This year, the national Making the Difference Through Design competition, sponsored by Woolworths and Sappi, has uniquely challenged high school design students in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape to identify a sustainability issue in their communities, and to then find a sustainable design solution. The 2012 competition theme, “You have the power to create a better world” highlighted the pivotal role that designers play in shaping our world, and inspired Grade 11 learner Kyle Pillay of Northwood Boys High School in Durban North Town to use fabric off-cuts from factories to make blankets and clothing that could be donated to the poor. Supporting design education through the Making the Difference Through Design Educational Programme is part of the Woolworths Good Business Journey. Every year, Grade 10, 11 and 12 learners from just under 400 participating schools are invited to enter the competition and get real life experience of the working world of design. A panel of industry-leading judges agreed that the 2012 sustainable design theme presented an invigorating, yet tough, challenge to the young aspiring designers. Design education often teaches students the importance of meeting the demands of a client brief rather than just thinking from a problem-solving point of view; although this is a perspective that is rapidly shifting.   Cape Town architect and competition judge, Tsai of Tsai Design Studio points out: “The premise of Cape Town's new title of World Design Capital 2014 is to bring about such changes – a call to action for local designers to open their eyes and assist in expanding the focus of design within the school space. Therefore it was only fitting for Woolworths to put forward this challenge at a school level, because this is where we have an opportunity to nurture our future thinkers and designers with the right attitude. “ The Making the Difference Through Design competition is now in its 7th year and a key goal has always been to enable school communities to comprehend and appreciate the vital role design plays in everyday life. As Woolworths Educational Programme Manager, Pieter Twine explains: “Woolworths is passionate about design, and about promoting the idea that design is a powerful tool to be used to better meet social needs and bring about positive change. Good design can improve the quality of life, create important social awareness and protect our environment.” Design learners were asked to solve a problem in their communities related to waste reduction, energy and water conservation. They had to design a campaign or product to address this issue by making use of a sustainable design strategy and using only recycled materials. Alongside the regional winners from the Western Cape and Gauteng, Kyle Pillay will now enter the adjudication for the national competition winner, whose work will be exhibited by Woolworths at the 2013 Design Indaba Expo. The national winner of the 2012 Making the Difference through Design competition will be announced in September 2012.

This year, the national Making the Difference Through Design competition, sponsored by Woolworths and Sappi, has uniquely challenged high school design students in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape to identify a sustainability issue in their communities, and to then find a sustainable design solution.