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Postgraduate design students work with industry partner

8 October 2019
Our students gaining real world experience
For the first time, our Master of Design students were given the opportunity to partner with NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Services to create an innovative design solution to a real-world problem, as part of their ‘Designing for the Digital Revolution’ course unit.

For the first time, our Master of Design students were given the opportunity to partner with NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Services to create an innovative design solution to a real-world problem, as part of their ‘Designing for the Digital Revolution’ course unit.

Students were provided information on the current initiatives and strategic goals of the organisation and the design brief was to develop an innovative digital solution to improve organ and tissue donation awareness in only five weeks. In groups of four, students worked on creating, testing and developing their designs, pitching their final solutions to NSW Organ and Tissue Donation Service and The Policy Lab.

“Partnering with the University of Sydney’s postgraduate design program was a highly valuable experience. The campaign concepts created and presented by the students were innovative and unique, and had the potential to be implemented as state-wide or national awareness initiatives,” said Danielle Fisher, General Manager at NSW Organ & Tissue Donation Service.

The standout design solution, by students  Jeni Penunuri, Kate Zambelli, Meg Squires, Portia Hyland presented clearly addressed the identified problems of Australians not registering for organ donation; families refusing organ and tissue donation on behalf of loved ones, and; Australians not discussing organ and tissue donation wishes with loved ones. Their solution,

Heart to heart, let’s have a heart to heart discussion is a Facebook messenger game for families. The idea was inspired by nostalgic family game nights together. The interactive role-playing game is designed to create an experience that sparks and facilitates family discussion about organ and tissue donation wishes. After playing the game, players must acknowledge the DonateLife Pledge in order to receive results.

“The NSW Organ & Tissue Donation Service encourages future collaboration with the University of Sydney. With only 9.5% of 16-25 year old Australians registered on the Australian Organ Donor Register, it is extremely important to get the conversation started about organ donation among young people. Incorporating the topic of organ and tissue donation into undergraduate or postgraduate study is a fantastic way to spark this discussion,” said Danielle Fisher.

“It was wonderful to see our students in action with our new industry partner: their design concepts and solutions were original and clever. The School places high importance on our partnerships with industry and providing students a well-rounded learning experience. In this instance, the opportunity for our students to present their ideas and solutions to industry was an invaluable experience for them and truly deepened their understanding of design ofthe strategic use of digital channels,” said Dr Karla Straker, Unit Coordinator.

The unit ‘Designing for the Digital Revolution’ focuses on how the emergence of new technologies has revolutionised the way companies interact and build relationships with customers. Students examine digital channel strategies and relationships, and useful concepts skills for designing digital engagements. The unit encompasses customer-centric design approaches as well as techniques such as scenario building, forecasting and backcasting to explore possible futures.

“This unit provided me with a strong understanding of emerging customer relationships that seek to fulfil customer’s needs and provide emotional engagement. It’s so interesting seeing how quickly the digital landscape evolves and how digital channels have been designed. Designing for the Digital Revolution was particularly interesting as we got to work with as industry partner to provide a solution on how to increase awareness surrounding organ and tissue donation.”

“From this I learnt the importance of appealing to customers emotion when designing digital engagements. It enhanced my university experience significantly as it provided me with both practical experience and theoretical knowledge,” said Portia Hyland, first year Master of Design (Design Innovation) (Strategic Design) student.