Nairobi, is rare.
Theresa Apart from that, students are not caught in structures and routines yet. They are open to new and even wild ideas. That way we can hopefully reach a lot for the country and its people.

What are your personal goals in Nairobi?

Julia We have the chance to learn a lot from each other. Together with the students we aim to find solutions they can continue working on. And most of all we want to familiarize them with a tool that can help them master many challenges.

What is going to be the biggest challenge for you?

Theresa There is simply no plan at all. We have a range of experts from various companies with us. We will be operating in a completely different culture. On top of that there are neither printers nor whiteboards. The motto will be: Improvise instead of plan.
Julia We will have to apply Design Thinking on Design Thinking itself. It’s all going to be very „MacGyver“!

Hit the ground running

Day 1
Hit the ground running
With the first sentence of her opening speech for the Impact Week, Lea Marangu had everyone’s attention immediately: “My motivation was never about ‘being the first’, but when something was disturbing me, I told myself: I will change it so that ten years from now it will never bother anyone again”.

Lea became the first female Kenyan professor plus first female vice president and later even president of a Kenyan university. One could positively feel that this was the moment the students understood that changing the perspective and doing what is needed is the first step on the road to success. “You will learn to really understand people’s problems and find a way to overcome them. That’s what innovation is all about. That’s at the core of every good business.”

Kickoff for the Impact Week! The students have hit the ground running: We did not give them specifications, they pointed out the challenges themselves. One example is: Widespread fake cosmetics which pose a significant risk for health. But how differentiate between phony and quality? Tuesday we’re off to Nairobi’s streets to see what our future customers say.

Out of the Ivory Tower!
Day 2
Out of the Ivory Tower!
The early bird catches the bus. 6:30h in the morning, bumpy roads, heavy traffic and 2.5 hours to reach downtown Nairobi. Quite a price to pay to get first-hand feedback from our target group on very real pain-points of life. During the interviews, the students were as surprised by people’s openness as we were by the Marabous flooding the streets just like German pigeons. But what a lesson to learn for our teams; you have to leave the Ivory Tower and talk to people to understand their needs! Scientific theory rarely solves down-to-earth challenges.

The next challenge was to combine findings into one fictive example-person of the target group, step into the shoes of that person and sympathise with his/her feelings, gains and challenges. Then, the underlying problem statement becomes obvious and you can start brainstorming ideas and drafting solutions that address the needs and desires of that persona. In the end, we held a very rough prototype of our solution in our hands to re-test it in the streets. Now we are back at the Ivory Tower to include the second round of target group responses, produce an even better prototype and think about the business model behind it.

Ready to rumble - Prototypes
Day 3
Ready to rumble - Prototypes
Back at the university, the students added the feedback collected from the streets to the prototypes. It’s all about redefining them to come closer and closer to the response of the target group’s need.

Guest speech by “Africa’s Talking”, a mobile technology start-up with the goal to unlock the potential of mobile communication networks across Africa by simplifying the process and technologies required to exploit them: “The people do not come to your product. Your product has to come to them. You can only make a business if somebody buys your ideas.”

They tested and tested again, on themselves and on other students.

Guest speaker Waikwa Wambogo from Angani, a company that offers cloud solutions for Kenya, says: “A successful start-up needs three things: a great idea that addresses user needs, role model leadership, passion and dedication.” Enthused, the students continued. In the end, they reached viable prototypes. Next challenge: build the business model. Is this product or service a real solution to a real problem? Who are the stakeholders? What are the Marketing channels? How would they create revenue and make it sustainable?

Now they’re all ready to rumble. Tomorrow, all students will pitch their ideas to a jury. Who will get their idea supported by the university’s Incubator, plus receive 500.000 KS (4.400€) to start their business? Again, we can’t wait for tomorrow.

And the winner is…
Day 4
And the winner is…
It was the last piece of motivation the students needed before they pitched for the win: Last year’s winners presented their idea, an App/SMS service that helps you differentiate between fake and real medical products when you’re just about to buy them. Seeing it work in practice convinced everyone that their idea might not only be a business case making money, but also bring value to society.

Stop corruption in higher education, get rid of bacteria in water, a system to check on whether the kids are safe on their way to school – all in all 17 ideas that all had what it takes to be successful in real life.

The winner: Team “Happy Farm” with their idea of a farm in a box, which helps people without access to farmland, to harvest their own food. With the 500.000 KS (4.400€), they can start the next phase and realize their business.

And now? It’s over already. We’re heading back to Germany having lived as many experiences as we made new friends. The most important thing we bring back is the good feeling of knowing that these students have a genuine chance of being successful in the market – not only the winners, but all of them. And even better, now they know how to develop the next business case as well. Just apply Design Thinking.


Theresa Ried
"I am very happy to be part of the Impact Week 2016. We will have a great time all together!"



Consultant and design thinking expert at Accenture. Besides her project work, Theresa is passionate about driving forward innovational topics.

Adrian Engelbrecht
"Impact Week offers great possibilites to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in Kenya."



Research associate and PhD candidate at Technical University Darmstadt with a focus on Software Business & Information Management.

Alexander Grots
"I'm looking forward to be your host for the mobility session."



Independent innovation consultant. Alex ran IDEO in Germany and set up the School of Design Thinking in Potsdam, Germany. So far he started 5 businesses. More or less successfully.

Angela Haas
"In every challenge lay chances, let`s be creative together!"



Human Centered Design Expert at Swisscom. As part of the design:transfer network, she is involved in promoting interdisciplinary design studies.

Anita Sehagic
"Do what makes your eyes sparkle!"



Co-Founder at innovation consultancy INNOKI, Design Thinking Coach, Zeitgeist and blue-sky ideation lover.

Michael Kogel
"Whether you think you can or you can't, you're right."



Design Strategist at SAP SE and co-founder at Xplain-Data GmbH.

Susanne Stauch
"Design is a profound tool for self empowerment that is crucial for changing our world."

SUSANNE STAUCH University of the Arts, Berlin


Susanne teaches design strategy and user research in Berlin. Currently she is a visiting professor at University of the Arts (UdK) in Berlin.

The Impact Week Team


24 Experts - 1 Team

These experts from various companies will make the Impact Week a raving success. Show list


Paper rocket

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