#SOUTHAFRICAVSCOVID19 - Virtual Design Thinking Challenge

#SOUTHAFRICAVSCOVID19 is a 60 hours-Virtual Design Thinking Challenge organized by Impact Week. It is a unique opportunity for bright minds to discuss and engage current and urgent challenges. Using Design Thinking and user-centric design toolkits, solutions and strategies are developed in teams. Each team consists of 5-7 participants and is supported by 2 international design & innovation experts. Winning ideas are rewarded with financial support and mentorship from Impact Week in order to implement their solution in the economy and/or society. As a 5th edition of #COUNTRYVSCOVID19 challenge, Virtual Impact Week South Africa tackles not only the challenges caused by COVID19 outbreak but also the much broader range of topics and challenges relevant to the people in South Africa.


Why should you participate in this challenge?

The virtual challenge gives you the unique opportunity to create an impact during a critical and challenging time. By joining this virtual challenge, you will be part of an initiative, which aims to create new and innovative insights, ideas and solutions for problems in South Africa.

You will meet new people and learn new skills. You will become part of a global community that is practicing the Design Thinking methodology, alongside international experts. Moreover, you will learn how to understand any challenge and design solutions in a user-centric manner based on rapid prototyping. Modern-day technology enables collaborative innovation despite physical restrictions.

By joining this impact week, you will get the opportunity to create an impact for your community and nation focusing on the topic’s educationhealthcarebusiness and community

How does the Virtual Design Thinking Challenge work?

The Design Thinking methodology comprises 6 phases. Participants will complete the entire process of  Understanding - Observing - Synthesizing - Ideating - Prototyping - Testing  within 3 days. Virtual Design Thinking is an attempt to bring the globally acclaimed Design Thinking methodology into a fully digital environment. 

Participants will interact in a digital briefing session via Zoom and will work in individual virtual workspaces using collaborative tools such as MURAL, Slack and Google Suite.


Ten teams will partake in this intensive digital journey and will be mentored by international subject matter experts and design thinking coaches. Participants will use their skills, ideas and passion to develop user-centric solutions that solve problems. Therefore, it is important that members of a team have different professional backgrounds. Each team will present its result/ idea to everyone at the end of the challenge. Our panel of expert jury members will evaluate the solutions and the winning team(s) will have the possibility to get financial support initiated by the Impact Week.


What are the focus area for challenges?

Each participating team will work on one of the four focus areas: education, healthcare, business and community. Each team decides which focus area they want to participate during the registration process. The teams would then together ideate on how they would like to approach the challenges within the focus areas - as a Problem, Need or an Opportunity.


Please read the concept paper for details regarding challenge scenarios.

Challenge timeline

The challenge is scheduled in the South African time zone (UTC +2:00)

Date Activity

19th Jul

Registration opens for participation
26th Aug Registration Closes
11th Sep 13.00 – 19.00 - Day 1: Virtual Kick-off (team building, onboarding, challenges briefing)
12th Sep 10.00 – 19.00 - Day 2 : Problem space
13th Sep 10.00 – 19.00 - Day 3: Solution space
14th Sep 18.00 – 20.00 - Final pitch presentation & closing


Teams will receive details regarding exact timings of the event after registration confirmation & selection.

How can you participate?

Participation in the challenge is FREE but there are limited seats available. Ten teams will have the chance to participate in this challenge. Thus, we only encourage candidates who can fully devote 3 days of their time to register.

You must fulfil the following requirements to participate:

  • You must be South African citizen (or of South African origin) currently pursuing an undergraduate or graduate degree (in any discipline - IT, engineering, medicine, business, sociology, economics, arts etc.) or be a young professional/ entrepreneur living anywhere in the world
  • You must devote your full time virtually for 3 days while participating in the challenge
  • You must be fluent in English.
  • You must have a strong internet connection in your home which can be accessed with a laptop or PC

You can register as an individual or a team with a mixed academic/ professional background.

  • Each team must have 5-7 members to register as a team, if you are fewer please register individually
  • Each team must have participants from different backgrounds (engineering, computer science, business, social science, life science, medicine etc). Diversity is a must
  • Each team needs to have at least 2 members who are currently living in South Africa

Do you have further questions?

If you have any further questions or require additional information, do not hesitate to contact our organizer. You can email us at countryvscovid19@gmail.com or directly contact via WhatsApp to Lakshmi Rao on +919818915853