Building a community of interest & practice in Service Design.

Subscribe to monthly emails with details on our upcoming events and curated articles about Service Design:


Join our Slack group to connect with community members and start discussions. Email for an invitation.

In the lead up to SDNOW4 we’re collaborating on a series of monthly events with the conference team – going back to past venues to give emerging speakers and organisations a place to share their stories.

The format is: six short talks, 20 minutes each, open to the public.

The September edition will be held at the RMIT Design Hub, with the following lineup

This will be followed by discussion and drinks at The Lincoln, 91 Cardigan Street, Carlton.


Send the conference team an email at, they’re happy to chat about anything that’s on your mind. They’ve also covered a number of regularly asked questions on their website.

SDNOW is an Asia-Pacific conference about design, strategy, ethics, and futures, hosted in 2019 by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia.

Together we’re pushing the boundaries of Service Design, Strategic Design, Speculative Design, and other emerging practices – with speakers, facilitators, and artists bringing subversive thinking, new paradigms, and critical approaches that define how these practices grow.


The program is made up of speakers, facilitators, and artists who are responding to the shifts, problem spaces, and discourses playing out across our communities – themes they’ve brought together as: Ethical Practice, Capable Business, Designing Designers, Subversive Design, and Future Places.

There are conference talks, break-out sessions, exhibitions, performances, and social events throughout the conference week, with space to pop in and out of the parts which are useful to you.

Speakers, facilitators, and artists include:


The 2019 conference is being hosted by RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia. A leading global design university, RMIT is located in the Melbourne CBD and is easily accessible by public transport, bike, or walking.

Most sessions will be in Storey Hall, a 460-seat conference space with accessible entries, lifts, bathrooms, and clear viewing spaces for all attendees.

For more on accommodation, transport, and visiting Melbourne, take a look at their location details.


They’re purpose and experience-led, because these are mutually uplifting things, with practices that respond (in small ways) to societal challenges around systemic inequity and the age of the Anthropocene.


Send the conference team an email at, they’re happy to chat about anything that’s on your mind. They’ve also covered a number of regularly asked questions on their website.

Aug 2019 Facilitating meaningful conversations

From interviews to workshops…having conversations to build understanding is part of the design process.

Designers are required to facilitate conversations in order to create buy-in, promote participation and ensure diverse voices are heard when crafting solutions. We will discuss the best way to facilitate meaningful conversations by sharing diverse experiences of doing so.


Steph Mellor Human-centred design: coach, consultant, speaker, facilitator.

Erin Tan Customer experience: service design, ethnographic research.

Jon Osborne Leadership by design: speaker, mentor, coach.

Panel moderator:

Georgina Lewis Service design: qualitative research, co-design.

June 2019 at ThinkPlace

Our most pressing social and environmental issues are serious business and complex to navigate. How might we use the power of ridiculous fun to enable new ways of thinking, explore the unexpected, and reflect on their everyday world with new eyes? 

In this month’s Service Design Melbourne – Third Thursday – hosted by ThinkPlace, we will explore how “fun” can be introduced to help participants embrace the messiness of design thinking and navigate the design squiggle by using joy and playfulness as a vehicle.

Join us in playing some of ThinkPlace’s favourite bespoke games, including Cards Against Neutrality, ThinkCards and Democracy 100. We’ll also reflect on gamification approaches and some recent projects where ThinkPlace have developed games to involve diverse stakeholder groups in the design process.

Service Design Network Melbourne Q&A at RMIT
28 July 2011

You can watch the video of the audience-led discussion on service design. 
The panelists are all knowledgeable people in the field with different backgrounds and perspectives:
• Cameron Tonkinwise (Associate Dean, Sustainability, Parsons The New School of Design, New York).
• Dianne Moy (Program Manager, The Watershed, Sydney and Co-founder of Service Design Melbourne).
• Michelle Gilmore (Co-founder and Director, Neoteny Service Design).
• Melis Senova (Co-founder and Director, Huddle design).
• Brad Krauskopf (co-Founder and Executive Director, Hub Melbourne).
• Michael Trudgeon (Deputy Director, Victorian Eco-innovation Lab and Design Director, Crowd Productions).
• Yoko Akama (RMIT) – host and facilitator.

One of the most popular questions we get asked at Service Design Melbourne is “How do I get into Service Design”. In March 2019 Third Thursday three people who have recently moved into service design will share their stories of how they got their first jobs in service design, and answer your questions. If you’re trying to get your first SD job, of if you’d like to know what practical tips you could do to help the next generation of service designers get started, you’ll enjoy this panel discussion.


• Kylie Blake, formerly working in change management, now working as a Journey Expert at ANZ

• Jas Bawa, trained in engineering, now working as a Designer at HCL with ANZ

• Siray Li, formerly a business analyst, now working as a Service Designer at RXP Services


• Mickey Rummery and Georgi Lewis

Hosted by RXP. After the panel discussion we’ll head to a local venue for drinks and catching up.

SDNOW is a two-day conference about Service Design, strategy, ethics, and leadership.

Day One: Conference Talks @ Fed Square

Day One will be a series of talks and panels by a diverse group of practitioners (global and local) from across: industry, academia, consultancies, and startups.
There’ll also be a good amount of time set aside for connecting with peers, coffee, lunch, drinks, and catching up with friends old and new.
We’ll be based in Deakin Edge for the day, a light filled theatre in the middle of Fed Square.

Speakers include:
• Sarah Drummond (UK) – Co-founder & Managing Director, Snook
• Leisa Reichelt – Head of Research and Insights, Atlassian
• Seb Chan – Chief Experience Officer, ACMI
• John Ravitch (USA) – Founding Partner, IDEO San Francisco
• Safa Almarhoun – Practice Manager, CQ/Today
• Louise Long – Service Design Director, Today
• Yoko Akama – Associate Professor, RMIT University
• Ash Alluri – Principal Social Innovator, TASCI
• Sasha Abram – Design Lead, First Australians Capital
• Penny Hagen (NZ) – Co-Design Lead, Auckland Co-Design Lab
• Caroline Sanz – Lead Strategic Designer, Isobar
• Donna Spencer – Lead Consultant, Readify
• Jo Szczepanska – Consumer Experience and Codesign Consultant, Dental Health Services Victoria

Day Two: Service Design Open House @ studios across Melbourne

Day Two will be our first Service Design Open House – with studios across Melbourne opening their doors and offering workshops with their practitioners. This is a chance to take a peek inside their spaces, get some insight into how they differentiate themselves, and learn something new from the people who work there day-to-day.
There will be a morning and an afternoon session, so everyone will get to visit two locations. Online registration for these sessions will be sent out to conference attendees the week before the conference. At the end of the day we’ll all come together at Starward to share our experiences (and celebrate the end of the year).
Participating studios include (with more being announced soon):
• Paper Giant
• Today
• Medibank
• Meld Studios
• Portable
• Isobar .


For any questions read our FAQs at or send us an email at

SDM Third Thursdays

HCD chats over cheese and wine #6: Transitions in theory and practice

This event brings together an impressive panel of people with dexterous practices in design, business, research, anthropology and philosophy to discuss transitions in theory and practice, using an emerging and somewhat contested movement of Transition Design as a fulcrum and catalyst.

“At its crudest, Transition Design aspires to rekindle the large-scale ambitions that surrounded the formalization of design in the first place, at the beginning of the 20th century. The crises that are symptomatic of the unsustainability of how our societies are currently organized demands radical and immediate structural change. We need to completely redesign not only how we resource our everyday lives but also the very values that motivate those ways of living… This is why the top compass point of the Transition Design model is visions. However, the total design project of modernism was part of the problem. Early designers on either side of the Atlantic had strong visions that they often managed to impose with procrustean force. Because these visions were universalist, the designers paid no attention to local specificity, whether cultural or bioregional. The resulting displacement cleared the way for the commodity flows of globalization.

Transition Design therefore tries to qualify its reinvocation of rapid, ambitious structural change. Transition Design asks that those visions motivating change be context-specific and modifiable to all that happens as change is implemented. To do this, designers need more sophisticated theories of change than to materialize the vision. They need to understand, at the level of practice expertise, what it means to try to enable structural change in complexes of living systems and sociotechnical systems.” (Tonkinwise 2019 in ‘Design’s (Dis)orders: Mediating Systems-Level Transition Design‘)


Dr Melisa Duque Hurtado (Digital Ethnography Research Centre, RMIT)
Dr Stefanie Di Russo (Principal Designer at NAB)
Dr Chris Marmo (Co-founder and Research Director, Papergiant)
Prof. Cameron Tonkinwise (UTS)

The event will be recorded as a podcast, adding to the series “HCD chats over cheese and wine“, led and facilitated by Yoko Akama for the Masters of Design Futures (RMIT), that navigates through some of the challenging dimensions of human-centred design.

RSVP necessary

Big innovation lives right on the edge of ridiculous ideas and when it comes to unlocking our creativity, play isn’t just for kids. We’re built to play and built through play. But unfortunately most workplaces view play as frivolous or distracting. It’s time we do something about this, and reclaim play as nourishing and necessary to foster more creativity and empathy in an ever changing world. To stay relevant in a future full robots, we need to be more human in order to thrive.

Service Design Melbourne will be hosting a facilitator from Project Play where they believe play has the power to transform the way we work. It supports organisations and professionals to cultivate a new culture of business through strategic play. Project Play transcends the work-play dualism to help build engaged, dynamic and creative workplaces.

You’ll learn. You’ll laugh. You’ll play.

To hear from the pro’s join Project Play on September 4 as IDEO and The National Institute for Play take the stage.

This is an acknowledgement of the traditional Aboriginal owners of country throughout Victoria. Sovereignty over their land has never been ceded. Full respect is paid to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and emerging.

July Design & Ethics will be on Equity-Centred Design Workshop, 30th July, 6-7.30pm, Monash Caulfield, led by Kate McEntee (assistant lecturer and researcher at Monash). This workshop aims to help designers consider equity as an important issue when designing with people, and recognise how we participate in systems of oppression. This might provoke discomfort for some.

This workshop aims to help designers consider equity as an important issue when designing with people by focusing on the following:
1 Personal scale: To look internally at the axes of your personal identity that put you in a position of power
2 Design practice: To better understand how your design practice plays a role in colonialism, power dynamics and the ongoing, global fight for equity

We are coming together to discuss and materialise our design practices through the lens of equity. We are not here to talk about how to help the ‘other’ (based on a judgement of need). We are here to talk about our own identities and the relative positions of power that derive from identity. We are here to examine how this affects our work and designed outputs, and question what does it mean to ‘co-create’, to ‘help’ and to make the world ‘better’.

There is a follow-up workshop that will not be covered in part I, focused on critical reflection of our design practices and understanding shifting from human-centred to ‘equity-centered’ tools/methods/attitudes that can be adopted in your design processes. More details will be announced on #designandethics Slack channel – so please stay tuned!

Please arrive early for a prompt start. Drinks and nibbles will be kindly supplied by WonderLab, Monash University. Places are small and limited, as always, so please RSVP!

How to get to Monash Caulfield:

Campus map pdf (look for building G):

Click to access 2-Caulfieldcolour.pdf

Jump to top