Bachelor of Design – A Spotlight on Ideation

Published: 18 July, 2016

Categories: General

Bachelor of Design – A Spotlight on Ideation

Bachelor of Design – A Spotlight on Ideation

How does the combination of design, creativity, and problem-solving sound to you? A degree in Ideation will open doors to careers in which you can release your innovative genius and find solutions to environmental and social problems. 

“I begin with an idea, and then it becomes something else.”  – Pablo Picasso

Any design starts with an initial idea. A simple, fundamental idea. It’s arguably the easiest part of the design process, because we don’t do much to get ideas – they seem to just pop into our heads, like sparks of inspiration and creative thoughts. Once an idea has popped into our head though, we need to make something of it – otherwise that’s all it will ever be – an idea.

What is Ideation?

The term ‘to ideate’ means to form or generate ideas – pretty much to come up with an idea.  Ideation, as it were, is exactly that. It’s the steps we take to shape and rethink ideas in order to end up with a final product.

Helen Buhrs from the Inscape Education Group explains,

“Ideation is the process of creating and developing ideas to suitably address problem-solving within a given environment or system. The implementation of idea-generation to the realization of a measurable output is key to a successful ideation process.”

Ideation is the thing that happens when you take ideas and shape and explore them further, and you can think of it in the following (very simplified) way:

Ideation = Get Idea + Work on Idea + Make it Happen

In the following video clip, Steven Johnson touches on the way an idea starts out as a hunch, and that it takes time and continuous development to make that hunch grow into a solid idea, and finally, a useful product. Give it a watch, because it’s a good way to introduce you to the ideation process.

To get another glimpse into where Ideation can take you, have a look at Ideation pioneers Sven Andrén and Jan Sandgvist who are part of the amazing team at Google.

You can also check out Tim Brown’s book titled Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organization and Inspires Innovation.

How Is Ideation Different from Design?

Design has typically been associated with visual productions. Graphic Design, Photography and Multimedia rely on visual messages and storytelling. Interior Design and Architecture result in a physical space or structure. Jewellery and Fashion Design integrate objects and adornments.

Ideation, however, is about designing thinking and systems through design that allow for a change in human behaviourto manipulate a message, environment, culture or system. A specialist in this field requires a good understanding of existing design disciplines to coordinate them to effect changes within the given system or space. Yep, Ideation is a real game changer.

Are You a Born Ideator?

If you want to come up with a design, you have to use your ideas and then work on them – extensively – until you end up with a final product. This requires a lot of creativity and strategy.

When you go into the design industry (be it fashion, architecture, engineering, or any other field) ideation will be dominating your mind for pretty much the entire duration of a project.

“A great ideator is curiously intellectual, highly collaborative and good at communicating. They are likely to enjoy ticking boxes, making presentations, researching and investigating issues both in their immediate environment as well as on a global scale. An analyst at heart loves watching people and is intrigued by human behaviour.”

– Helen Buhrs, Thought Leader and Managing Director at the Inscape Education Group

Looking at the bigger picture of what ideation means for a designer, here are some important elements to keep in mind.

  • Be innovative and
  • Conduct research and investigate your ideas.
  • Be aware of global issues and debate them.
  • Have good communication skills & understand what clients want.
  • Be good at problem-solving.


Inscape’s Bachelor of Design – Experts on Ideation

The Inscape Education Group offers a full-time 3-year Bachelor of Design, which will qualify you with an NQF Level 7. It’s the only institution to offer the Bachelor of Design qualification in South Africa and strives to facilitate holistic learning to develop each individual to achieve their full potential in society. It’s a very specific course, and from the 250 students that enrol at Inscape each year, a selected few go on to specialise in Ideation.

With this Bachelor of Design, students can choose to specialise in Ideation. This means you’ll be following an academic programme that promotes the principles of design thinking and innovation as its basis. Development of innovative planning,

Helen comments further,

“The exit level outcome is to ensure that graduates are able to communicate insights from research to clients to ensure potential design solutions are provided for identified businesses and individual users alike.”

When you launch your creative self into the B. DES, you’ll learn a lot of new skills and responsibilities, for example

  • innovative planning
  • designing and conducting research activities
  • communicating insights from research to clients
  • as well as, target designs for specific businesses and individuals users

Helen also highlights how, in today’s world, designers are expected to think and address solutions through a trans and multi-disciplinary approach, offering a service that not only produces design results but impacts intentionally on human behaviourand development of communities. As it were, this attitude towards design, ensures that Inscape’s graduates have an awareness of a variety of disciplines in the sector.

She notes,

“Students develop the ability to stretch their thinking to accommodate this global need. It ensures the individual’s potential as well as the growth of the design industry.”

If you’re keen to find out more info on the course breakdown – just click here.

Apply to Inscape

Admission Requirements

  • NSC with admission to Bachelor’s degree


  • equivalent qualification with English as a subject

What kind of careers follow a B. DES?

Design is a creative skill, and with anything creative, it can be applied to a whole range of careers. Ideation graduates have a lot of diverse career paths they can follow.  In fact, once an ideator has some good experience, they can fit into any organisation that embraces forward-thinking and technology.

With a Bachelor in Design specifically, you could go on to work in one of the following:

  • for established design studios
  • at start-up companies
  • in big corporate environments
  • as a freelance consultant and designer link to my freelance article

Stoogle 2cents

Here’s another cool video on Design Thinking – it breaks down what it’s all about.