February 18, 2019

PG #27 – From human centred to community centred

In the last two years we've grown from a team of 6 to a team of 16, and around us has grown a wonderful community of researchers, designers, clients and community groups working their utmost to make positive change in the world (including you, dear newsletter reader!)

Lately I've been thinking a lot about that word, 'community'. If the last two years has taught me anything, it's that true, lasting, systemic change does not and cannot happen in isolation. 'Human-centred 'design is not enough. While it's certainly a step up from designer-centred design, it still doesn’t allow for a proper accounting of the impact – positive and negative – of design on the wider society and world.

What we need, as we face truly complex challenges (global decarbonisation anyone?), is a community-centred and community-enabling form of design – one that de-centres the human and takes into account the wider systems of influence and change. Human-centred decisions got us to where we are, and only community-centred decisions will get us out.

So that’s Paper Giant's vision for the next two years: bigger picture, strategic, values driven, community-centric, systems-change focused. Let's imagine and enable radically different futures, together.

 — Reuben

More from the Paper Giant team in this fortnight's newsletter.

February 5, 2019

PG #26 – Deciding where to draw the line

Illustration of the Sydney opera house covered in sale stickers

In this fortnight's edition of the newsletter we take a look at when it's useful to draw lines between things, and when it isn't.

Happy drawing.

— the PG team

January 22, 2019

PG #25 – We’re in this together

Illustration of a puzzle being put together

Check out the latest edition of our newsletter.

Happy 2019 from all of us here at Paper Giant. We're in this together. 

— the PG team

December 18, 2018

PG #24 – Balancing the analytical with the intuitive

Stylised Paper Giant team and office illustration. Five stacked levels featuring Paper Giant staff completing different tasks.

Check out the last edition of our newsletter for 2018!

Wishing you a wonderful new year full of wonder and collaboration.

– the PG team

December 4, 2018

PG #23 – Closing the gap between intention and execution

Sitting man having a conversation with a man standing next to him.

Check out the latest edition of our newsletter.

From today, we're ditching the newsletter theme to start sharing the diverse things what we are are reading and thinking about at the moment.

We hope you enjoy!

– the PG team

November 20, 2018

PG #22 – What makes good research?

Man and woman sitting down having a discussion.

It's all about planning, participation and time.

Read all about the important ingredients of good research in the latest edition of our newsletter.

– the PG team

November 6, 2018

PG #21 – Is ‘human-centred design’ complicit in making dodgy products more palatable?

'Innovation' without ethics

Here in Australia, we've been witness to a series of shocking revelations in the finance industry through a Royal Commission into the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industries.

The interim report of the commission makes for damning reading, but the executive summary sums it up pretty neatly. When answering the question, "Why do these industries behave the way they do?" (i.e. very poorly), it states that:

"the answer seems to be greed – the pursuit of short term profit at the expense of basic standards of honesty."

The community backlash has been huge, with all major banks in Australia last week reporting shrinking profits and downgrading their financial forecasts. Ethics – or the lack of – are affecting the bottom line. 

Too often, 'innovation' in the finance industry has been the realm of financial technicians and techno-fetishists; either through intentionally obscure, higher-order financial 'products', or 'solution without a problem' experiments such as the blockchain. 

The role of human-centred design in these organisations has traditionally been to help deliver a palatable experience around these innovations – using the tools and techniques of digital and service design to remove pain points and improve the user experience. 

What the Royal Commission shows, though, is that 'innovation' in these organisations has been co-opted towards short-term profit. Despite being 'human-centred', design has been complicit in making poor advice, fee for no service products, and unaffordable loans inappropriately accessible to our communities. 

So what should design do?

We think the next wave of innovation in the finance industry must be around product and service design ethics, making sure that digital services are meeting real community needs, and transforming the industry itself to be more closely connected to its customers.

Design is good at building usable experiences, and at making the complex understandable. It now needs to start thinking of innovation within financial organisations as a systems problem, to look at the ways product and service innovations happen, and to better design that process. 

Design, broadly thought of here as systems and organisation design, can help build checks and balances throughout the innovation process to ensure that financial organisations aren't just 'human-centred', but ethical. 

— the PG team

Read more in this edition of the Paper Giant newsletter.

October 23, 2018

PG #20 – Looking for solutions on energy policy

Illustration of a 'Vote for our future' ballot box

If politicians adopted a systems-thinking approach, would Australia's energy policy still be a mess? Find out our take on this in this fortnight's newsletter.

— the PG team

October 9, 2018

PG #19 – Ageing is not a problem to be solved, it is a stage of life

Photo of an elderly man

This fortnight's newsletter is curated by Matiu Bush, Design Integration Lead at Bolton Clark who uses human-centred design to transform the aged care sector. 

Here's to more listening and less guessing,

– the PG team

September 25, 2018

PG #18 – Every act of communication is an act of translation

Birds eye view of three people with flippers on, swimming in the ocean.

In this fortnight's edition of the newsletter we explore the skill of translation in all its forms.

Listening intently,

– the PG team


If you're interested in working with us, just get in touch.

Email: hello@papergiant.net
Call: +61 (03) 9112 0514


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Paper Giant acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the lands on which our office is located, and the traditional owners of country on which we meet and work throughout Australia. We recognise that sovereignty over the land has never been ceded, and pay our respects to Elders past, present and emerging.