COMESA/LLPI and Commonwealth Secretariat organised multi-stakeholder workshop

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. 15 – 16 September 2015

What might it take as a regional strategy oriented design studio not to commit to a product development or responsive design framework until the studio has the capability to sustainably identify needs that are on trend, informed by service design, experience oriented brand strategies, future planning and an iterative form factor mindset? Or a culture that immerses international consumers in anticipating the product range experience?

This workshop is part of a staged series of activities designed to support the realization of a ‘Regional Design Studio’ for Leather Footwear and Leather Goods across the COMESA / LLPI (Common Market for East and South Africa / Leather and Leather Products Institute).

Central to this initiative is an ambition to rethink production, its mindset culturally from a consumer centric perspective and conceive the function of a ‘research oriented design studio’ in context of a region where the agro-consumer sector, specifically leather production value chain, is a major revenue earner with social and private sector development impact.

We engaged in a concept framing exercise to provide initial recommendations, to council of ministers across nine COMESA/LLPI countries, on venture investment opportunities; to guide the development of an operational strategy for the’Regional Design Studio’.

This process is work in progress and is likely to involve ‘human centred design’ methods in exploring ‘international’ demand driven design product (and associated services) development and learning as a ‘studio entity’ for the future of the leather sector across the COMESA region.

Project Lead Partners: COMESA / LLPI and the Commonwealth Secretariat London (in collaboration with East Africa Business Network – EABN).

Project Team

Prof. Mwinyikione Mwinyhija (Executive Director, COMESA / LLPI), Dr. Rashmi Banga (Adviser and Head Trade Competitiveness at Commonwealth Secretariat London), Prof. Prof. Mekonnen Hailemariam (Leather Sector Value Chain Expert), Mrs. Tigist Hailegiorgis (Event Manager), Dr. Tadesse H Mamo (COMESA / LLPI Training, Consultancy and Extension Expert), Mr. Julius Korir (Industrialization Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development in Kenya), Mr. Zewdu Kebede (Programme Co-ordinator COMESA / LLPI), Prof. Abhijit Das (Head at Centre for WTO Studies, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade), Country Representatives (Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe), Agnes Gitau (EABN) and Ayodeji Alaka (EABN).

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