We.collab | In conversation with co-founder, Ayanda Made

To learn more about We.Collab, we met up with one of the agency’s co-founders, Ayanda Made. He fosters our learning of the high-powered platform, which shows us that beneath every great brand is a plethora of research, data and strategy. Not only is We.Collab an incubator for networking and teambuilding, it is also a channel which drives advantageous growth through creative psychology. 


Ayanda is an inquisitive and proactive individual, who since a young age, has always been interested in the bigger questions. One which probed the most was, ‘Why do certain systems operate the way they do…’ Originally from a small town in Mpumalanga, Made has since travelled all throughout South Africa. He has found himself working in different urban spaces which link to his exploratory working nature. A cum laude graduate of Architecture from the Tshwane University of Technology, Made went on to pursue a second degree in Sociology and Psychology at University of Pretoria, and now a Master’s degree in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Cape Town.


We.collab was born from the principle that the postulate of conventional working-environments/ practice on all cultural societies is ineffective. We learn more about the creative series, channels and initiatives produced through this platform, all which pertain to the pivot of creative problem-solving which is collaboration.


Walk us through the core aspects of We.Collab, which you have listed as Creative Community, Collaborative Design and Research & Development.

‘Creative Community, really, is a loose term. It extends to a very fluid concept and relationship to the traditional idea of community. We are an open network that operates more like a hive, with a collective consciousness rather than set boundaries. Collaborative Design has this same idea. We are a design platform first and foremost. So, our focus is on output. The emphasis, however, is put on the cross pollination of collective knowledge and experience across multiple industries. Research and Development is an expression chamber, which is also the engine behind We.Collab. By use of design combined with critical thinking, this engine works to find creative solutions to relevant, hard and persistent problems. We initiate and work with stakeholders to seek unconventional solutions to problems that would not be possible through traditional methods.’


In your own words, what does We.Collab stand for? Tell us a bit about what this business means to you and your community.

‘We.Collab is a natural progression to the nature of work and professional practice. It looks to satisfy diametrically opposed desires for both individualism and collectivism. The aim is to help navigate, identify and break-down the barriers between industries. So, in all, our solutions allow individuals to use our platform to tap into other industries for opportunities which can diversify their skill-set.’


What projects are you working on at the moment? 

‘We have 3 current projects running. I will mention them in order. First, we have Agoraphobia. This is our monthly talks, where we host a round table Agora to share experiences, frustrations, and needs, while navigating industry and some transitions between academia and the workplace. This space is shared with a group of young graduates & professionals, employed, self-employed and unemployed creatives. Second, we have Research Pods. In this we pursue (un)conventional research questions using (un)conventional approaches, drawing from a combination of academic literature and popular culture. In our latest Unwrapped Pod, we explore the design, science and psychology of product packaging. Lastly, we have our Rewinds, which is our quick bite of IG live chats with designers and creatives. These are selected individuals we admire and find interesting, who we chat with through a quick “lunch hour” discussion. We focus on a piece of their work we found particularly interesting on their feed and would like to connect with.’


Although it can be difficult to project into 2022, what are you looking forward to? What hopes for the future do you have for We.collab?

‘More external projects from clients and research pod outputs. We are working on developing another pod, which dives into a deeper introspection of the supply-chain, observing it as a whole. So, we will begin at elementary steps: the construction of a building, then “hacking” it in order to unlock new ways of design. Lastly, we look forward to growing the collective. A goal of ours is to slowly re-defining the world of work and design, in order to take on tougher design problems.’


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