Now you can intern at TACSI!

Just a quick update, after our stunning appearance at TACSI (check out Ella and my blog post here), the Radical Redesign team have decided they love interns and want a more permanent one. It is a great opportunity, click here to check it out! The position in a very small nutshell:

  • 8-10 weeks at the TACSI office, Adelaide
  • Design background required, including visual communications skills
  • You must be a team player and a people person
  • You will be working on the ‘Weavers‘ project, in the aged care field
  • TACSI can assist with relocation within Australia, accommodation and provide a stipend
  • Starting ASAP!

Apply using this form. Hop to it!

Two days at TACSI

The daily standup meeting, answering the questions 1. What did you do yesterday? 2. What will you do today? 3. What obstacles can you anticipate?

A few weeks ago fellow ID student Ella Sayers and I headed off to Adelaide to get a peek behind the doors of TACSI’s new residence. For two days from 9am-7pm we discovered the ins and outs of the Weavers project, a Radical Redesign initiative in the aged care field that looks to activate the family and friends of carers as support networks. The role of the ‘Weaver’ is to provide support in times of crisis and give carers techniques and tools to manage the caring role in the long term and help the aged to live their lives to the full. There was a whole new language to learn, including ‘Weavers’ and ‘Knowers’ and ‘Networks’. We sat in on meetings and eavesdropped on phone calls; the staff in the Radical Redesign very generously answered all our questions and getting us up to speed. After a day at TACSI we had a bit of a grasp on the concept and began pitching in.

Testing out the logos, fonts and countless images at our disposal.

Ella and I were working on a booklet to assist the staff when recruiting Weavers and explaining the Weaver concept. The Radical Redesign team leant us plenty of material to get us on our way, including a laptop (thank you DP!). We came up with a small brochure with picture stories to help describe the kind of things Weavers can get up to.

The ‘Community Corner’ with our additions of streamers and bunting.

TACSI understands the importance of play to innovation. There are jars of rainbow coloured pens, crepe paper and white boards a plenty. A sense of humour is welcome and wacky ideas are encouraged. This results in a workplace where all staff feel comfortable around each other, happy to say what they really think and throw ideas out there. One aspect of this sense of fun and family is the ‘Community Corner’ as commissioned by Jenna. With each staff member given a letter of the title to create, Ella and I were given the task of adding to the corner. We decided that hot pink streamers and bunting always make things better.

From left to right, Chris, Ella, myself and Sarah having a very serious discussion about the previous two days. Melbourne designer black was the go-to professional clothing option, the plan backfiring and standing out the studio’s colourful space.

At the end of our two day immersion, Ella and I sat down with the team to share our impressions of the studio and theirs of us. Our comments included the following:

  • TACSI has a friendly, open environment. The staff respect and take care of each other, at the same time understanding that failure is important on the path to a project that is a successful, long term solution.
  • It is a multi-disciplinary team, and it works. Social science, industrial design, business, visual communications and technology specialists all work together and teach each other new things everyday. The mix allows the team to cover more ground and have a
  • Organisation is key; the stand up meetings and shared digital and hard copy documents help everyone to work toward the same goals.

The staff were pretty interested to hear our impressions as newcomers to the project. And I think they got something out of it too. They are interested in having more interaction with universities and wanted to know if more students were getting into the area of social innovation. Good news all round!

The two day visit was an intense, illuminating and valuable experience. Both Ella and I took a whole day to come down from the ‘TACSI high’ as we described it. We can’t wait to see what they get up to next, and hopefully we’ll be back there in person soon!

Update: Check out our official blog report over at the TACSI blog! We made the front page of the website too, not bad. And apply for a longer internship, here.

TACSI

The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) exists to identify and support the innovative ideas, methods and people that will contribute to and accelerate positive social change.  To turn bold ideas into better lives.

We are a social innovation laboratory which creates, tests and incubates ideas, methods and projects for addressing unmet social needs and helping more people lead thriving lives. We are also committed to finding, creating and sharing better methods for innovation in the social sphere.’

One of my favourite TACSI initiatives, is ‘Solved‘, a website that allows the sharing of solutions to social problems. You can participate by uploading a great solution you’ve seen in action, or have undertaken yourself, and you can search the solutions others have put up and see if they apply to your area. I think this collective learning is the best way that social sustainability will not only gain publicity, awareness and acknowledgement, but also for it to grow exponentially in intelligence.

A few Melbourne examples that have been posted:

An app that allows you to photograph problems in your neighbourhood and send them straight to your council.

A site that aims to support men going through hard times, focussing on suicide prevention.

An organisation that takes over restaurants on Monday nights when they are usually closed and trains marginalised youth in hospitality.

Design and social enterprise in Melbourne

 Again a perfect blend of design (fashion in this case) with social sustainability and business, but closer to home, we have The Social Studio, an old favourite of mine.

I undertook a project with these guys back in 2010 that, again, I won’t stop talking about. That is these bike market stalls. Industrial Design working with social enterprise. This raises the question- Is it enough to design for a social enterprise, or do we need to somehow make the design process socially sustainable too? Would the ultimate idea be training refugees and migrants to build the bikes too?

‘We are a social enterprise tackling social exclusion through exciting, neighbourhood improvement projects. CoDesign works with communities, governments and service providers. Together we create new types of public spaces that transform neighbourhoods into thriving sustainable places to live and work.’

CoDesign Studio was started by Lucinda Hartley, a landscape architecture grad. She’s in her late twenties, so no need to ‘wait till monday’ to start something!

‘The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) exists to identify and support the innovative ideas, methods and people that will contribute to and accelerate positive social change.  To turn bold ideas into better lives.’ More on this later.