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ThinkPlace wows the judges at Australia's top design awards

ThinkPlace has been awarded three prestigious “ticks” at the 2018 Australian Good Design Awards.

Designers from the company’s Australian studios were presented with the Good Design Award trophies at a glittering ceremony held at the Sydney Opera House on Thursday night.

The awards recognise ThinkPlace’s leading position as collaborative designers for public good in complex systems. All three winners involve projects that help governments tackle aspects of family safety and domestic violence, a difficult but important challenge in Australia and the broader world.

The annual Good Design Awards are Australia’s most prestigious prizes for design and innovation with a history dating back to1958.

ThinkPlace award winners

The awards celebrate the best new products and services, excellence in architectural design, digital and communication design and emerging areas of design cuch as business model innovation, social impact and design entrepreneurship. 

“These awards are fantastic recognition for our designers, who have consistently risen to the challenge of designing elegant solutions for complex problems in complex systems,” ThinkPlace Founding Partner John Body said.

“But everything we do at ThinkPlace is collaborative and without brave, forward-thinking clients like the ACT Government, Centre for Innovative Justice and Victorian Department of Health and Human Services, successful co-designs such as these would not be possible.”

“At ThinkPlace we design to have impact and the impact we seek is towards a better world, in line with the United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals. These three projects all demonstrate that impact and do so in ways that are innovative, creative and deliver solutions that create real value for the client.”

The projects were contributed to by designers across ThinkPlace's Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney studios. Melbourne Studio Lead Laura Kostanski and Sarah Craig, a Business Designer from the Sydney Studio, were on hand to receive the trophies.  

Co-designing the Family Safety Innovation Hub, a project led out of the company’s Canberra studio was a winner in the Service Design category, recognizing outstanding design and innovation.

A Melbourne-led project  - Co-designing Out of Home Care Reform - also took home an award in the Service Design category, while a third piece of work - Centre for Innovative Justice Perpetrator Service Mapping was awarded in the Communication Design category.

The out of home care project

The wins mean ThinkPlace and its three successful designs will also be featured alongside other award winners at an exhibition as part of Vivid Sydney, the world's biggest festival of light, music and ideas in Sydney from 25-27 May 2018 at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, Circular Quay.

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The Good Design Awards are Australia's oldest and most prestigious awards for design, dating back to 1958.

The Good Design Awards Jury was hugely impressed by the quality, innovativeness and impact of ThinkPlace’s projects.

Family Safety Hub

The hub is the result of an 18-month design process involving the ACT Government and a huge range of stakeholders in the family violence space. ThinkPlace worked with the people who research shows are most unlikely to willingly interact with the family violence system (including Indigenous people, members of the LGBTIQ+ community and young men with lived experience of family violence in the home). The resulting design involves bringing diverse voices together for regular innovation challenges. These will spawn ideas that become pilot projects and ultimately can be scaled up by the ACT Government.

The Judges said: “This is a terrific project with well described method. It would be great to see this project back in a year or two with some real depth around impact - stories and data of how the Hub has enabled the development of better processes and outcomes.”

Out of home care reform

As part of the Victorian Government's emphasis on family violence, the Department of Health & Human Services wanted to take a co-design approach to creating a future vision of the Out of Home Care system. The industry’s participation and buy-in to any new architecture was critical to the success of the reform agenda, and ThinkPlace developed a multi-faceted approach to understand the current state of the Out of Home Care system, and collaboratively build a shared understanding of a desired future state.

The proposed future-state architecture report and visualisation “All Roads Lead to Home” has been welcomed by stakeholders including young people, carers, major service organisations, the Department of Health & Human Services, and other government departments and agencies currently involved in the provision of Out of Home Care or related services.

The judges said: “Good detail on service design method and love the emphasis on visualisation. There is ample description of the design process which is brilliant. A piece of service design that will make a significant difference to people's lives. Well done.”

Perpetrator Mapping

As part of the Victorian Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, RMIT’s Centre for Innovative Justice was asked to complete a mapping exercise to identify the roles and responsibilities of all government and non-government agencies and service providers who have contact with perpetrators of family violence.

ThinkPlace collaborated with the the Centre for Innovative Justice to synthesise this large amount of data into a series of maps that visualise the points of interaction a perpetrator of family violence has with organisations within the system. ThinkPlace produced 25 highly visual maps that identified all agencies and services involved in the ecosystem and communicated gaps, overlaps and inconsistencies in intervention and prevention service delivery.

These maps made sense of all the information and presented it in an accessible and useful way to stimulate conversation between the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the organisations in contact with perpetrators.

The judges said: “It’s not easy to bring together complex data into a way that makes the gaps quickly visible. Interesting approach!  The illustration is original and communicates a welcoming spirit.”

About ThinkPlace

Founded in 2005, ThinkPlace has grown from a small Canberra-based consultancy to a global design network encompassing eight studios across Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Kenya and the United States.

ThinkPlace designers use techniques of design thinking and human-centered design to solve complex problems in complex systems. We specialise in collaborative design – working with all of the participants in a system to create solutions that work in situ, not just on paper.

We design for a better world, using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as the principles that drive us every day. Each project we take on aims to move the needle on at least one of these goals.

About Good Design Australia

Good Design Australia is an international design promotion organisation responsible for managing Australia’s annual Good Design Awards and other signature design events. Good Design Australia remains committed to promoting the importance of design to business, industry, government and the general public and the critical role it plays in creating a better, safer and more prosperous world.