South Africa

Open Design Afrika is extremely proud to be a partner of the award-winning MyMachine Global Foundation. In close collaboration with our local partner, The Initiative for Community Advancement, it is our long-term mission to optimize our reach through the MyMachine South Africa chapter and to impact the development of creative confidence and future-making skills in millions of children and youth across South Africa.

This unique and multi-award-winning methodology, underpinned by STEAM education builds creative confidence in students in primary, secondary and higher education so that they can become change-makers of their own lives, their communities, and the world at large. Through MyMachine they learn that their ideas matter, that they can make a difference and how to bring their ideas to life.

“Wherever life takes you, it all starts with having the creative confidence that your ideas matter, and can make a difference”, Piet Grymonprez, co-founder MyMachine

“Love this concept – giving youngsters a way to work together and bring their dreams to life.”, Sir Richard Branson

“We need inspirational, practical examples of the vitality of creativity, the dynamics of collaboration and the power of possibility. That’s exactly what you’ll find in this inspiring account of the work of MyMachine.“, Sir Ken Robinson

Western Cape Open Call

If you value the power of creative confidence and want your children and students to develop into innovators, impact entrepreneurs, and future-makers – please contact us at . Your primary school, vocational school, or university can become the frontrunners of the MyMachine South Africa community!

Learn more about the magic of MyMachine

Global Foundation

By the end of 2022 MyMachine Global Foundation is already operating in 47 countries around the world. To date the project ignited 16 000 new ideas designed by children, reached and impacted 17 000 children and educators, and students from higher education already spend more than 900 000 hours on developing and producing children’s Dream Machines.

Apart from being included in the HundrED Global Collection for the 4th year, MyMachine was recently (2022) one of the four innovations on the planet that have been selected to become part of the HundrED Hall of Fame! This is a high-end collection of Education Innovations that have demonstrated sustained growth of impact and scalability.

“Wherever life takes them, dance, engineering, plumbing, IT, fashion, law, filmmaking, management, community building or space technology….one of the most fundamental skills to bring you happiness and to make you thrive is learning that you can bring any idea to life. No matter the scope of your vision, whether it is personal, local, or global – making it happen starts with the Creative Confidence that your ideas matter. That your ideas can make a difference. That is how we will see a lot more of us doing a lot more to shape this better future we all need to design!” – co-founder of MyMachine, Piet Grymonprez

“By engaging children’s imaginations and encouraging all members of the education community to share in their innocence, curiosity, and capacity to dream, MyMachine inspires a love of learning that will serve participants for life.”, Hank Nourse, The New York Academy of Sciences

“Spreading innovations such as MyMachine across borders can be a game-changer for education, worldwide. We will continue to encourage as many stakeholders as possible including schools, educators, administrators, students, and organizations to get involved so that we can work towards a positive future.”, Saku Tuominen, Founder, and creative director HundrED


Education has the power to shape and define mindsets and responsive behavior, and ignite new ideas, solutions, and aspirations for a different future.

Therefore it has the power to shape the fabric of society and can determine the destiny of humanity and the planet.

“Looking at the world through a design lens we realize it is an interwoven, interconnected incredible ecosystem that totally depends on healthy symbiotic relations and diversity to thrive. No matter your gender, age, occupation, culture, heritage, or religious beliefs – as a collective we are all responsible for designing the state of this world. We need to learn how to think systemically and act collectively as a global community if we want to ignite real change on a momentous scale.

But we cannot achieve this without investing in developing Creative Intelligence and appropriate future-making life skills in ALL children. We cannot achieve anything without investing in the development of appropriate social and human capital that’s future-fit starting today! All efforts and global investments made to achieve the UN SDGs will be short-lived if future generations are not equipped to take the reins.

As one of the most powerful entities that can shape and transform society into a global community of future-makers, EDUCATION is the first foundational building block in the process to design a future world where people and the planet can thrive.

Although it is hard to predict exactly what the future of work holds 1, 2, or even 10 generations from now, we ARE capable to predict with certainty what human qualities will continue to be relevant for future success for example empathy, emotional intelligence, trust, imagination, innovative and problem-solving skills, holistic and systems thinking, the ability to negotiate, to be persuasive and to collaborate. And people who are agile and adaptable can think critically. Through Open Design Afrika’s activations and projects like MyMachine, we strive to continue to develop Creative Intelligence and creative confidence in all participants. We want to contribute to the development of active, responsive global citizens who are capable and confident to drive value, meaning, and significant impact across the *triple bottom line far into the future.” – CEO of Open Design Afrika (*Triple bottom, also referred to as the 3P’s: people, planet, profit).

A citizens’ education platform

It is no surprise that Open Design Afrika’s annual festival is also referred to as a ‘citizens’ education platform. After all, since its inception in 2013, ODA was the first collaborative public platform that truly offered accessible opportunities for people from all walks of life to fully participate, learn, share and collaborate.

Family Makers Weekends (FMW)

FMW’s are an integral part of the annual festival program and always offer a buffet of exciting makers’ spaces and creative experiences that are accessible to a diverse audience. Therefore young and old from marginalized and impoverished communities have also experienced the magic worlds of creativity, design thinking, VR, AR, and robotics for instance at ODA festivals for the very first time. Creating these accessible experiences not only optimizes the development of future-making life skills in all participants but also develops greater social cohesion across all levels of society. ODA experiences have become legendary and memorable for many.

The FMW program and each activity are mindfully crafted and curated as STEAM experiences to develop Creative Intelligence, and future-making skills in all participants, no matter their age.


The CEO of Open Design Afrika explains ODA’s priority focus on STEAM experiences: “We all learn in different ways; however, the education most of us experienced for generations, has always failed to develop the WHOLE CHILD and to optimize the opportunities and participation to develop the full potential of ALL children, regardless of their cognitive abilities. At ODA’s Family Makers Weekend, we offer creative, playful experiences that help to develop the whole child with future-making life skills.

STEM subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math have always been exclusive and accessible to only a few, leaving the majority behind.

Today most of the skills developed through STEM subjects that were earmarked for future success have already been automated by machines. Thus Education has never been designed to drive equality and enable and empower the global masses with FUTURE-MAKING LIFE SKILLS

Without priority transformation from STEM to STEAM, education will continue to disempower most children with different cognitive abilities to transform into agile and responsive global citizens that are fit to tackle the demands of the future in a fast-changing world.”

As Albert Einstein rightfully explained: “EVERYBODY IS A GENIUS – but if we continue to judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life thinking that it is stupid”.


STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) is when creative experiences like art, dance, music, play, and phenomenon-based learning which engage the learners with real-life problem solving, are fully integrated across all subjects. A priority investment in STEAM education will develop Creative Intelligence in ALL children which will not only be crucial for their own development as future makers but as a collective will determine the future of humanity and the planet. At ODA we believe that STEAM education is the soundest way to create thriving conditions that are conducive to fully engaged learning experiences, leaving no one behind, regardless of their cognitive abilities.”


“When creative play has an equal platform with subject content, it is successfully used as a valuable tool that helps children to excel in exploration and experimentation. Adding creativity into the mix develops a higher order of thinking, develops their curiosity and innovative skills, democratizes participation, optimizes the learning experience, and the development of crucial future-making life skills in ALL children.  The same is true for the development of people across all levels of society.

Creativity and playful experiences develop CREATIVE INTELLIGENCE, which includes qualities and future skills like empathy, emotional intelligence, trust, imagination, innovative and problem-solving skills, holistic and systems thinking, and the ability to negotiate, be persuasive, and collaborate which enable us to innovate.  And people who are agile and adaptable can think critically.  These are qualities and skills that define and differentiate us from the machine/AI. This is our ONLY competitive advantage worthy of investment that will determine the future of HUMANITY and our planet!” – CEO of Open Design Afrika



“No matter if we design a product or future cities, educate, use AI, apply DATA, or create a community experience, innovation and decision-making should always be guided with empathy and Creative and Emotional intelligence. This will ensure that every step of development and implementation results in impactful, suitable, and desired strategies, products, environments, systems, and services that are purpose-driven, PLACE-BASED, and sustainable.

Can you imagine the immense added value and the ripple effect on our future economies, environments, and communities if Empathy and Emotional Intelligence for instance guided every decision we make TODAY, as leaders in every sector, in government and policymaking, in our place of work, and even in our personal lives?

There is No more time to waste – we are concerned about the future of humanity and the planet, and THEREFORE we must demand the transformation in Education NOW if we want to address the skill shortage of the past and present and start to transform society.

This responsibility falls on the shoulders of each one of us – parent, educator, youth, employer, investor, government, policymakers, futurists, and every member of our global community so that we can start developing human and social capital that’s fit to drive a thriving future for people and planet. Future generations that are capable to take the reins in the future and confident to continue to drive the UN SDGs” – CEO of Open Design Afrika.

For our children, their offspring, and the future of humanity and the planet…   we have to aim to design a future world that’s conducive to life and wellbeing for 10 000 generations and more in the same way nature designs!

Participate, play, share, learn, network, and collaborate at ODA Festivals & Family Makers Weekends! Join MyMachine South Africa!

Help us grow our global community of Future-Makers & Change-Makers. 


ODA UBUNTU: The Power of US Festival

Coming Soon.


Future-making life skills.