Sept - Dec 2016
Global Digital Innovation
Edu Tech 


You’ll need a bit of curiosity …

Taking part in building the Internet may seem like a dark mystery to most people. But Rails Girls is changing all that. If all you have is curiosity and a willingness to learn, you can join a unique group of women, and some young men, who will walk into the new world of technology.

In a first for South Africa, Rails Girls Johannesburg is scheduled to begin early in December. Born in Finland, Rail Girls is a global, non-profit volunteer community that aims to launch women into the world of digital technology., in association with Rails Girls, is organising a unique experience that will contribute to making technology accessible and friendly. Making technology approachable is the objective of this unique project that has spread to 232 cities, including Mozambique, Uganda and Kenya,.

Our aim is to give tools for women to understand technology. The Rails Girls events do this by providing a great first experience on building the Internet.

“Rails Girls was founded in end of 2010 in Helsinki. Originally intended as a onetime event, we never thought we’d see so many local chapters all around the world.”

Participants learn sketching, prototyping, basic programming and get introduced to the world of technology.

As Rails Girls is entirely a non-profit, participants don’t pay and coaches, organisers and speakers don’t charge. Thanks to willing sponsors who want to promote the benefits of “open technology”, the traction of the two-day events around the world are surprising even the founders.

Participants don’t need any previous knowledge about programming and there are no age-limitations. A hands-on approach to learning the basics of Ruby on Rails, participants need no previous experience about programming. Although there are no age limits, Rails Girls Johannesburg wants to aim the first event at young people between 15 and 18 years of age.

The workshop will be informal. No panel discussions or lectures, just one coach for three or four participants. At the end of the workshop, participants will feel inspired about programming and web design.

The event will take place at:

Thoughtworks office Address


South Point Central

2nd Floor

17 Melle Street




Parking Address  

 Arbour Square Building, 

c/o Juta & Melle Streets, 




For parking, you will provided with a ticket that can be stamped at the ThoughtWorks office. 

Light refreshments and snacks will be available. The workshop starts on Saturday 6 December 2014 and continues on Sunday 7 December 2014.

You need to submit your application by or before 21 November 2014 and, if you are selected, we will confirm your participation by email  by 26 November 2014.


  • Curiosity about the Internet
  • A laptop
  • Transport to and from the venue
  • Completion of application form

All you need is a laptop and some curiosity. Show sparks!





I agree that by applying for participation in the Rails Girls workshop I have read and understood the terms and conditions as set out hereunder:


  1. I understand that the workshop is an introduction to Ruby on Rails coding.
  2. I will co-operate with all reasonable instructions at the workshop and I accept that the organisers will not be liable to myself or my dependants for any claims arising from injuries, whether fatal or otherwise, sustained during the activities, howsoever such injuries are caused.
  3. The organisers will not be held liable for any loss of or damage to any property sustained by me, howsoever such damage is caused.
  4. I undertake to comply with the reasonable instructions of the organisers and/ or their delegates and I agree that I will be bound by the terms and conditions as set out on the site and the Code of Conduct.
  5. I indemnify and hold harmless the organisers and all other persons in the workshop against all actions or claims by me arising from any activity in which I am involved at the workshop.
  6. By submitting this form I declare that I have obtained the permission of my parent or guardian to attend this workshop. In the event that such permission is not obtained, I indemnify the organisers against any action that is taken.
  7. I agree to arrange my own transport to and from the venue.









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Creator Spaces   Designing Innovation Economics


Ayesha Dawood

I liked this when I came across it “Thinking is a kind of making, and making is a kind of thinking" says Jessie Shefrin former Provost of The Rhode Island School of Design and past Dean of Graduate Studies of The Rhode Island School of Design.

I like this too, alot 'design thinking ... is the expression of communication – the form itself...' that is the response I got when I asked John Maeda, at a talk at MIT this year what design thinking is -- Is it the form, is it the way it is presented .. and how does it impact international affairs? His response has got me mulling on innovation economics – and a very 21st century focus. The innovation economics idea was introduced to me by Professor William Fisher of Harvard Law School, Wilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property. And so Professor Fisher I take the liberty to propel this idea to designing innovation economics in the 21st century. So here I am positing Creator Spaces as innovation economics in action. And yes, Prof Fisher, Intellectual Property is important and as you say, only and only if it creatively engages with culture. So I take the creative engaging with the culture of a people, the culture of counties ... to a culture of creation. So, I am building and creating and designing too. Is this Ronald Dworkin`s chain novel theory playing itself out – a step by step building of things.

In particular I focus on Creator and Maker spaces which I call Creator Spaces. It is a movement rapidly gaining traction – and pioneering new pedagogies – tinkering, creator and playful learning pedagogies. No doubt this is influencing and will continue to improve a whole new wave – tinkering, playful learning and learning through play and exploration heralding novel creations as well as iterations in the new edu- tech era.

This is innovation economics birthed. A world of tinkering, software and hardware creation including an immersive engagement with technology and with materials –that is what empowers us to be courageous and creative. To make, to create – the art of playful learning and innovator spirit is boldly borne.

In seeing what we create – both online with immersive engaging of technology to building with our minds and hands to creating with materials to embracing the realm of possibilities and yes frameworks ( the lawyer in me screams legal frameworks as much computational thinking calls for system frameworks ). That is the power of Creator Space. They energise, motivate, uplift and propel growth in ones own sense of self, in creativity, in making, in building, in designing and cognition and critical thinking. And this is why it makes sense – it is innovation economics in both the digital and physical – a new form of a connected world – a world of immersive technology made simple – a world of creative making and a world of design and designing new things – software, new hardware, new things and while the search for new hardware forms and hardware materials is increasingly opening up new possibilities in materials.... Creator Spaces are about working with what is available as well making new from afresh and in that process new forms are birthed – New software creation is Creator Space and open source learning and remixing also lend impetus to this. See what amazing creations Scratch, an open source computer programme inspiring community learning and inspiring kids to create stories, animations and games - initiated at the MIT Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarden Group - is doing for kids globally here

Designing Creator Spaces is about inspiring people to take charge of their minds and ideas. I marvelled at watching the excitement and agility of the kids at MIT `s Scratch Day this May. Boundless enthusiasm and fun creations – and such confidence.

A new creator pedagogy in the making – yes – but maybe not so new in Africa and emerging economies where creator crafts and tinkering necessities were birthed. It is this staple that will take the shift to tinkering and artful play in emerging economies to levels unparalleled and a boon for innovation economics. Now that is design thinking innovation economics.  Creator Spaces is innovation economics. And yes, Intellectual Property matters.

Ayesha Dawood is a lawyer, writer and artist and educator. She is a Harvard and South African educated lawyer (@ConsultAyesha) She has an LL.M from Harvard Law School and is a recent Fellow of the Weatherhead Centre for International Affairs, Harvard University.