From Things to Services: The rise of service design and social innovation in Asia Pacific

This landmark event brings together key change-makers in Singapore and Asia-Pacific region who are shaping the landscape in service design and social innovation for positive impact. Over the two days, this event will inspire ideas, stimulate discussion, provoke thinking and collaboratively explore what it means to design in this landscape. All design students, academics and those interested in design from business and 3rd sector organisations are welcome.

For more information, please download the poster or go to DESIAP website.

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

Design for Social Innovation: A two day conference on the latest thinking, doing and change emerging in the field of design‑led social innovation.

• Explore case studies on current practice and learn about the realities of design‑led innovation for social impact with international and Australian experts.
• Workshop your current projects and challenges in specialised learning sessions and masterclasses on design and social innovation.

• Emerge with a design and innovation toolkit to implement social change initiatives drawn from best practice in Australia and around the world.


Why do we need design-led thinking for social innovation?

Because we need to look at problem solving and solution finding from users’ perspective.

As we face a future in Australia with a diminishing tax base to support an ageing community, and reduced government spending on social purpose, a new way forward is needed that ensures social innovation makes an impact on a meaningful scale. Design thinking applied to social purpose can result in the creation of new services, business models, processes and communication that makes meaningful and scalable change possible.

But how do you practically do this innovation work?

And what’s more – how do you do this in a cash-strapped, risk averse system, and still maintain business as usual and deliver services to those most in need?

Design-based thinking, real life application

Walk away from this conference with the know-how to immediately put technique and frameworks into practice and create new or enhance existing systems, processes, services and products.

Design for Social Innovation is an event for practitioners, policy makers, social impact intrapreneurs, social entrepreneurs, directors and managers in government, the not-for-profit sector, and business.

It is for people who create or manage systems, processes, products and services designed to address social need.

Design and business innovation academics as well as user-facing communicators and developers will also be able to participate and engage in thinking that will explore real life case-studies and dig-deep into the realities of design-led innovation in the social space.

Participants will develop an action plan for user-centric approaches to tackling social challenges such as disadvantage, homelessness, long-term unemployment, disengagement from education, social isolation and social challenges related to health.

Book now for up to $200 off registration until 25 September 2014.
For more details go to:

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

TACSI is launching Australia’s first Innovation in Ageing Challenge in partnership with South Australia’s Office for the Ageing. If you have a great idea that will help improve the lives of older people in South Australia, you could share in $100,000 in funding.

We’re looking for ideas to support two key groups: baby boomers, and older people living home alone. Up to 10 shortlisted entries will attend a two-day workshop to explore their idea in more depth and prepare to pitch their idea to win the funding.

There’s also six months of coaching, mentoring and business planning support on offer from TACSI for the winning entries, valued at $40,000.

Not in South Australia? The Challenge is open to all, so long as your idea will benefit South Australians.

NB: applications close 12th September, 5pm.

All the details are available at

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

DESIS-lab Melbourne had the great pleasure of hosting a panel discussion to coincide with Dominic Campbell’s visit to Melbourne on the 21st May 2013. Dom is the Director of Futuregov, UK, leading the way on using digital technology to improve the public services. This article in The Guardian gives a good snapshot of their recent work.

A brief intro to Dom’s talk:

“Social innovators and public sector reformers are increasingly drawn to the use of digital and design as a way to transform public services from the inside and out. However so far many of these emerging (great) ideas lack the scale of impact they could and should have. It’s now time to focus less on creating more and more good ideas, and instead on taking the best of those ideas and the social innovation experiments to the next level. Go big or go home – the world can’t wait.”

Following Dom’s talk, an illustrious line up of panelists discussed general topics on design and social innovation in the public sector.

Darren Sharp: Darren Sharp is the Australian Editor of Shareable, the online magazine that tells the story of sharing. Darren has a background in social research and consulting having led a number of Gov 2.0 initiatives for state and federal government clients including Australia Post, VicHealth and the Gov 2.0 Taskforce. Darren spent years as senior researcher with the Smart Services CRC where he undertook research into communications policy, Internet futures, peer production and user-led innovation. A sharing economy evangelist, Darren is passionate about citizen engagement, social innovation, p2p systems, the commons and sustainable cities.

Adrian Pyle, Director – Relationships Innovation at Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania. He is interested in enduring and universal themes within the great spiritual traditions, philosophies and models of change. He has a particular interest in Theory U and how “U shaped process” is a metaphor for those universal themes. His work involves him in a range of projects and experiments which help people get immersed in various stages of the U process and through this allow them to appreciate life as a spiritual experience (rather than spirituality as an “add on” to life). These projects and experiments include a fledgling responsible travel and learning journeys business, work in the area of relocalising and cooperatising businesses, neighbourhood co-working and maker space experiments, neighbourhood meals experiments and crowd and community funded energy reduction initiatives.

Damien Melotte, partner in System Reload. System Reload is a Strategic Design consultancy that is passionate about building thriving organisations that can adapt to disruptive change in the relationships age. Their approach is a combination of Service Design, Customer Experience, Digital and Social Business.Damien has worked with a range of public, private and Non Government Organisations in project design, social innovation, trends analysis, customer experience, strategic design, business strategy development, tactical tool development and workshop facilitation. Damien supports organisations to distil complexity through visualising and unravelling problems and working through a collaborative process to develop solutions.

Lucinda Hartley is an award winning designer who is passionate about cities, and developing new approaches to urban revitalisation that are faster, cheaper and more fun. Trained as a Landscape Architect, Lucinda spent two years working in slum communities in Vietnam and Cambodia before launching CoDesign Studio: a non-profit social enterprise, committed to helping disadvantaged communities to envision, design and implement neighbourhood improvement projects. Since its inception in 2010, CoDesign has delivered projects across five countries in Asia Pacific and engages over 500 volunteers. Lucinda is also an elected representative to the UN-Habitat Youth Advisory Board, focusing on how to engage young people in city making, and was a 2010 Youth Action Net Global Fellow. Her work in design and community development has been widely recognised including being recently listed in The Age Melbourne Magazine as one of Melbourne’s ‘Top 100’ most influential people.

Dominic Campbell, Founder of Futuregov. Dominic is a digital government and social innovation entrepreneur with a strong background in policy, communications and change management.

The panel discussion was moderated by Yoko Akama, leader of DESIS-Lab Melbourne, Service Design Network Melbourne and Acting Research Leader of Design Research Institute, RMIT University. This forum was nested within a broader program of the Design Research Institute Convergence Exhibition, open from 2nd – 24th May 2013 at RMIT Design Hub.

This book is about the many ways in which people are creating new and more effective answers to the biggest challenges of our times: how to cut our carbon footprint; how to keep people healthy; and how to end poverty.
It describes the methods and tools for innovation being used across the world and across different sectors – the public and private sectors, civil society and the household – in the overlapping fields of the social economy, social entrepreneurship and social enterprise. It draws on inputs from hundreds of organisations to document the many methods currently being used around the world.

The materials we’ve gathered here are intended to support all those
involved in social innovation: policymakers who can help to create the right
conditions; foundations and philanthropists who can fund and support;
social organisations trying to meet social needs more effectively; and social entrepreneurs and innovators themselves.

In other fields, methods for innovation are well understood. In medicine,
science, and to a lesser degree in business, there are widely accepted ideas, tools and approaches. There are strong institutions and many people whose job requires them to be good at taking ideas from inception to impact. There is little comparable in the social field, despite the richness and vitality of social innovation. Most people trying to innovate are aware of only a fraction of the methods they could be using.

This volume – part of a series of methods and issues in social innovation – describes the hundreds of methods and tools for innovation being used across the world, as a first step to developing a knowledge base.

Family breakdown, child abuse and neglect, carer stress, chronic disease and the vast social inequality experienced by Indigenous communities.

For too many Australians, big social challenges are an everyday reality that even the concerted efforts of public policy, community development and social sciences have not managed to shift.

The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) was founded to develop new solutions to Australia’s social challenges, and to spread new approaches to social problem solving.

Our vision is more Australians thriving, not just surviving. We work with organisations across Australia who share that vision.

Go to TACSI website and download their reports

Tackling Wicked Problems: A public policy perspective
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