#BeyondCOVID Town Hall - AUS 03
Updated: Jul 24
#BeyondCOVID is the new mindset we have all had to adopt… how do we operate in this new changed state? I've gathered together some amazing Design Executives to share what they are doing now and in the coming months to survive and thrive in these difficult times.
Marc Alexander - Co-Founder at Raine Scooters
Amber Bonney - Founder and Head of Strategy at The Edison Agency
Celso Borges - Head of Experience Design at Tigerspike
Jamie Durie OAM - President Durie Design Inc
Hassan el Rayes - State Sales Manager at Schiavello Systems
Rod Farmer - Leader of McKinsey Design (APAC)
Julie Ockerby - Creative Director & Principal | CEO at Meli Studio Australia
Out of all of this, there's no one real recipe that's working in better than others, it's sort of reflective of the industry - Rod Farmer
Through this whole COVID experience we’ve become closer as families, we've become closer as working groups - Jamie Durie
From a design perspective it's the shapes and the materials and the connection to things that make us feel warm and nurtured inside that are working best - Jamie Durie
There is a massive social responsibility around all of their spending decisions now and I think there’s a much more ethical bone to their habits than what was before. I think COVID has given us all a bit of a kick up the bum, and we've all looked at our careers in a whole new way. And we've looked at our fellow peers and our community with much more value. - Jamie Durie
As part of COVID, 65% of consumers globally were switching to different brands when they couldn't get convenience of what they needed. And out of that, 30% would stick with the new brand - Rod Farmer
For centuries branding has been a way to communicate stories and certainly to associate values and behaviours - Amber Bonney
At the moment is there's a lot of criticism of people using this opportunity to exploit communities by flogging their values and purpose in a way that is opportunistic, as opposed to a way that is actually adding value to the customer - Amber Bonney
It's a bit of a greenwash in everyone saying we're all in this together. We're not all this together. And there's a lot of people, especially marginalised people and communities and businesses that are not doing so well - Amber Bonney
When we talk about being driven by design, it's actually about, are you doing things for people or are you doing them at them? - Mark Bergin
It's really important that as experts we can get down to really simple language so people know where the toggle is - Mark Bergin
We're heading towards a desk-less workforce. During COVID period we have all experienced work from home, post-COVID period it'll be working away from the office - Hassan el Rayes
We don't need line of sight to have productivity - Hassan el Rayes
Trauma changes the way that people react, the way that people engage with simple activity, simple utility - Celso Borges
Not everyone feels like they're ready to grow or change, people are still in survival mode - Amber Bonney
Just because as a business you're ready to grow and move and power forward, it doesn't mean that the rest of the team feels that way as well - Amber Bonney
During COVID there was all this pressure on social media to read a book, do an online course, to write, to do the gardening, do all these things, but sometimes people just didn't feel like doing that, because we are people who have experienced the trauma differently - Amber Bonney
When we're engaging with clients we're all talking about trauma-informed and crisis-informed principles to design better humanised service and products and that's outward facing. But now what about inwards? - Celso Borges
Trauma and aged care have always come hand in hand. And the last two years have had the Royal Aged Care Commission, which has highlighted a lot of that - Julie Ockerby
Aged care really needs to diversify in how it delivers its model and its care model. And that alleviates trauma, full stop - Julie Ockerby
Mark Bergin [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome to another #BeyondCOVID Town Hall from the Design Exec Club. This is the third of the Australian Town Halls, and I think it's the ninth in our series. I’m Mark Bergin, the founder of the DRIVENxDESIGN Award Programs and joining me is a panel of executive designers who I'm just humbled to be with.
Today we're going to focus on how- well, we've been through react, we're now heading into rebound and the next step for many people is going to be re-imagining. I want to go have a conversation with our experts here about what they're seeing from a rebound perspective. I'm particularly going to ask Jamie Durie, because I know that he and his company went and put up a new digital store that was meant to go and help them as they were going through react, which created new channels to them. And we're going to dig in and we're going to talk to Marc Alexander about a new project that he's got there, which is the Raine Electric Scooter and where that's up to, because I think just as COVID was hitting that they wound up expecting to go have deliveries out of Shenzhen, and Chinese New Year got extended, which meant that they probably shifted some of their delivery dates.
But before we get into that, I want to go to an expert for McKinsey here, Rod, let's have a conversation around design at scale, the idea of this rebound and re-imagining. Your expertise is how do enterprises go and actually bring design in and make it work systemically. What are some of the tips for people as far as doing that, because I'd imagine some of it's to do with feedback and how fast they realise they're doing the right thing or the wrong thing. What can you help us with?
Rod Farmer [00:01:31] Yeah, I'll be quick, we got a lot of people in little time, so I'll just try and frame it up. There's a couple of different approaches companies are taking as they sort of accelerate out of COVID, some more successful than others. Let me break them down. There's taking an engineering sort of mindset, which gets us into this agile org of how do we be more nimble? How do we be more responsive to customers? How do we break down the silos? How do we then build up these capabilities and common ways of working? And that's a very, very common, very successful way of building design within the enterprise, because it creates a common vocabulary as to how to work and it's very, very customer centric by my nature. There's another approach, which is being very human centric. So I'm working with a global farmer who's made their entire organisational transformation around patient experience. They're really anchoring upon why do we exist? Who we serving and therefore, how is everything that we do ladder up towards a person? You know, a human being and how do we make their lives better? There's cultural transformations, which take a lot longer to transform. I don't think they're being as effective during this sort of reopen re-imagine stage, but it will be very, very important for stabilising. I think what we tend to find with any transmission, particularly around design, the changing around the habits, the manifestoes, the language, the behaviour around culture and why we exist is what makes things stick, but it's not the first thing to see, it doesn't sort of make the needle move. And probably the last thing we're seeing is, you know, these transformations driven by the need to capture new market, move into adjacencies; what's happening with mid-market in Australia. How do we capitalise upon that? Lots of M&A activity. And that's where we're seeing business building driven by design. We're seeing all of these big business building activities and Australia being driven by design activities. What's the value proposition. How am I actually creating a customer-back new set of value? How are we then building this out with design at the start in terms of journey led approaches, building consistent frameworks, design systems, and design ops at the heart of everything that we do. That’s another big sort of vector. Out of all of this, there's no one real recipe that's working in better than others, it's sort of reflective of the industry. But what I would say is long term, my personal observation is by trying to scale design within an enterprise, when it's driven purely with an engineering mindset: “Hey, this is about consistency, this is about speed to market, this is about having a common vocabulary” is that you get a very engineering style outcome, but what you lose is the heart and soul of design, which is where we draw upon empathy. Who are we actually designing for? How is it actually benefiting their lives? So that engineering approach is very good for capturing value very quickly, taking cost out, but it's not great for actually re-anchoring an organisation around people, and some organisations doing better than others. But why don’t I stop, people have probably got other thoughts or questions around that.
Mark Bergin [00:04:45] Yeh and everybody, you know, this is full open mic session so at any time butt in with what you think. Now, Jamie, I'm going to ask you a question. Because with the work that you've done around the interior space and also exterior furniture, and the people that have had those programs that you've worked on, a understand their customers very well and they understand that they're trying to solve a human need that's there, but there's nuances that can change something either from its market position, or it can change it from whether it's solving all problems or some problems. There's immense depth in those companies and I imagine for a lot of people, the challenge is that they are trying to go do something really quickly and be responsive, but they’re probably well and truly on a tangent and haven't really understood it. What are you seeing there with the intelligence of your clients as far as trying to use that engineering mindset or actually get to the real depth of design?
Jamie Durie [00:05:42] From the furniture design point of view, I think there is this true return to handmade and something that's been touched by other humans and has had love and emotion put into these pieces, other than just the five-axis CNC, pumping out a CAD file from solid works. We're finding that a lot of the pieces that are resonating best with our partners both in Italy, in the US and here in Australia, the pieces that are most connected to the human body, the most ergonomic, that are feel good pieces that are also connected to nature and have something very natural and authentic about it. That word that you mentioned earlier on Rod I think it's so relevant right now: it’s about empathetic design. I think that's such a relevant word. I think through this whole COVID experience we’ve become closer as families, we've become closer as working groups. We have this undivided attention now through Zoom and Microsoft Teams and so forth, where we're actually putting a hundred percent of our attention into this call. Whereas, in the past I mean I'd go into boardrooms where we'd present design and so forth and half the room is on their laptops, you know, and nothing is more annoying or irritating. I think because we are building this closer-knit community strangely by being separated, there's this kind of call to nature because that gives us a sense of wellbeing. And then there's this call to other humans and things that they've touched, because that makes us feel better - in a way we're feeling touched and we're feeling connected. So, from a design perspective it's the shapes and the materials and the connection to things that make us feel warm and nurtured inside that are working best. And that doesn't just stop at hard pieces of furniture, there's also this huge return to nature. People are gardening now more than they ever have before. That’s where my career started 25 years ago and strangely, I'm now doing more of it than I've done for 10 years. You know, we didn't take on domestic jobs, so I haven't done that for 10, 12 years. We’re now taking on beautiful, big domestic jobs and people are investing more into the things that make them feel good, the things that nurture them and the things that nurture the environment. There is a massive social responsibility around all of their spending decisions now and I think there’s a much more ethical bone to their habits than what was before. I think COVID has given us all a bit of a kick up the bum, and we've all looked at our careers in a whole new way. And we've looked at our fellow peers and our community with much more value.
Mark Bergin [00:09:23] Thanks for that Jamie. Rod, I'm pretty sure that there was some McKinsey research that actually talks to how those behaviours are changing there. What can you share out of what you've recently pushed out?
Rod Farmer [00:09:39] Yeah, I'll try and be brief, but Jamie just hit the nail on the head, right?
Jamie Durie [00:09:45] Wow, thank you. That means a lot coming from you-
Rod Farmer [00:09:49] I should have just gotten you to do all the research. So, we did this in Australia and then we replicated in eight different countries around the world. And it's exactly what came in. Sorry, I'm just going to go mute this very briefly, wait no, the kids have gone through, well, that's life with COVID.
So here in a nutshell is what we found. Quickly some stats, and then exactly what you [Jamie] said. So, we found that as part of COVID, 65% of consumers globally were switching to different brands when they couldn't get convenience of what they needed. And out of that, 30% would stick with the new brand. The number one reason for switching was based on how they were performing and marketing during COVID. ‘They didn't know me’, ‘they treated me like a number’, and there was also things like supply chain. But then what came out as we deep dived into it is ‘what was the new behaviour?’. And the new behaviour that we found was people were leading with values. Once they had certainty that they could get a particular product, they were buying purposely based on their values. Very Gen Z, but across the spectrum, it was artisanal. It was ‘where's the provenance?’, ‘where's the the ecological makeup of the product?’, ‘how is this reflecting health and sustainability and my family?’. I mean, I've never seen it in CPG and retail work in Australia for a long time, but globally we saw a massive trend to people saying I really want things that now reflect who I am as an individual, more than basic convenience and consumerism. So, Jamie just nailed it.
Mark Bergin [00:11:25] So, what I want to focus on there is that we've got some more consideration time. You know, whenever you get a time to reflect, you'll come back to what are your values? What's your purpose? And therefore, we're seeing people who have had some more consideration time, some of the clutter has gone out of their life and they’re getting into the things which are genuinely them, and that are going to resonate with them. I think that's really important to understand how we're adapting in that way. Jamie, you want to?
Jamie Durie [00:11:54] Yeah, sorry, I didn't want to, I didn’t want to break in. Rod, I'd love to read your research now. How can we get hold of that?
Rod Farmer [00:12:01] Listen, I'll try and get some approvals here, but I gave this presentation last night to about 300 McKinsey alum. So if I can get a little bit of a green light to distribute this, I'll see if we can make it public and I'll get it to this group… and then maybe more broadly.
Jamie Durie [00:12:17] Yeah, that's really interesting. I think it'd be worthwhile for everyone.
Mark Bergin [00:12:25] And then I think the important thing was all of these, you know, where we've got the transcripts come out from these there's links for things that are mentioned in it. We'll put it up there so that we can go through it. Now Amber, I think you've got something that you want to go ahead and say-
Amber Bonney [00:12:34] I think what Jamie was speaking to comes back to people engaging in narrative and story. And what Rob was speaking to as well and how important it is that for centuries branding has been a way to communicate stories and certainly to associate values and behaviours. I suppose an underlying purpose with a certain product or a service. I think the risk at the moment is there's a lot of criticism of people using this opportunity to exploit communities by flogging their values and purpose in a way that is opportunistic, as opposed to a way that is actually adding value to the customer. And so I think there's a whole lot of ads right now. You see every major player is coming out with an ad that's purpose driven. We want to be careful about people feeling our purpose rather than having to see our purpose. So, feeling and experiencing that purpose. We remodelled the Edison Agency about three years ago on the principles of human centred design, moving on from some of the other design related processes. And one of the things that we're seeing is just trying to balance being empathic towards people but making sure that we're not being exploitative in the way that we communicate to people. It's a bit of a greenwash in everyone saying we're all in this together. We're not all this together. And there's a lot of people, especially marginalised people and communities and businesses that are not doing so well.
Mark Bergin [00:14:25] And I think for a lot of corporates when we talk about being driven by design, it's actually about, are you doing things for people or are you doing them at them? It's such a subtle difference. If you're trying to go be their concierge, their team member that's helping them to get to where they're trying to get through in life, that's for them. But there used to be so much that was done at you, ‘feel this way’, ‘this is why you're inadequate’, ‘this is what you need to go do’ and it’s so easy to go work out. I'm in the process of reevaluating my insurance and I can just tell you the brands, right from looking at the first contact with the new people that are evaluating, whether they're actually doing insurance at me or whether they're doing insurance for me. I think it's really important that as experts we can get down to really simple language so people know where the toggle is. Has, I want to go over to you because at Schiavello you've got your quiet rooms that you launched last year. An activity based working those quiet rooms were thought to be useful for meetings, but I think what we're also going to go see, particularly with the way that they're able to be reconfigured, what happens in workspaces now where people are also trying to go and get air isolation and space isolation. How's that changed the way that orders, interest and delivery is happening for yourself?
Hassan el Rayes [00:15:51] Well, the thing is, I suppose, if there is a good thing that came out of the COVID period, for us the only good thing is it's taken us some time to just slow down and take stock of where we are going in the future and how are you going to reimagine the office? Usually these things are done progressively over a period of time and you don’t even realise that the environment has changed. In yesteryear, when we had the Taylorism type scenario in an office, where you’d have banks of people sitting in a desk scenario and with typewriters, when people actually bought typewriters back then, to all the way to a cubicle office, to an open plan. And as you said earlier, a lot of these ideas were thrust upon us. You will adopt this whether you wanted to or not. And being designers we knew better and we taught people how to live. Of course, there was a human rebound and one of the human rebounds we find now is people are actually resisting slightly to the open office. They need their quiet space. They need space to focus. They need a quiet room to go to and just be away from all the distractions. So ABW, which is Activity Based Work, is going to allow you to do the task you need to do in that space, around the office. My discussion is purely a sector focused in that I'm talking about an office space, obviously, if you're in the transport industry or you're somewhere else, the logistics don't let you have this. It’s purely for the top 500 or so corporations. That space is going to be dictated to you by what you need to do and therefore If you need to have a quiet space meeting, the big brother computer will allocate that space for you. If you need to have a group meeting, again, that space will be allocated. You'll no longer own a desk. In fact, we're heading towards a desk-less workforce. During COVID period we have all experienced work from home, post-COVID period it'll be working away from the office. You’ll no longer be centralised to go back to the office. Because we've now come to the realisation, well, most leadership have realised that we don't need line of sight to have productivity. In fact, in some sectors, productivity is going up during the COVID period. There's less transport, more focused time. In fact, some quick stats for you. Of those top 500 corporations, 4% of that workforce will not come back to work. Okay.
Jamie Durie [00:18:31] How are you dealing with that as a solution? As a business, how are you dealing with that? Does that mean you lose 12% of sales.
Hassan el Rayes [00:18:39] No, not at all, because what it will mean is it'll open up avenues instead of having a centralised head office -and we have to agree, what's the premise of the head office? The old concept was site management have to look at their staff and therefore they can calculate and monitor, or quantify, productivity. Now, that's not true so much. They could be satellite. I mean, I would've said last year, this time don't invest any money into We Work, it’s a downhill structure. This time, it is the way to go. It has actually going to invigorate the co-working spaces in much more suburban areas. You'll have these little pockets of work spaces. So in your suburb, you might ring up and find a hotel type scenario for an office. So, it’ll be an office without a bed. And you will need that space for the day. So in actual fact it will be disbursing decentralising the office. The main headquarters will be there purely to capture corporate culture and socialising and meeting with people. If I know Jamie, if I know Mark because we’ve been working together for five years, it's easy for me to work from a distance. I know your personality, I know what your reactions are going to be, but I'll get you on the phone. If I've just joined an organisation, I need to absorb the corporate culture. That's what a Head Office will be. It won’t be there for you to do your work, your focus work. That will be from a quiet room, as we mentioned before that we've set up in a remote area, in a library. So in actual fact that's going to increase our opportunities, but in a completely different guise.
Mark Bergin [00:20:28] And so I wanted to across to Celso, because we’ve been talking physical space and physical products. Your expertise is in the digital world. What are you seeing as far as digital demand and digital products out there? Are people changing their pro projects and their programs because we're coming into this rebound phase? Or is it well-structured projects that are just keeping up the same pace? Has there been a change in agenda?
Celso Borges [00:21:07] I think it's a combination of both really. I think some of the clients that we have just kind of pursued to keep going on with the work that they had before this time. And others have reacted based on the changes. Very much resonating with what Rod and Amber were talking about around the changing behaviour but specifically around the end user or the customer or the patient or whoever the audience is that business is serving. Specifically, around some of the government agencies in the emergency sector that we've been working with, we see that they're trying to reimagine what the service looks like and how it behaves, knowing that there's a change in behavior from their customer. A lot of this that we're starting to see is, actually the root cause is from trauma, right? Trauma changes the way that people react, to the way that people engage with simple activity, simple utility. So, when a service thinks that they have simplified their offering enough, in comes trauma which changes the way that people can interpret, the way they can rationalise about what that service offers them, and the change in their perception actually affects the sentiment towards that service. And so, it starts putting a negative sentiment because they feel that that service is not meeting them where their empathy lies. So, we're seeing a lot of change towards understanding how to humanise these services a lot better, but also where you mentioned Mark, around designing for, and not just with, people that need these services. It's actually gone even beyond, where we actually need to not just meet them halfway, but we need to reimagine these services in terms of how people are affected and the psychology behind the change in behaviour based on trauma. Now, trauma can be from the smallest thing all the way to the global pandemic that we're experiencing right now and coming out of it. So that's where we're seeing it in terms of the change in behaviour. And then the kind of projects that are continuing, that have continuity from before this, what we're seeing is a change in terms of being able to deliver value a lot faster. And so, having to change our momentum and our velocity towards producing that value proposition a lot sooner. Because they are trying to keep light and they're trying to be able to manoeuvre and basically navigate their way through this as well. So, we've seen those kinds of changes, and again, that's having an internal impact in terms of how we're structuring our services and our business so that we can adapt to that need and actually then lead that with our clients.
Mark Bergin [00:23:44] Yeah, and so Marc I want to come across to you, because what really interests me is that - for those of you that aren’t familiar with Marc, for eight years Marc was the one of the founders of LIFX, the intelligent light bulbs. I think globally, it was Phillips, LIFX and there might've been one other in the race. But just as COVID hit, he was in transition of leaving his operational role inside LIFX and moving into the Raine Electric Scooter, which is a Kickstarter launch into the market and is now actually going into delivery. So I actually focused on a couple of things. One is how do you solve when Shenzhen shuts down and you're about to go deliver, and then what's that done to you now? And the other one is as you're trying to go build up an organisation, you must be thinking about renting new offices. What do you do there? So, we’ve got this little microcosm you're about to onboard some more team as you go expand. Just give us a quick insight into that, because that, to me, I think is exactly one of the dilemmas that we're seeing. You know, we've got people who've actually been on pause and have just returned. You're actually trying to embark on the new in the period where most people are saying, ‘do you do new now?’
Marc Alexander [00:24:54] Yeah, thanks Mark. It's been really been quite an amazing year. Inside the team we’ve been adapting to complete remote work. We were expecting for some of our team to be in China and traveling around the world you know, all through February, March, April. So we haven't done any of that. That remote work and the clarity about operations and how effectively we communicate to the rest of our team about what our mission goals are and our priorities I found to be really interesting. And then with the manufacturer even more so, because we had those plans to be there, to review and inspect and guide them, and above all have that clarity of deliverables. We're not physically there to transfuse this every day. So I've learned to make it essentially a headline of our daily operations, about product quality, our design features, delivery speed, lower costs - that those subjects get like cycled through every day and every week. For our team, inside the team, that remote work, the journey there has been amazing. We've been remote part time before, but we've had to turn the dial up to 11 on everything remote, to the point of, even as we have been 3D printing stuff and testing designs and features, it feels like you're anonymously dropping parts off on people's doorsteps around the cities to collaborate for some time. But, it's actually been, it's been fairly effective. We definitely still very much look forward to physically being over at the manufacturer when flights resume, but currently due to really leaning into WeChat video, like every digital and especially high definition, clear communications method we can, we've been able to get pretty good comfort that they're moving along alright.
Mark Bergin [00:27:00] Yeah. And so Amber, I want to throw it back to you because I believe that there was a trauma expert site that helped to go support the agency and shared some research with you. Give us a little bit of insight there, because I know I've been talking with some senior psychs and they've been talking about the return process is going to be extremely difficult for introverts who are going to struggle with the idea of reintegrating. They’ve loved the fact that they’ve been able to be isolated, and now how are we going to be able to drag them out? What did you find with the studio when you were talking about the impact of trauma?
Amber Bonney [00:27:37] One thing, I think it certainly put my leadership skills to the test. I think by virtue, my nature is, I have a brain that's always on. So my biggest struggle is actually learning to turn it off. And so during this time, you know, we have taken the opportunity to reflect, but, also we have got to be conscious that we've been very lucky and we're very grateful that we survived COVID and we're actually in a sort of growth acceleration mode, recruiting new people, which is incredible and something I don't take for granted, but there's a really delicate balance. If you think about taking an empathic approach that not everyone feels like they're ready to grow or change, people are still in survival mode - I have a son who suffers from pretty extreme mental health conditions and during this time he's found it so distressing. You know, he's an introverted person. He feels other people's human experiences quite deeply. And so for a lot of people, being sensitive to the fact that just because as a business you're ready to grow and move and power forward, it doesn't mean that the rest of the team feels that way as well. It's certainly been a challenge. We've got a meeting today to talk about the plans for the business and we're just stepping through that, I suppose, delicately, but yes, we do want to grow and we are making some new hires, but also being sensitive that some people are really enjoying being at home and they don't want to come back. And some people have found that, you know, personally traumatic. That article I shared with you was really focused on a sense of guilt that people feel when they're not doing anything. That during COVID there was all this pressure on social media to read a book, do an online course, to write, to do the gardening, do all these things. And sometimes people just didn't feel like doing that, because we are people who have experienced the trauma differently. So I think that's what the focus of that article was.
Mark Bergin [00:29:53] Yeah, and I'm particularly interested- I'm going to go and have a chat with Julie in a moment, but I want to come to Jamie first because Jamie you've actually got there what is possibly the most interesting part of the COVID period for me… I know that you've just got a new puppy recently and like me, you travel the world a lot, and I wonder, did you take the opportunity of the fact that you weren't going to be able to travel as much as the chance to onboard a new puppy?
Jamie Durie [00:30:22] Absolutely. Yeah. For me this was a great opportunity. My dog passed away a couple of years ago from cancer and we had it for 13 years. The puppy needs a lot of attention as you can see, so the fact that I've been home, you know, 24/7, has been amazing and it's a great opportunity to sort of raise a young pup and give them the attention they deserve. But also the sense of wellbeing and mental stability that an animal can give you is so valuable. My daughter always with animals. I've always had that's around me, for me that, well you know, you get licked in the face by one of these puppies and all the worries of the world go away. You know what I mean?
Mark Bergin [00:31:17] That's fantastic. Now then I want to get across to Celso here, because I know Tigerspike you've been actually, openly the organisation has been talking about trauma in your client context, but also that's been really beneficial for the team to go actually work out how to be kind to each other and do it and to read each other. You know, Amber was talking about her son who is highly sensitive to the mood and the state of others, and that happens in every workplace. So you've dug in a bit and you've been down to explore that. You've been getting outcomes?
Celso Borges [00:31:50] Yeah, absolutely. And really positive ones. Essentially you know, when we're engaging with clients we're all talking about trauma-informed and crisis-informed principles to design better humanised service and products and that's outward facing. But now what about inwards? How are we creating a safer place, a safe environment for designers to thrive? And so we started talking about that and really started with an open conversation and discussion around what does it mean to have a safe working environment? Regardless of whether it's physical or digital, and I think that just allowed us to start exploring the topic and understanding what it means and so that we can reach consensus and then start building from there. And it was things around deferring judgment and not having competition between each other, having a good understanding of what it means to fail fast and learn quickly. Those things we, you know, we start taking for granted because we get stuck in the rut of talking always externally and trying to appease worries of clients, but you know, we're going through a tough time and people react in different ways and behaviours change. So how are all our internal workflows and our internal empathy adapting to this? And we've seen a, a great response to this topic where now it's starting to perpetuate through different teams and through different disciplines and they're starting to have better conversations because of it. So yeah, a really great topic and I think it's important to have that internal focus as well.
Mark Bergin [00:33:23] What I'm really interested in this Town Hall, you know, we started off looking at some of the insights that the team at McKinsey have got. We've spoken about this empathetic design. We've gone through and we've spoken about trauma in the way that it's been dealt with in the studio and also for, for the outcomes have been delivered. I'm going to take a look at what I might call an unfortunate history step. Aged care is something that is broken and is systemically broken. And it's actually now become aged harm. Julia Ockerby your expertise is in the aged care space. And, you know, we thought initially that aged care was a place where people would be safe in that environment and what we found was that it was actually what what's referred to as a high-trust environment. But if disease got in there, people actually were more likely to have a negative outcome because it was slow responses. There were families that were feeling isolated. There was trauma that was in there. How do we go into aged care and begin to solve that? Because I know this is, whether it's in Sweden or USA, or in Asia or Australia, aged care seems to have a model which isn't actually dealing with that traumatic moment.
Julie Ockerby [00:34:34] Yeah, it's interesting isn't it? Because if we talk about trauma and aged care, I mean, there's nothing really more traumatic than at that time of life to even talk about aged care. It's something that's just not discussed. It's a reactive pathway. And then you throw in COVID and the highest rate of mortalities here in Australia is from the aged care homes. And that's because of various reasons. Does design have an impact to that? Maybe a little as to how a home functions, and certainly a lot of the homes are not built or modernised enough to deal with the antibacterial and all of those types of issues. But trauma and aged care have always come hand in hand. And the last two years have had the Royal Aged Care Commission, which has highlighted a lot of it. And there hasn't been a lot of positive news on aged care. I think Rod when you were talking about engineering, plus heart and soul, I mean, why we design what we do in the niche that we do is to bring that heart and soul back into an aged care home. So families feel like that they can go visit their loved ones, et cetera, et cetera. And it's funny, like sort of jumping around a little bit, well speaking to my team, which are a fairly young team - we spoke about trauma and all of us have worked from home for the past 10 weeks and we're slowly, half of us are slowly moving back into the office, so that reintegration stage. And without letting out how old I am by talking about this, you know, the nineties was very much about finding a niche and long lunches, - like who doesn't miss the long lunch, you know, I miss the long lunch - but that was very nineties know. And what do you call it? The naughties, we had a few global setbacks, we had post 9/11, which impacted many industries and snowballed to others, and then we had the infamous GFC, and the beginning of the last decade we were in recovery from the GFC. But we really didn’t learn anything, we’re still operating on the same model, we just picked up and ran. And we start off this decade with a pandemic. And I actually think that, putting reassessing and reinventing and reforming and range of grading and reimagining aside, it actually gave us the time to rethink ourselves and our behaviours. I find that people are actually a lot kinder now. When you walk down the street people actually say hello to you. Whereas we got to a stage where we just started to ignore people. I find I'm a little bit kinder now, I think my kids find that I'm a little bit kinder, I don’t know, the human side has come back and I don't think from a business point of view, operating in a niche works very well anymore. I mean, diversifying is something we've really had to look at. A lot of people have used the word pivot - personally, I’m quite sick of the word pivot - we've been using the word spindle, or spindling. I mean I'm the queen of multitasking, I've had three careers, so diversifying is very natural thing for me, but if we go back to aged care - aged care really needs to diversify in how it delivers its model and its care model. And that alleviates trauma, full stop. It's really quite simple. I think a lot of our clients are slowly understanding that. And I think due to COVID-19, if nothing else, similar to all of us have had to refocus on how they deliver their design models, bringing the right people to be able to engineer these models efficiently, cost-effectively, and roll them out.
Mark Bergin [00:38:38] And look everybody, I think that’s a really interesting way to come to a conclusion for this Town Hall. We’ve spanned from people going for artisanal choices as something that's about the values. We've gone through and talked about how practices are leading to addressing that traumatic moment and down into what might be one of the hot areas to talk about, which is how do you actually deal with aged care? But all of it has to do with trying to build a better future for the humans that we're interacting with. I think that's actually where the opportunity is – how to accelerate to that point where we're not just taking programs and initiatives which were already on the table, that we're trying to work out how to bring in those additional values that are in there.
As always, I'm humbled to have the presence of such great minds here. We'll make sure that those links are there, put your hand up if you've got something before I finish – but I’m about to bring this to a close and I really thank you for your attention and your input on this. Our third Australian #BeyondCOVID Town Hall. Thank you everybody.
Hosted by: Mark Bergin
Podcast Production: Pat Daly
Notes and Publication: Lucy Grant