Offers and Needs Market for Cremorne Street Event

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The community-led Cremorne street event on 10th March 2017 was a local celebration of this neighbourhood and a chance to connect through good, common projects. Cremorne is a creative, tech and social innovation hub. Businesses such as Uber, bitcoin, Vinomofo, Tesla as well as super-sized businesses of and now calling the suburb home.

As part of this event DESIS-Lab Melbourne facilitated an activity called Offers and Needs Market for people to share skills, offer time and creative ideas for anything common and useful in Cremorne. It was a visual and participatory activity to enable anyone to contribute. Ideas that were generated include the following that were consistent with the stencil project.

Alongside, there was a DJ on the street, a pop up park with some furniture and plants, a MakersMap for people to add their business, food and drinks, and an array of other activities hosted by locals.

To see more:




What could citizen-centred governance look like to tackle issues on climate change?

This design studio was taught in the Communication Design Program, School of Media and Communication, RMIT University, in partnership with CityLab (City of Melbourne) and Victorian Eco Innovation Lab (University of Melbourne) during July – October 2015. It aimed to introduce design students to consider new models of local governance in 2040 for a future that is hotter, more crowded but has adapted to climate change and its impacts. This studio, led by Dr Yoko Akama, Tania Ivanka and Dr Idil Gaziulusoy helped students learn about emerging movements like service design, speculative design and design ethnography to propose a citizen-centred future for the City of Melbourne.

The studio introduced students to the development and use of participatory, human centred design methods and how these can be used to engage citizens in dialogue about, and the design of, a low-carbon future. In order to deliver this learning, the studio structure included in-class exercises on participatory methods, guest lectures by the studio partners, interviews with local practitioners who are at the forefront of citizen engagement on these issues. The studio centred around several workshops with citizens where students could develop, iterate and test their participatory prototypes with the participants.

“The lecturer explained that we as designers have been educated to be problem solvers, fixated on delivering a solution. This studio however, was not aiming to design a solution, but to design the process. With this acknowledgement, all of my stars seemed to align and I felt I gained a whole new understanding. .. our main focus revolved around developing prototype’s to be tested in real life settings using all we had learned around human centred design so far. This process held the most intense and insightful experience within the studio. As we were to test these prototypes on industry professionals, only just having learnt half the concepts we were exploring with them a few months ago, it was definitely an exciting process. Being able to learn from the things that may have gone horribly wrong and even get feed-back from our participants held so much value in the development of my work and also myself as a designer. Real life interactions were incredibly valuable. Being able to reflect on the process to inform and iterate future work is such an essential element to design and this studio thoroughly underlined that notion.” Galen Strachan

The process and outcome of this studio are captured by a selection of outstanding student projects:

Repurposing Waste by Carlotta Solari


Public Transport mapping by Galen Strachan


Swapping waste and resources by Harry Jones


A city of windturbines by Robert Sorensen


Household Foodwaste prototype by Anita Shao


Green infrastructure by Mary Hoang


Power Up prototype by Maria Ferreira


Bus it by Michael Santos


Wasteful Packaging prototype by Sasha Taylor-Leech


Listen to a podcast of the panel discussion “Let’s really look at what designing does in social innovation and sustainability”.

Part of the Engineers Without Borders Link Festival Tuesday 17 February 2015

DESIS-Lab Melbourne convened a presentation and panel discussion as part of Link Festival 2015 program. The speakers were Idil Gaziulusoy and Jessica Bird (Victorian Eco-Innovation Lab); Kate Bissett-Johnson (Swinburne University) and Yoko Akama (RMIT University and Leader of DESIS-Lab Melbourne), facilitated by Tania Ivanka (RMIT University).

Each presenter drew on their practice in education, research and design to share first-hand experiences in working on contemporary issues in social innovation in sustainability. Questions and comments from the audience were actively invited to have a lively discussion to look at what design is really doing and to counter worrying trends where design is ‘sold’ as a ‘magic bullet’. Listen to this here:

Or here:

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion with Pelle, joined by Ann Light (Northumbria University, UK), Paul Dourish (University of California, Irvine, US) and Anne Galloway (Victoria University of Wellington, NZ).
All welcome – please pass on to your networks.

Venue: RMIT Design Hub, Lecture Theatre (Level 3), corner of Swanston and Victoria St, Melbourne

Time: 9th December 2014, 6-8pm. Please arrive at 5.45pm for a prompt 6pm start

Free event: Drinks and nibbles included


Be warned, this is not a regular design talk.

A curated list of industry professionals will lead discussions in small groups about the connection between design and social responsibility.You are encouraged to ask difficult questions.

Come ready to discuss ideas, argue your perspective, drink beer and be inspired. Walk away knowing what kind of designer you want to be.

P.S. There will be food trucks.

Organised by Thick and Oxfam Australia’s Design for Change.

Thick is a strategic design consultancy with a focus on health, education and public services. We believe in the power of business to transform the planet for good. We design and create products and experiences that improve the lives of people as well as build social, environmental and business benefit.

Oxfam Australia’s Design for Change is a unique university program run by Oxfam Australia supporting design and communications students, the creative industries and emerging professionals to use their skills, creativity and problem solving capacity for global good. Every year Design for change works with leading universities in Sydney and Melbourne to foster socially engaged design thinking and practices into the next wave of designers.


Oxfam Australia, Studio Thick

Energy and Digital Living is based on the sensory and digital ethnography methodologies and design research at Loughborough University, UK, as part of the EPSRC funded LEEDR project.

Energy and Digital Living website aims to disseminate both the ethnographic findings and design interventions developed from the work, as well as the digital-sensory ethnography methodology that was developed as a way of researching energy and digital media in the home. There are a number of articles published that take the ideas developed on the web site into more theoretical depth. These are linked to the site.

The site is intended to be used by scholars and practitioners from different disciplines who are interested in this field, researchers and designers interested in video methods and digital-sensory ethnography practice and in interdisciplinary work, and has the potential to be used for teaching around a number of areas.


Dawn O’Neill AM: Collective Impact and Social Change – a challenge and an opportunity for the Service Design community.
Collective Impact is a philosophy, a framework, an approach that is being applied to address many complex social problems in the US, UK, and now in Australia. The event, in conjunction with RSA A+NZ, will show how Collective Impact can facilitate long lasting social change by bringing cross-sector organisations together to focus on a common agenda. Dawn O’Neill AM will highlight where Service Design can play an intrinsic role in dealing with the wicked problems that beset all these initiatives and how design can contribute to facilitating improvements and better outcomes for the organisations and the people and communities they serve.

Dawn O’Neill, previously the CEO of beyondblue and Lifeline Australia, was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia for services to the community and to Mental Health in 2009. Dawn currently provides business coaching and consulting to social sector leaders in collaborative and participatory change with a particular focus on Collective Impact. She is also the Chair of STREAT, an innovative homelessness social enterprise, a Director of Ten20 a newly formed venture philanthropy organisation sup-porting community based, collective impact initiatives and a Director of Big White Wall an innovative on line mental health and wellbeing service.

You can download the presentation here.


Collective Impact, RSA, Service Design Network Melbourne, RMIT University

For those who have attended our successful discussion panel in 2012, it will be a delight to know that Dom was back again in Melbourne to give us a talk on ‘Designing for change in public services’.

Dominic Campbell is a digital government specialist and founder of FutureGov. FutureGov designs digital products that improve public services, especially in areas of high importance, cost and risk such as child protection and social care.

FutureGov has a 30-strong team in the UK, and has been working with local government in Australia over the last couple of years. It’s great to have Dom join us to talk about how FutureGov has used service design to transform public services.

About Dom
Dominic Campbell is a digital government specialist and social innovator with a background in government policy, communications and technology-led change.

He is an experienced organisational change agent with senior management experience in implementing successful change initiatives within the local government sector, with a primary interest in emerging uses of new media and “social” strategies to deliver public service transformation and social innovation.

Dominic was recently voted in both the top 50 most influential people in UK local government and top 50 most influential users of social networking site Twitter in the UK.

GovCamp is about more than events – it’s an invitation is to be part of an ongoing conversation to inspire and shape new opportunities for public innovation.

It is an opportunity to talk with a mix of people – from inside and outside government, from the worlds of technology and policy, of community and universities – to talk about shaping an agenda for innovation and to make a start on that agenda.

This is a call to people who want to come a be part of a conversation about innovation in government.

GovCamp is for people like you
Public sector practitioners, advisers and leaders who are excited by these challenges, who seek to better understand the risks and opportunities within emerging trends.

There are no clever corporate games; just dialogue and an open exchange of ideas.  It’s a Saturday. It’s free time, casual and as “off-the-record” as you need.  And because it’s shared conversation, you’ll take away even more than you contribute.
Courtesy of our generous organising partners, registration and catering is FREE.


EPA Victoria, Futuregov
Project status: Ongoing
Partners: Municipal Association of Victoria, Design Managers Australia

The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is a primary professional body representing a total of 79 local councils, which provides essential community services to a population over five and a half million people in Victoria. As a major representative of government sector service providers, MAV is confronting a range of urgent social policy and service delivery issues. For instance, community safety is a priority area that includes critical services for vulnerable and marginalised groups, such as preventing violence against women and protecting vulnerable youth. The social and economic implications that arise from these priority areas continue to challenge councils, with local governments burdened with significant costs and reducing their ability to affect meaningful change (MAV 2013). This project aims to explore one facet of the complex challenges faced by MAV and its capacity to deliver effective healthcare services to communities in Victoria. It intends to understand these complex environments that are in flux and examines how to design a human-centred service delivery process that is agile and effective for the communities they serve. It is important to understand the current and future make-up of communities who receive services. Such an understanding can help to shape how services are delivered, how to address the needs of the community and plan for change in the long term. The project aims to directly contribute to this understanding by designing a process that will enable a more efficient and effective delivery service to engender a culture of responsive governance.

Design for social innovation is carving out new frontiers of knowledge in service delivery. It is an approach that invites people to be active participants in the design process. As such, MAV staff and selected community members will be involved in service design workshops. As a major industry partner on this project, Design Managers Australia (DMA) will play a key role in assisting this design process, bringing their professional design expertise in public sector policy. DMA and MAV have a strong association and history, having worked closely together to deliver effective outcomes in the area of maternity and child healthcare policy. This unique blend of expertise provides an opportunity to build on this relationship and broadens its scope in the ongoing work to strengthen the provision of essential services to Victoria’s most vulnerable communities.

The Journal of Design Strategies published by Parsons The New School for Design
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