Members of our Australasia team held a joint Design School workshop with Habitat for Humanity Australia and Habitat for Humanity Fiji in Sydney in December last year.
The three day workshop centred on bringing Human Centred Design to life, where people are put at the heart of any design solution. In particular, the workshop sought to take lessons from Cyclone Winston, where Arup had worked with Habitat for Humanity Fiji in the immediate disaster response phase. The 34 workshop participants included Aoibhin Flanagan, an Arup project manager who had led a three week Cyclone Winston disaster relief assignment in partnership with HfH Fiji, Masi Latianara, leader of HfH Fiji, Kirsten McDonald, Head of Australasia International Development at Arup, in-house HCD experts Jon Osborne and Kristian Winther.
"It was exciting to see Arup and Habitat bring together our organisational strengths to build empathy, gain new insights, encourage innovation and ultimately collaborate around real-world issues which communities in the pacific continue to face. Arup’s Design School gave Habitat the opportunity to also understand the principles and application of Human Centred Design in relation to its home-building programs and we hope to take the solutions which participants identified and apply them into our work of improving shelter in Fiji. While Habitat and Arup have been partnering for many years now, this event caused us to understand one another’s work in much deeper ways, and is launching us into an exciting future together."
The result was six diverse potential design solutions for discussion with HfH Fiji that may evolve into real life projects supported by either Arup’s pro-bono Community Engagement practice and/or our International Development practice.
"With its people-centred design approach, Arup has taken the road less travelled by first recognising that context isn’t just based on tangible data-site, climate and a cookie-cutter description of the user, but rather that our preconceptions, which are indeed based on our own experiences, need to be set aside."
"I was overwhelmed at the success of the programme – particularly its ability to raise awareness amongst our staff of the deep partnerships we have with our charity partners, why we align and support the partners that we do and the importance of our work together to achieve positive social outcomes. It also provided a tangible experience for the participants to see how they can put their skills and design thinking into practice to solve complex problems that have a positive social outcome."
Read about the day in more detail here.