Designing for Resilience

A few months ago IDEO published an article about designing for resilience and using technology can be leveraged to make services more intelligent and empathetic. Which got me thinking (yet again…) How do you actually do this?


How do you back up anecdotes or interviews with hard data? and what are the most commonly used algorithms, platforms and tools that data scientists, designers, and social entrepreneurs are using?


Kuja Kuja is one product that has made significant impact in Africa – the world’s first real-time customer feedback platform for refugee environments, I’d read about the development of this before and it’s a great example of how a successful platform co-designed and built for one particular organisation can become a tool help communities throughout the continent.

So one of my goals for this week is to…

Find as many examples of data science projects that have a significant level of co-design involved, whether that be for the social sector, for government, for research, the tech industry, or business; and try and identify the common tools, technologies, algorithms that underpin each one.

Why I love running RHoK


We’ve received a lot of RHoK love this year, but last weekend’s Melbourne and Sydney hacks was probably the most productive with respect to getting prototypes & solutions across the line, and the most satisfying in terms of how well the hackers and change makers connected with each other, and with their causes. It’s clear we’re doing something right ☺️

Now we get to relax for a couple of months (“and breath”… 🧘🏼‍♀️) before we prepare for the Winter Hackathon and find our next batch of amazing change makers. A massive congratulations to Eddie for a successful first hack as our new Melbourne Community Manager. Handovers are not always easy, unless of course your new Community Manager has been involved in RHoK before; as a change maker, a hacker, and steering committee member. We couldn’t have asked for a better person to step in.


Design your Death: A Portable R&D Demo Evening


It’s not often that you get to see what goes on behind the closed doors of a design consultancy. But Portable is no ordinary design consultancy. For a start they are based in Collingwood, which automatically gives them a gold star – my old neighbourhood was a just a hop, skip and a jump across Hoddle St.
Secondly, I’ve heard them say that in their early days they aspired to be a kind of Australian IDEO — and doesn’t everyone love IDEO.

I’ve been to a few of their breakfast and evening talks and they are always (a) fantastic, (b) completely packed – standing room only. I first heard about Portable through fellow RHoK buddy and adopted design mentor Zen Tim. He’s possibly the most chilled out and thoughtful person I know. The first time I visited Portable was back in May 2018. Jason Hendry (Partner & Creative Technologist) gave an excellent talk about how they are using a human-centred design approach to building machine learning tools. More recently I heard Joe Sciglitano (Design Lead) talk about empathy in design and what to do with it. Both talks have been brilliant, and since then I’ve been reading through all their design reports. You can check them out here.

We don’t just do design. We start conversations with like-minded and diverse groups of people, whether they have a shared interest in design, technology or inspiring social good. 
— Portable, Collingwood.
  At Death’s door

At Death’s door

Needless to say I knew that their R&D Demo Evening would likely be a pretty special event. I wasn’t disappointed.

I had a great time chatting to Portable and non-Portable folks about all things death and ageing and cancer. I also managed to pick a few Portable brains about tech for social good and the value of working at the intersection of data science and design research – thanks for indulging me Tam Ho.

We were invited to test out and provide feedback on the four prototypes they’ve been developing over the past year. It was a such a privilege to talk to their designers about their though processes, what they define as a success, and to hear more about their plans moving forward. Sarah Kaur (Partner & Chief Operations Officer) then launched their most recent report: The Future of Death & Ageing – 81 pages and 17MB of design goodness.

The highlight of the night was catching up with the lovely Martina Clark, founder of Carers Couch (@carerscouch) – I have no doubt her app will be an amazingly good resource for cancer carers. I also meet Sally Coldham, founder of Airloom (@AirloomSocial) and a She Starts alum, who is also doing amazing work in this space.

A fantastic night talking about all things data and design.

In case you missed it…

Empathy. Everyone's talking about it. But who's actually doing it? And what do you do with it once you've felt it? Our Human Centered Design specialist Joe takes us on a journey to discover the what, how and why of empathy, and how it's transformed his design practice. Hear all about how feeling stuff can help you win arguments, how to innovate by implementing the radical practice of listening to other people, and how an empathetic approach will not only help you understand your customers, but give you and your team the natural drive to solve some of the trickiest problems they face. With plenty of storytelling, animated GIFs and pop culture references along the way, you'll laugh, you'll cry, but that's kinda the point, ya feel me?

Worth watching this one too…

To initiate the re-boot of Portable Talks, we look at how a human centred design approach can be used to build AI and machine learning tools. Our Tech Lead and AI enthusiast Jason Hendry will cover the basic principles of machine learning and show you how anyone with a computer can begin the process of creating a basic machine learning model.

What can science learn from advertising? – Sara Camnasio


For your Friday afternoon coffee. An oldie but a goodie…

This talk was given at a local TEDx event in New York, produced independently of the TED Conferences. For a long time, science has been made out to be dense, complex, and inaccessible. Sara explains how we can fix science's bad rap, and how to make the field more exciting and engaging to young people - especially students like her.

Over the past couple of years I’ve had the opportunity to design and develop a couple of astronomy research websites, including the first iteration of OzGrav. This talk reminded me of two of my favourite “what a mess” research websites that can only be described as disasters from a design perspective…

 Theoretical Particle Physics Group – University of Melbourne

Theoretical Particle Physics Group – University of Melbourne

 ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics in 3D

ARC Centre of Excellence for All-Sky Astrophysics in 3D

About Sara Camnasio

I met Sara a couple of years ago at Astro Hack Week 2016, held at the Berkeley Institute for Data Science and GitHub HQ in downtown San Francisco. With a strong interest in science communication and multi-media, I remember her website being really impressive and full of creative side projects. It definitely made me think more carefully about how I could present my own independent projects and experiences as part of broader career portfolio. Over the past few years she’s managed to make the successful transition from astronomy research assistant/graduate student at the American Museum of Natural History to designer; creating engaging user experiences at Designit.

Oh, did I mention she’s also a 2017 National Geographic Young Explorer (wow!)…

RHoK Melbourne Changemaker 101


Last night we held our biannual Changemaker 101 session for our Melbourne cohort of Summer Hackathon change makers. W’re working with a really diverse group of social warriors this year, with projects focussed on improving medical services for LGBQTI patients, enabling better access to legal services, connecting volunteers within communities, and creating safe urban spaces using anecdotal sexual assault data

Software Development for Social Impact

As most change makers non-profits and social enterprises don’t typically have strong tech backgrounds, Changemaker 101 is a chance to introduce them to software development processes – specifically those that work well for RHoK, and to prepare them for what will undoubtably be an overwhelming experience.

The goal of the evening was to start unpacking the problems they’re facing within their organisation and to guide them though the process of preparing the problems statements which they will pitch at the upcoming RHoK Info Night. Our Melbourne Community Manager, Eddie Chapman (@acd_eddie) gave everyone a brief introduction to the history of RHoK Global and RHoK Australia. Roberto Pietrobon (@MrRobertoPietro) from Care to Compare, talked about his experience with RHoK as a  two-time changemaker, and I gave a brief introduction to agile methodologies; the benefit of adopting a Lean framework for software development; the concepts of rapid prototyping & measurement; how to communicate effectively with development teams; and how to craft a focussed and compelling problem statement.


Introducing the RHoK Australia – 2018 Summer Changemakers


The RHoK Australia – Melbourne Summer Hackathon is just over a month away and we have six fantastic organisations/social enterprises that we’ll be collaborating with. We also welcome DocDir, which is only at the very start of its social impact journey. DocDir aims to train GPs and other health professionals to have an integrated LBGTQI practice.

“We are looking for ‘Goldilocks’ problems; they need to be small enough so that they can be progressed over a weekend, but large enough to make a real difference.”
— Eddie Chapman, RHoK Community Manager

Kensington Neighbourhood House

Providing adult education, personal development, community building and childcare programs to their local community.



Providing free legal advice to Australians in need who can’t otherwise access it.


Moral Fairground

Creating awareness and raising the profile of ethical living and ethical business throughout the Australian community.


RPH Radio Reading Network

Supporting the Radio Reading network and the voice of print media in Australia, with a vision that print disability is not a barrier to participation.


She’s a Crowd

Ending gender-based violence by sharing stories to help decision-makers understand and address the issue.



Enriching the lives of people with a disability.


From Astrophysics to Data Science


Visualising the career paths of 200 astronomers turned data scientists.

The first in a series of blog posts that explore how and when astronomers transition into data science careers.


The Science to Data Science (S2DS) and Insight Data Science fellowships are 5–7 week intensive post-doctoral training fellowships that bridge the gap between academia and data science in industry. This interactive visualisation was created to get a better sense of what stage in their career astronomers move into data science.

  • How many PhD students forego postdoctoral research in favour of moving straight into data science?

  • How many professional astronomers are moving into data science?

  • At what stage of their career do they do this?

  • How may postdocs do they have on their CV before deciding to leave?

  • Are tenured astronomers moving into data science?

  • How many go through a data science fellowship programs?

  • How many do industry internships?

  • How many go back to complete a Masters in Data Science or other similarly formal data science education?

  • How many make the transition without a data science fellowship? Have any moved back and forth between academia and data science? </p>

  • Why do they move in data science?

The data: comes from the LinkedIn profiles of 116 astronomers who moved from astronomy to data science at some point in their career.

The visualisation: was created using the d3.js sunburst template, HTML, and CSS.