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Redesigning African Student Thinking to Solve African Problems

Ashesi University freshmen students launch late-night food delivery business, developed through new Foundations for Design and Entrepreneurship course.

Ashesi University freshmen students launch late-night food delivery business, developed through a new course on Foundations for Design and Entrepreneurship.

Think innovative startups are the domain of Silicon Valley and other “high tech” areas in the United States? How about Ashesi University near Accra, Ghana?  Since Ashesi began offering a new course on  Foundations for Design and Entrepreneurship (FDE) to incoming students this year, Ashesi’s campus has become a hotbed of startups. FDE has been incorporated into a redesigned curriculum to boost student creativity and entrepreneurship.

Startups include a late-night food delivery service, an out-of-school education program, an enterprise that helps children with neurological disorders, and a non-electric hair drying head wrap among others.

The new year-long course equips students to use design thinking to solve problems, and then create businesses from the solutions, according to FDE professor Gordon Adomdza.

“For developing new ideas, we take students through the design thinking process where we teach them to take a systems perspective to problems . . . to not resort to their biases, but rather be user-centered in tackling problems, so they can develop solutions from deep empathy and to aim for creative and unique outputs.”

Adomdza would like everyone on campus to use design thinking for creative problem solving. “We want to support projects that have both local and international interest, and eventually see Ashesi become a thought leader on design thinking in Africa,” he said.

Ashesi University was created to educate a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial leaders in Africa and to cultivate within its students the critical thinking skills, the concern for others, and the courage to it will take to transform their continent.  To learn more about Ashesi University, an Aid for Africa member, visit our website here.