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Design as a discipline has always been about impact. About delivering on a better version of life. To be a designer is more than a career choice. It’s a way of thinking and living. The experiences we create, the stories we tell, the products we build and the problems we solve, these all make an impact and have the power to change lives.  Today’s challenges call for people with ingenuity, integrity and creative vision, plus the technical skills to craft effective solutions. 

We’re educating the next generation of designers who will fill these needs for Africa.

Nairobi Design Institute

Leveraging our experience in design innovation, we enable creative leadership through design education. Our students address complex challenges through new design practices and bespoke community engagement.
Our program enables students to explore different ways of designing the ways of living that people want: futures that will lead to collective wellbeing and sustainable service growth for Africa, today.
Our twelve month program provides an opportunity for students to embrace this challenge. It introduces them to the concepts of human-centered design to create innovative and effective, user experiences.
Design-led Innovation
Product and service design is an interdisciplinary approach that has emerged from the combination of different methods of various disciplines in design and beyond. It is an emerging way of thinking and designing that equips creative leaders with the thinking, tools and processes of  design to innovate and centre stakeholders in the conception, design and delivery of products and services.
Design Research
 We teach ethnographic approaches that help clarify complex human needs and behaviours. Our hands-on field immersions allow students to unearth contextual factors that shape impactful experiences
Experience Design
We teach experience design processes that empower designers to enhance customer satisfaction by improving usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between users and the product
Design Strategy
We teach a methodology that fosters the new type of creative leader equiped with strategic insight, foresight and creative capacity  to design producs and services that are profitable, ethical, and remarkable

This approach involves multi-disciplinary teams who work with stakeholders and end-users throughout the design process. It continues to grow as a discipline as organizations are becoming increasingly aware that they can no longer rely on providing value solely through products but need to move into creating meaningful and memorable customer experiences.

Meeting people where they are and designing around their needs 

Human-centered design sits at the intersection of empathy and creativity. It is a design and management framework that develops solutions to challenges by involving the users’ perspective in all steps of product and service innovation. The full user involvement typically takes place when contextualizing and framing the challenge, brainstorming, conceptualizing, developing, and implementing the solution.
We teach a user centric approach to creating products, services, and experiences that improve and impact peoples lives drawn from the Dalberg Design practice.
An Industry led approach

The industry experts who teach and mentor our students are essential in building NDI’s reputation as a regional leader in design innovation. With expertise across a range of disciplines, they bring a wealth of experience to our institution. We work closely with practitioners from the creative industry to advise on our curriculum development, run course training and lead studio projects. So our course content is based on the insider knowledge of our faculty, whose deep connections to their respective fields allow them to anticipate trends in the creative world.

Our courses are structured around two phases: Lecture Studios and Experience Studios. In Lecture Studios, students learn, hands-on, how to conduct user research, frame problems, create prototypes and evaluate them. In the Experience Studios, students apply the skills they learned in the Lecture Studios to work on client projects. By the time they graduate, students will have beginners experience working on real projects.


We emphasize a curriculum that is rigorous, demanding and relevant.
It combines the visionary with the practical, the ideal with reality.



Because creativity is
born from experience



Because complex times
require fresh thinking and
creative solutions



Because thoughtful,
innovative research has the
power to change the world



Because businesses and professionals continually
need to reinvent

A hands-on, project-led training

Our problem-solving curricula calendar consists of four weeks of project implementation cycles. Students work in groups from the beginning and are required to research on social challenges experienced by people in the communities they live in. Each calendar month addresses different topics. Our hands-on, project-led training framework is based on proven techniques from design firms and scholars of design innovation around the world. It provides a structure that students can take from the classroom into the business world.

Designing a game-based curriculum for menstrual hygiene management for girls across Kenya through a human-centered design approach

Our project partner WASH United works to change attitudes around sanitation and hygiene and facilitate behavior change at scale. WASH United partnered with NDI to seek ways of improving their current approach, methodology and structure of running menstrual hygiene sessions. We used a human centered design approach to map out the overall experience of their training sessions, and understand the needs and challenges that come with implementing the curriculum. We will be sharing more on this project once it’s complete.

- The following are the expected skills outcome per student -


Enhances user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between end users and products, and extends it by addressing all aspects of a product or service


Seeks to attract, inspire, create desires and motivate people to respond to messages, with a view to making favorable impact, which can either be to build a brand, move sales, or for humanitarian purposes


Helps firms determine what to make, why do it and how to innovate contextually, both immediately and over the long term. This process involves the interplay between design and business strategy

About NDI

We believe in the power of connecting design to industry. We're building a culture and a centre of learning where students go beyond pure aesthetics and technical expertise to think critically, intelligently and empathize humanely about their design practice and its effects on peoples daily lives.

We are grounded in the belief that this kind of education should be substantive, inclusive and comprehensive; a new way of looking at things in the biggest possible way.

NDI applications are currently closed. Sign up to get updated for when applications re-open.

Investing in the future of design

Dalberg Design is incubating the Nairobi Design Institute with a shared mission to drive the future of innovation and impact in Africa through the power of design. NDI is led by Dalberg Design's Creative Lead, Tosh Juma, with support from their entire design team.

As the founding partner of NDI, they are investing resources and time to bring this vision to reality leveraging the Dalberg Design model, as well as the broader Dalberg network, to shape the curriculum and bring the highest level of design thinking to local talent working in the region. Through this deep and meaningful collaboration, we will work side-by-side to address complex social challenges in a more equitable, sustainable and human-centered manner.

Contact Us

We would love to stay in touch.

If you are interested in partnering on a project, supporting the Nairobi Design Institute or following our progress, then leave us a message and we will get intouch. You can also just send us a message requesting an update on when the next call for applications will be.

Speak Soon!