penny presentingPenny works as a Design Strategist and Co-design Coach assisting organisations to take a collaborative approach to the design of organisational process, strategy, products and services. Penny specialises in participatory and social change projects and provides training and mentoring to design teams and organisations wanting to achieve greater social impact through the adoption of participatory and co-design approaches.

Over the last 15 years Penny has facilitated a range of participatory and people-centred initiatives in Australia and New Zealand. She has worked with a range of government, community, commercial and academic clients including the Young and Well CRC, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence,, Cancer Institute of NSW, Amnesty International, Australian Federation of Aids Organisations (Australia),  Ministry of Health, Auckland District Health Board, Mid Central District Health Board, Counties Manukau Health, Ministry of Social Development and Auckland Council (New Zealand).

Starting out as a interactive designer Penny became interested in design research methods when designing weather interfaces for pilots at the MetService in Wellington in 2000. This triggered an ongoing interest in how people-focused design methods help us to design systems and services better and the methods and strategies we can use to involve people in the design of the products and services they use.  As Projects Director/Strategist at social design agency Digital Eskimo Penny helped to grow the company from 3 to 15+ staff, introducing the team and clients to co-design and participatory research methods. As UX Director at Digital Arts Network in Auckland Penny supported the team to develop and extend their user centred design practice introducing a range of collaborate design tools and processes.

In 2009 Penny began her own strategic design consultancy Smallfire, specialising in participatory design coaching and stakeholder engagement programs for community and not-for-profit organisations and  social change projects.

Penny completed her Phd on participation in design using social technologies in April 2011. Penny remains a Visiting Scholar at the University of Technology, Sydney. She has been a examiner and external mentor and supervisor to post graduate students and has contributed to undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum development at the Auckland University of Technology.  Penny is a regular presenter and publisher in academic and professional forums and over 2015-2017 has co-convened several symposiums into Social Innovation, Co-design in Aotearoa, Evaluation and Impact for Social Innovation and Co-design for Youth Wellbeing. She is currently Design and Research Lead at Lifehack, a member of the Advisory Board of DESIAP (Design for Social Innovation Asia Pacific) and has a continuing role as an Associate Advisor at Innovate Change.

A list of recent public engagements is listed below, for further bio info see Penny’s linkedin profile

Professional Engagements

2017 Project Team Member, Evaluation and Impact in Social Innovation Research Project, RMIT

2017 Speaker, Design research as social change, Design Research Conference, Sydney, Australia

2017 Invited Speaker, Rethinking Design and Evaluation for Impact, The Australian Institute for Family Studies

2016 Invited Speaker, UXNZ  The Evolution of Co-design in Aotearoa, Wellington, NZ

2016 Panelist and Surgery Facilitator Design for Social Innovation Symposium, Wellington

2016 Guest Lecturer Introduction to Design for Social Innovation – Auckland University of Technology

2015 Co-design Coach, Co-design Master Class – Auckland Co-design Lab

2015 Co-Designer & Facilitator of Tahatū Rangi Symposium, a 2 day event to inspire, engage and active the Mental Health and Addiction Sector in Aotearoa NZ, Dec 2015

2015 Panelist, Design for Good, Seafarers Design Series, October 2015

2015 Keynote Speaker & Workshop Facilitator, Career Development of New Zealand National Conference, Nov, 2015

2015 Guest Speaker, Design 4 Social Innovation Conference, Oct, Perth 2015

2015 Co-organiser, Design for Social Innovation Symposium July 2015

2014 Master Class: Building Organisational Co-design Capability, Design 4 Socialinnovation Conference Sydney, 2014

2014 Invited Speaker, Unfurl the Frame, Library Managers Symposium, Canberra, 2014

2013 Workshop Presenter, Co-design Techniques, UXNZ Full Day Workshops, Wellington

2013 Presenter: Integrating UX and Evidence-based Design Approaches. UXNZ,Wellington

2013 Presenter: Co-design, what, why, with whom and how. UXAustralia, Melbourne

2013 Keynote Speaker, Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa Conference, 2013

2013 Invited Workshop – Design Practice for Social Innovation: SOCANZ Innovation Auckland Conference

2013 Co-Organiser Global Service Design Jam (Auckland)

2013 Jury IxD13 Student Challenge

2012 Invited Speaker – AKL Geek Girls Dinner

2012 Program Committee Member Innovation through Social Media Workshop, Oslo

2012 Keynote Speaker – NZ Gather, Auckland

2012 Presenter – Service Design Conference, Melbourne

2012 Co-Organiser/Facilitator – Global Service Design Jam, Hamilton

2011 Judge – Ozchi24 Design Challenge, Ozchi, Australia

2011 Mentor – Mozilla Open Design Project, Ashesi University College, Ghana

2011 Guest Speaker – Design Thinking Drinks at Digital Eskimo, Sydney

2011 Guest Speaker and Panelist 2020 Library Summit – The Future of Academic Libraries, UTS, Sydney

2011 Invited Workshop: Codesign Methods – DAB Masters Programme, UTS, Sydney

2010 Co-Chair Industry Day – Participatory Design Conference, Sydney

2010 Examiner – Interactive Media and Learning Masters Assessment Panel – UTS, Sydney

2010 Guest Lecture: User Centred Design – DAB, UTS, Sydney

2010 Judge: Australian WebAwards 2010

2009 Panelist Ozchi: Designing Effective Systems: Contributions from Human Factors and Human-Computer Interaction, Melbourne

2009 Judge: User Experience/Usability – McFarlane Prize

2009 Guest Speaker – Universal Favourite Design talks: Connecting brands, services & participation, Sydney

2009 Guest Lecturer – Designing Future Strategies Public Lecture Series, UTS – Design and Use: Tools and Trends in design

2009 Presenter UX Australia – Emerging a User Experience Strategy: People, pencils and post-its

2009 Participant/Presenter – Jeanette Blomberg Service Design Course, UTS

2009 Guest Lecturer – DAB Design Research Course: Personas and Scenarios

2008 Keynote Speaker Making Links – Reaching out or Moving Closer: connecting with your networked community

2008 Invited Panelist, Beyond the Hype: Sustainability & HCI. CHI2008

Reviewer – OZCHI, CHI, CCS, PDC, CT&T, DIS, Foundations and Trends in
Human-Computer Interaction Journal, UxAustralia, UXNZ, PINC, ISM Workshop.


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