Effective Communication

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.

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.