Spotlight: Corbin Raymond, Masters student, Cape Peninsula University of Technology

Date: 27 September 2017

Related Project: The Learning Network for Sustainable Energy Systems

Corbin RAYMOND is 24 years old and lives in Cape Town, South Africa. Originated from a small fisherman's town on the West Coast of South Africa, he moved to Cape Town in 2011 to study in the field of Industrial Design at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT). He is now completing his Master's Degree in Design.

The LeNSes Project and its relevance?

The LeNSes project encapsulates complex strategies to answer the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of "Sustainable Energy for All". With the educational tools which have been developed and directed towards Higher Educational Institutions (HEI's), the LeNSes project aims at diffusing knowledge through a global network of HEI's.
The HEI's which are involved in the LeNSes project is represented by four African universities: The Cape Peninsula University of Technology (CPUT), Cape Town, South Africa; Makarere University, Kampala, Uganda; the University of Botswana, Gaborone, Botswana; University of Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya; and three European universities: Politechnico di Milano University, Milan, Italy; Delft University of Technology, Delft, the Netherlands; Brunel University, London, United Kingdom.
The LeNSes project is situated well within CPUT's research pillar of Sustainability. Furthermore, the LeNSes project is nested within the vision of the Cape Higher Education Consortium (CHEC). CHEC encourages regional, national and international development in Sustainability within four HEI's in the Western Cape of South Africa. With the copy left model of online resources embedded within the LeNSes project, it will be advantageous to diffuse knowledge content between these already existing network of local HEI's which are about 40km apart from each other.

The LeNSes Project and your role?

I have been helping with implementing the LeNSes educational tools into the Department of Industrial Design's course content at CPUT. Within my teaching capacity, I have had the opportunity to assist in the development of a course for Undergraduate Industrial Design students where I could teach students in the field of Designing for Sustainability.
I have presented findings from this course at LeNSes seminars and LeNSes conferences. I have been responsible for recording, editing and uploading video files of the seminar and conference held in Cape Town to the LeNSes online platform.
I have also had an opportunity to travel to Kenya to do a SPSS student project using the LeNSes methods and tools and met with students from the Kenya pilot course in a collaborative attempt to provide sustainable energy solutions to rural Kenya.

What advantages does working with international partners bring?

I believe and practice in what we call "Ubuntu" in South Africa. Ubuntu is the belief that "I am because of you". There are key underlining benefits for this project to stretch over geographical borders. One of the benefits is contextual knowing and learning about people living at the Base of Pyramid (BoP) with challenging financial and socio political circumstances.

Through this contextual knowing, sustainable product service systems (SPSS) tools and methods can be applied to introduce sustainable energy technologies to the BoP communities as an attempt to provide sustainable energy for all and furthermore improve quality of life for this challenging market sector. Based on this, I can foresee mutually beneficial synergies between the contextually rich offering of the ACP countries and the appropriate technological advancements of the EU countries.

What are your expectations from the results?

On a personal level, this project has allowed me to nurture and grow my curiosity about sustainability. My personal expectations is to see my understanding of the LeNSes project and SPSS within my own academic research outputs - be it my PhD in Design, or future journal publications with project partners of the partnering HEI's in this project.

Have you identified any impact to date?

The most significant impact that this project had on me was providing me with an area of interest for my Master's thesis. The amount of research work that I have completed through my involvement in this LeNSes project over the past two years is invaluable to me. It has changed my perceptions and contributed to my understanding of Systems Thinking, Design for Sustainability, Sustainability and Product Design. The project has given me confidence to teach the above mentioned themes to my students and fellow work colleagues.

Based on my experience of the project, I have observed students benefit from this project the most. Smart design decisions have been made by students where their work and end results showcase analytical, creative and holistic thinking through considered innovations.  

Back to Spotlight: on LeNSes – the Learning Network on Sustainable energy systems