About Simon
de Haast

Simon de Haast is founder of Ideafarm and is part of a network that helps organisations be more creative, braai the sacred cows that limit their worldviews, and generally have richer conversations with their customers.

As part of this innovation process, Ideafarm builds and operates innovation 'greenhouses' for clients, where new ideas can emerge and grow. Client-sectors have spanned beverages (SABMiller, Wines of South Africa), packaging and paper (Sappi), and tourism (Cape Town Tourism) to name a few.

He is a guest lecturer at Vega Brand School, Gordon Institute of Business (GIBS) MBA and the UCT Graduate School of Business, on branding and innovation strategy, and has spoken at numerous conferences on innovation, mobile technology and customer insight.

He is strongly influenced by writers such as Fritjof Capra, Marshall McLuhan and Tom Peters, and would pay to work at IDEO, one of the leading design firms in the world. Since that would have been too expensive, he decided to start his own innovation and experience design firm in Cape Town, at last finding a home for his passion for creativity and coming up with new stuff.

Prior to starting Ideafarm in 2003, Simon was involved in a variety of industries spanning software development, music, advertising, asset management, treasury risk management, mobile internet and ecommerce, with a meandering career path taking him through Syfrets Private Bank, Nedcor Investment Bank, Nebula BOS Records, Hero Design, and M-Web Studios.

Simon went to school at Michaelhouse, graduated from Natal University (Pmb) with a B.Com (Honours), and has a strong interest in Systems Thinking that nearly resulted in a Masters. He has also passed Level 1 CFA. Passionate about customer service, this was recognised by Chris Moerdyk in giving Simon an 'Orchid Award' for best Customer Service in 2001. He also moonlights as a live music photographer, often seen lurking around on stage living vicariously through the rock bands he shoots. His images can be seen on www.pixelsthatrock.com.

For more of Simon’s sharp observations from the edges of markets, visit ideafarm.co.za/blog.