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Where are the women?

Women in Design Event – May 2017

Speakers at this year’s Women in Design event from left to right: Cathy Lockhardt (UTS), Sabina Popin (Meld Studios), Tanya Rechberger (King Living), Jemima Woo (NSW State Library / Woo ceramics) and Sarah Gibson (DesignByThem)

Dorte attended this year’s Women in Design event presented by the University of Technology (UTS) in conjunction with the NSW Design Institute of Australia and hosted by DesignByThem in their Chippendale showroom. This annual event provides a relaxed opportunity for women with foundations in industrial design to celebrate and share their career journey, experiences and insights into the contemporary practice of industrial design.

This year’s speakers were Cathy Lockhardt (UTS), Sarah Gibson (DesignByThem), Sabina Popin (Meld Studios), Tanya Rechberger (King Living) and Jemima Woo (State Library of NSW / Woo Ceramics). The women shared a variety of perspectives and experiences spanning service design, furniture design, exhibition design and design education. While the sectors in which they practiced may have differed, the take home messages were all very similar. Here are a few of our favourites:

  • You often learn more from your failures than your successes and sometimes what feels like failure (missing out on a job or getting fired) opens the door to bigger and better things.
  • Embrace every opportunity, try new things and experiment with design until you find where your natural interests and skills find the best fit.
  • Make things! Designers are creative people and we need to stay true to ourselves and keep the passion alive. So do what inspires you – paint, sculpt, sew…
  • Persevere – realising creativity is mostly about perseverance!
  • To get the best design outcomes we need to connect with others (colleagues, users, dissenters), collaborate and share ideas and information.
  • And finally, remember to say thank-you to your supporters (financial, press, private) and manufacturing partners. A little recognition goes a long way!

The evening certainly reaffirmed what a diverse discipline industrial design is and what amazing projects we have the opportunity to be part of. We look forward to further connecting with, collaborating and sharing experiences with our design colleagues.

Design as Strategy Forum 2016

Design as a catalyst for change – September 2016

Profession Ian Harper, Senior Advisor, Deloitte Access Economics, Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect and Forum Chair, Maureen Thurston, Good Design Australia at the Design as Strategy Forum 2016

Profession Ian Harper, Senior Advisor, Deloitte Access Economics, Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect and Forum Chair, Maureen Thurston, Good Design Australia at the Design as Strategy Forum 2016

Dorte attended the Design as Strategy Forum 2016 run by Good Design Australia. The event was held at the UTS Business School in the inspirational Frank Gehry designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building. The Forum brought together representatives from a broad range of industry sectors including marketing, law, accounting, financial services, insurance, education, government, and design to explore the nexus between commerce, creativity and culture and how design is being used as a catalyst for change.

The Forum presented a diverse and inspiring array of speakers talking about how they are using design thinking to affect change within their organisations. While there were many fantastic talks, two stood out. Ali Grehan, Dublin City Architect, spoke about the power of design to unite people around a common theme of place through storytelling, creativity and optimism. Ali reminded us that “vision costs nothing” and that design must “dare to be different” to truly inspire people and ultimately to succeed.

Wing Commander Jerome Reid and Dr Sam Bucolo, Professor of Design Innovation at UTS, spoke about how the Royal Australian Air Force is using design thinking to re-design their procurement process to better respond to an increasingly unpredictable and complex environment. At the core of their process was involving all stakeholders in open conversations up front to share real insights from customers about challenges and issues with existing equipment. Using the core design principles of empathy and placing the user at the centre of the process, they have a developed a clear vision of what is required and where they are headed longer term. As a result, they have drastically reduced lead times, minimised the likelihood of early obsolescence and are in the process of understanding implications for their future workforce capability.

The forum clearly demonstrated that the principles of design thinking are being successfully applied across public and private sectors to drive change and improve business outcomes. When applied strategically, design can reap great rewards – it can co-create visions that inspire and unite people, it can help drive innovation and productivity, and it can deliver significant time and cost savings.

In search of new inspiration…

Exploring Sydney – August 2016

Exploring Sydney: The Goods Line and Frank Gehry designed building; inside the Opera House; Dorte and Ian on the Goods Line.

Clockwise from left: The Goods Line and Frank Gehry designed UTS Business School; inside the Opera House; Dorte and Ian on the Goods Line.

The Scintilla Team recently took a day out to explore our beautiful city, recharge our creative juices and find inspiration in uncommon places. As design professionals we draw inspiration from many different disciplines and create links between seemingly disparate ideas. We believe it is essential for designers to regularly change their perspectives and to have a little fun along the way!

Our explorations included a tour of the Sydney Opera House where we viewed this remarkable building from fresh perspectives and marveled at the attention to detail across every facet of its design. We were surprised to learn that the design we see today was not originally included in the short list of finalists. It took the vision and understanding of a designer, Aero Saarinen, a latecomer to the judging panel, to convince the panel of the value, beauty and grandeur of the design. Thank you Mr Saarinen for your vision, for who could imagine Sydney without the Opera House?

We wandered along the new Goods Line, an urban revitalisation and place making initiative linking Central Station to Darling Harbour. The route led us past the inspirational Frank Gehry designed Dr Chau Chak Wing Building of the UTS Business School. The Goods Line is an example of how user-centric design thinking has transformed a disused rail yard into a vibrant and dynamic public space.

Our day’s wanderings proved to be not only inspiring, but also a powerful reminder of the importance of having a vision and putting the user at the centre of design in order to deliver exceptional design outcomes.

Tutoring Research Methods and UX Design at UTS

Tutoring at UTSJune 2016

June saw the end of the first semester studies for 2016 at the University of Technology where Ian and Dorte have been busy tutoring. We have really enjoyed working with and mentoring the industrial design students as they tackled real world design briefs and presented their ideas to industry clients. We wish the students all the best for their continuing studies and we look forward to working with them in the future, either as mentors throughout their studies or as colleagues in the design industry.

Scintilla delivers Strategic Design lecture at UTS

Scintilla delivers Strategic Design lecture at UTS May 2016

During May Scintilla was asked to deliver a lecture to Integrated Product Design students at the University of Technology Sydney on the topic of Strategic Design.

Presented to second year students the lecture provided an introduction to the overarching concept that design is not just about product but may be used in a more strategic way. Using design strategically can extract greater value and therefore attend to the needs and experiences of all stakeholders and in particular the end user.

During the lecture Scintilla described the changing nature of the world and in particular how problems have become more complex and multi-disciplinary and how designers are in a key position to act as synthesisers. Scintilla introduced the concept that design has the capability to lead as it is transformative – designers have the skills to synthesis information, they look at problems from multiple perspectives, they have the ability to understand multiple disciplines and they are comfortable with working with the unknown.

Scintilla then introduced the concept of strategy and how strategy may be developed across an organisation in order to create value. The concept of applying design at a business (strategic) level, a process level and product level and showing how these levels interact in order to achieve an organisation that delivers a consistent message and experience for internal and external stakeholders.

A number of case studies in the areas of business strategy, process and product, based on the work of Scintilla, were discussed in order to highlight the application of theory and practice.

Scintilla believes that design today is much more than just delivering a product and that the designers of tomorrow have many more opportunities than just product design.

Doing things differently

Doing things differentlyMarch 2016

Dorte was one of 19 female graduates interviewed by Cathy Lockhart, lecturer in Design at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), as part of her PhD thesis: Where are the women? Women industrial designers from university to workplace. Cathy was recently interviewed by the International Council of Societies in Industrial design (ICSID) about her PhD research findings. Cathy found that while women designers were not achieving the public recognition of their male counterparts through formal design award programs, they were still out there practicing design.

"Millennials are having to be more entrepreneurial, and the women are designing, but they're actually doing it for themselves. So they might work for someone else for a couple of years and then they're setting up their own businesses. They're doing things differently, and it's just not in that peer-reviewed environment. It doesn't get that public recognition in the same way, and doesn't necessarily have the backing of a design awards, and the media coverage that goes with it," Cathy explains.

As part of her research into women industrial designers, Cathy also curated an exhibition in 2014 entitled “Where are the Women?”. Dorte was invited to participate in the exhibition and a sample of Dorte’s work is included in the article. To read the full article, visit: 

Helping new designers grow

Helping new designers growMarch 2016

Having been involved in the design industry for many years, we believe in giving back to our industry to help nurture better designers for the future. Both Ian and Dorte have been invited by UTS to tutor and mentor students in the areas of Research Methods in Integrated Product Design and User-Centered Design. We will be guiding students through real world projects and showing them how to apply design research and user-centered design principles to develop appropriate designed solutions and outcomes. We look forward to working with the students throughout the coming semester.

Dorte is speaking at “Women in Design”

Dorte is speaking at "Women in Design"September 2015

Dorte will be speaking at "Women in Design" presented by the University of Technology Sydney in conjunction with the Design Institute of Australia on Thursday 10 September at 6pm. This is the first open conversation with women from industrial design, UTS alumni in Sydney 2015. The event recognises and celebrates the growing number of women who practice across a range of disciplines with foundations in industrial design. Please come along! For more information and to book tickets, visit:

UTS first semester down – one to go!

UTS first semester down – one to go! June 2015 – Ian’s final year industrial design students have just submitted their dissertations. The first semester was research based and required students to select and research a topic area in depth where the ultimate aim is to identify potential market needs. The final semester will see students translate this research into real world solutions. Ian says: “I was very impressed by the calibre of work presented by these students. It was very professional and I would certainly encourage people to attend the final year exhibition. Stay tuned!” Ian looks forward to taking his students through to develop their ideas into real world solutions next semester.

Designer speed dating at UTS

Designer speed dating at UTS April 2015 – Dorte recently participated in “designer speed dating” at the University of Technology Sydney where she spoke about Scintilla Design to first year industrial design students. The session involved a dozen professional practising designers in different areas of design speaking with first year students in small groups. The aim was to convey the variety of design experiences and possible career paths open to graduates of industrial design.