Profile Of Speakers

Richard Perez

Founding Director, Hasso Plattner d-school Afrika

Richard is the founding director of the Hasso Plattner d-school Afrika at the University of Cape Town, which leverages the globally funded Hasso Plattner Foundation network of both Potsdam, Germany and Stanford, United States. Richard’s expertise and experience combines human centered design with business thinking, management and strategy. His area of specialisation is adopting a design led mindset as a driver of  innovation and strategic leadership; and he advises organisations (private and public) in both South Africa, the Africa region including the likes of the World Bank and United Nations Foundation.

Prior to founding the d-school, Richard spent three years as a Director at the City of Cape Town where, in a first for a public administration in South Africa, he pioneered design as a strategy and management tool to advance the creation of effective human-centred solutions. Leading a transversal City administration team who were responsible for embedding a culture of design-led innovation, Richard introduced design thinking to unlock collaboration, creative thinking and innovation in response to the needs of local citizens across the socio-economic spectrum. Before his City administration experience, Richard spent 10 years as a partner and director in the award-winning Cape Town based product design agency …XYZ Design, where he managed and developed an extensive and varied portfolio of consumer focused products, services and user-centered research in emerging markets for local and international organisations. 

Richard’s education includes a Mechanical Engineering degree from the University of Cape Town, a Masters in Innovation Design Engineering from the Royal College of Art and Imperial College of Science and Technology (London) and an Executive MBA (awarded with distinction) from the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business, where his research topic focused on the inter-relationships between constraints and creativity.

Richard is currently undertaking his PhD where he is exploring how we best prepare our future leaders to lead in the every growing complex world that we face.