Hazel Scrimgeour, Service Design, Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholar 2016 – 2018
Through her studies in Service Design at the Royal College of Art, Hazel Scrimgeour hopes to make a positive impact in her home country of South Africa. She believes that design thinkers have the ability to introduce creative new solutions via technology and innovation to address issues affecting the provision of basic public services in South Africa.
Ultimately, Hazel aims to introduce Service Design to the South African educational system. She is excited to explore the ways in which Service Design can improve delivery of basic services such as transport, education and health, and the potential relationships that could be developed between South Africa and the RCA.
Hazel previously worked as a Digital Art Director and Designer for King James Group, a leading creative agency in South Africa. She holds a BA in Graphic Design and Art Direction from the Vega School of Brand Communications, South Africa.
In Conversation with Hazel
Q: Can you describe your sources of inspiration for your work?
A: I like to make a positive difference with my designs. I enjoy community building and social engagement. We live in a world of impersonal interactions so I try to join people, create communities and get people to understand each other in a new way. When creating services, I believe that technology is a powerful tool not only to inform and educate but to connect people and develop new communities.
Q: Tell us more about your artistic practice.
A: I love the concept of participatory design: you don’t just design for you, but to design with. When approached with a design problem, I try to create something bigger, something more sustainable for the communities we work in. South Africa also comes from a legacy of colonialism so I am very aware that when designing for communities, one must ask the important questions: who am I designing for, who is designing and why am I designing.
Q: What does Service Design mean to you?
A: I am still learning the tools of Service Design and we are given several different projects and companies to work with. However, I have come across an overriding theme in my work. Whatever I design, I want to develop sustainable designs and ideas that create a positive impact on people’s lives, educate and enhance communities. I am currently very interested in Civic Education especially in South Africa and Africa. I believe citizens need to be aware of their rights as citizens, question their governments and create conversations between multiple communities. If people know their rights and are educated citizens, I honestly believe it can make a big difference in Africa.
Q: Are there any projects that you are excited to work with in the coming year?
A: I completed a service on agricultural solutions for small-holder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. By creating mobile co-operatives, the service enables smallholder farmers access to mechanization, information and other products such as fertilizer at affordable prices. I was very excited about this project and could see myself taking the project or something similar further in my career.