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Community engagement

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When malnutrition meets fasting: Community labs making change in Ethiopia

Malnutrition Fasting Ethiopia Community Labs ThinkPlace



ሰውን ለመርዳት ሰው መሆን በቂ ነው።

It’s enough to be human to help humans.

The only prerequisite to helping humans is being human yourself.

Why we're transforming our studio into a languages classroom

ThinkPlace Kenya staff take Swahili lessons in the Nairobi design studio

It’s Thursday afternoon in the ThinkPlace Kenya studio in Nairobi and school is in session. 

Designers sit, all eyes on the teacher, as he runs through verb conjugation and sentence construction in French. 

Harnessing delight to create the city of tomorrow

ThinkPlace and Daily Tous les Jours public engagement installation Museum of Possibilities

What kind of future city do you want to live in?

Has the government where you live ever tried to ask you?

Even if they have, it probably fell on deaf ears. We know that traditional engagement practices often fail to generate enthusiasm.

Fill out a survey. Attend a focus group. Yawn, Snooze.

What if we fired up your imagination instead? What if we made it fun?

Strengthening communities, one selfie at a time...

selfies from the collection

Selfies get a bad rap.

If you believe what you read, they are responsible for a global rise in narcissism, risky behaviors occasioning death and the damage of public property.

But does it have to be that way? How might we instead build on the positive, broader social impacts of selfies and what would those impacts be? ThinkPlace tackled these questions with the State Library of New South Wales when they wanted to redevelop their permanent exhibition galleries to be stunning, stereotype-challenging and focused on portraiture.

Everybody in government is doing engagement. Here's how we can do it better

United States

Across all levels of government there is one process baked into the processes of policy and service design that is more or less inescapable.

Public engagement.

Throughout the public (and private) sector there has long been a realisation that making change to complex systems without involving or at least consulting those who will be affected is not a great recipe for successful implementation.

But for all the awareness around the need to “engage” citizens there has been surprisingly little progress made in the methods for effectively doing so.

Designing the future city with the citizens who will live in it

Bridges in Canberra

What kind of city do you want to live in?

How sustainable will it be? What kind of transport will it offer? And how will it balance sometimes-competing needs like economic growth and social inclusion?

Most importantly: How much say should YOU have in the answers to all of these questions?

They are questions that many governments – including the ACT Government – must grapple with as they go about the process of shaping plans and strategies for the future of their cities.

What if communicating with your local council was... fun?

People enjoy the symposium


How connected are you with your local council? And how much time would you be prepared to put aside from your next weekend to help them prepare their 10-year strategic plan?

For most of us the answers are probably “not much” and… “even less than not much.”

And that’s a massive design challenge.

It’s a challenge that Willoughby Council, in Sydney’s Northern suburbs, was recently grappling with as they prepared to draft a new Community Strategic Plan that would oversee their activities for the coming decade.

Those most affected have a say in improving the National Disability Insurance Scheme

Workshop participants

Can you make an impact on HIV testing in West Africa in just three weeks?

Behaviour Change Communication Behavior Change Communication

A new approach to global challenges: the power of divergent thinking

Innovation through divergent thinking
United States

Picture your typical global summit with multiple stakeholders.

A fixed seating arrangement at a large, boardroom style table.  

Attendees arriving in formal attire, with fixed perspectives that represent their country or organisation.  

A strict agenda, ensuring a decision is made in a timely manner.  

Highly ordered and stage managed, the meeting is not expected to discover something new. Discussion is intended to close towards a solution selected from a few predictable options.  


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