Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Design Network a Move in the Right Direction

By Catherine Livingstone

Design thinking can help Australia change its approach to innovation.

Catherine Livingstone AO FTSE is Chair of Telstra Corporation Ltd, a director of Macquarie Group Limited, WorleyParsons Limited, The George Institute for Global Health, and Saluda Medical Pty Ltd. She is also a member of the NSW Innovation and Productivity Council and President of the Australian Museum Trust. She was Chair of CSIRO (2001–06), President of Chief Executive Women (2007-2008), and the Chair of The Australian Business Foundation (2002-2005). Catherine also served on the Boards of Goodman Fielder Ltd and Rural Press Ltd.

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.

Australia needs to get very practical and very real about the way it shapes its future to be competitive. The establishment of an Australian Design Integration Network looks to be a step in the right direction.

Australians should have great expectations about the future, but we need to face the fact that our great expectations should not be about entitlements received, but rather potential achieved.

To achieve our potential as a nation we (including government) have to be smart, creative and nimble in securing a competitive advantage. Traditionally this leads to a call to be innovative, but innovation is one of the most overused and least understood words in the national lexicon.

Calls for innovation are like calls to be healthy. There is violent agreement, much virtuous intent but no clear path to action. We need to change our approach.

We need to deconstruct “innovation”, recognising that, at its heart, innovation is about finding creative solutions to problems.

Design thinking is the process underpinning innovation. Through its discipline of upfront probing, it ensures that the problem to be solved has been correctly identified from the user perspective, and then applies systems thinking to find a solution.

Patterns of innovation are culturally dependant, so it’s helpful to explore innovation in the context of the Australian...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.