Design Research for Service and Product Innovation – Melbourne

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Melbourne, VIC


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Design Research provides the tools designers need to study the ways we live, work and play.

Designing for service and product innovation requires that designers spend time with people, understanding not just what they do, but how and why. Observing, documenting and analysing human behaviour helps us identify the similarities and differences between people, and the outliers and workarounds that highlight service gaps or failures.

This two-day workshop will introduce you to the tools and methods of ethnography – the foundation of design research. It will give you a mix of theory and practical experience that you can directly apply to your design and research projects.

Join us for two full days – $900 incl GST.

Workshop participants

Day One - Ethnography and Design

Day One provides an introduction to ethnography, its connection to design, and its potential for addressing complex organisational and social issues involved in service delivery. The focus will be on human-centred research and design challenges, including the education of decision makers and influencers to comprehend and translate learnings into service and product improvement and innovation.

The day focuses on giving practitioners an understanding of key methodologies and approaches to ethnographic research, including how to appropriately engage and ‘be there with people’ to understand their worlds. It will provide attendees with the tools and understanding required to apply ethnography to their design projects. This day also offers a chance for reflective practice where we will ask attendees to draw on their own design project experiences.

Key topics covered include:

  • An introduction to ethnography and why it is valuable

  • How ethnography is different to other types of research (such as market research)

  • The connections between ethnography and design

  • The challenges and opportunities of research and design in government and organisational contexts, including reflection on our collective project experiences

Day One closes with applied research practice around the question: What's it like to be a designer and researcher in an organisation? The data generated from this will be used in Day Two.

Day Two - Making Sense Together

Day Two provides an introduction to collaborative sense-making, communication techniques, and ethnographic methods that help designers use research data in effective ways. We will work with data generated on Day One in order to identify problems and opportunities for design and research work in organisations.

Key topics covered include:

  • "Collective hunch-making" - methods for making sense of research data with others

  • Introduction to qualitative data coding

  • Using journey maps and sketches to communicate a problem

  • Identifying opportunities and building a case for change, using research data

  • How to use stories to inspire service, product and policy responses

What will you learn?

By the end of the two days you will have learned:

  • The basics of design research, it's links to ethnography, and how it is used

  • Core ethnographic methods and their connection to design

  • How to apply ethnographic methods on a design project, with guided activities and reusable templates

  • How and why to use ethnographic methods to research people and their lives, (including minority groups, such as indigenous and culturally and linguistically diverse communities)

  • How and why to use ethnography to research organisational and front line staff

  • How to use ethnographic research data to inform design outcomes

  • How to use ethnographic data to tell stories within your organisation and make a case for change

Who should take this course?

This course is for design professionals who are interested in building a deeper understanding of research and its connection to service and product innovation.

Why us?

Paper Giant is a strategic design agency that helps organisations understand and solve complex problems. We have worked extensively across the public and private sector, and have developed expertise in government at all levels, in health, education, social justice, community development and finance.

We have worked with the Australian, State and Local Governments, Medibank, Bupa, Telstra, ANZ, the Digital Transformation Agency and Victorian Legal Aid.

Dr Chris Marmo is research director at Paper Giant and is one of Australia’s most experienced researchers and designers.

Ashlee Riordan is Organisational Design and Capability Lead at Paper Giant. Ashlee is an experienced educator and researcher. With a background in psychology, anthropology and education, she brings deep methodological experience and nearly a decade of professional experience in human centred design. Alongside her role at Paper Giant, Ashlee teaches at Melbourne University and as required for Victoria University, Latrobe, Swinburne and RMIT.

Catherine Sutton-Long is Design Research Lead at Paper Giant. Cat is an experienced design and research leader and educator. In the past 15 years, she has worked with a number of organisations in multiple countries, to deliver design and research projects. She is highly experienced in research and training design, workshop design and facilitation.

In 2018, Paper Giant was the receipient of a Good Design award for Social Impact, working with a team from RMIT University applying design research and co-design methods to work with the Wiradjuri people.


If you have any questions about this workshop, please get in touch with ashlee.riordan@papergiant.net

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Melbourne, VIC


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