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Illustration by Wendy Fox, Creative Lead



The line between things

Understanding the boundaries between things is something designers love attempting, but often aren't very good at (Dan Hill is, though).

You can find that out by asking a designer to explain the difference between service, product, interaction, customer experience, or user experience design. There are good definitions of these, and good reasons for thinking about them differently, but those reasons are not easy to communicate to non-designers.

Like Sámi reindeer herders and their 180+ terms for snow, we should not be surprised that designers have more words to describe their job than non-designers are interested in. The problem lies not with defining new aspects of design, but recognising when it's valuable to teach other people where the boundary is between them. 

This newsletter is about when it's useful to draw lines between things, and when it isn't. Understanding where and when to draw a line – and understanding when it's useful to show that line to others – is what the best designers learn to be good at. 

Happy drawing.

— the PG team

Where is the boundary between your phone and your mind?
Recommended by Ernez Dhondy, Strategy Director

Here’s a thought experiment: where do you end? Not your body, but you, the nebulous identity you think of as your ‘self’. Does it end at the limits of your physical form? Or does it include your voice, which can now be heard as far as outer space; your personal and behavioral data, which is spread out across the impossibly broad plane known as digital space; and your active online personas, which probably encompass dozens of different social media networks, text message conversations, and email exchanges?

I have worked in the field of UX for almost a decade, carefully planning and crafting digital experiences in the hope that people would engage with them. I find it startling and terrifying to think that digital platforms are so tightly interwoven with our physical and mental selves that they have become an integral, if not defining, part of our personalities. I found this article to be a fascinating exploration of how the digital platforms and cyberspace are beginning to engulf us all.
Argentina votes to create two new protected marine reserves (and what we can learn from how they did it)
Recommended by Catherine Sutton-Long, Design Research Lead
I found this article engaging because firstly, it’s good news! The new reserves protect a massive area about the size of Hungary.

But I was also interested in the earlier, failed attempts. Argentina’s previously unsuccessful marine reserves were managed by the same government department that managed its fisheries, so they were open to commercial influence. Further, they weren’t supported by a legal framework or an enforcement plan. It highlighted to me, again, the importance of designing not just the solutions but supporting mechanisms to make those solutions really work in their intended context.
The business life cycle spectrum: where are you?
Recommended by Ashlee Riordan, Capability Director
I’ve found myself talking a lot lately about business life cycles: where is a given client in the journey? Are they young and growing? Are they older, bureaucratic and struggling to maintain product market fit? This is important context for our work – we must craft strategies that are sensitive to the stage of life our clients are in and the challenges that come with specific stages.

This piece gives a good breakdown of the four stages 
startup, growth, maturity and decline or renewal  with examples of how a business might be mistaken about what stage they’re in.
Corporations are trying to take over our civic identity. Don’t let them.
Recommended by Iain Phillips, Innovation and Experience Lead
This piece talks about, not just how cities market themselves, but how multinational corporations have piggybacked off civic identities to claim a false local connection and distinctiveness.
We’re at a time where social activism is desperately needed but activism itself has become increasingly branded, alongside music, art and even our places. Although this can be well-intentioned, it can act to neutralise the communities’ voice rather than amplify it.
How, then, can communities maintain the strength of their identities? And how can organisations authentically put their weight behind causes they believe in?

Image via twitter.

Training: Design Research for Product and Service Innovation
Designing for service and product innovation requires that designers spend time with people, understanding not just what they do, but how and why. Observing, documenting and analysing human behaviour helps us identify the similarities and differences between people, and the outliers and workarounds that highlight service gaps or failures.

This two-day workshop will introduce you to the tools and methods of ethnography – the foundation of design research. It will give you a mix of theory and practical experience that you can directly apply to your design and research projects.
February 21–22, Melbourne
Full program and tickets

Public sector innovation: delivering on the promise
The 2019 Public Sector Innovation Awards. A panel of speakers, including winners of the 2018 Innovation Awards will talk about bringing innovative ideas to life and some of the issues  and challenges they face.
February 26, Canberra
Event details

The Wheeler Centre Storytelling Gala 2019: Crush
How much of our best writing, art and music do we owe to crushes, and the intensity they lend to our days and nights? And, actually, how much of our worst? Watch ten Australian writers and thinkers dish about their fictional crush. It could be a character of page, stage, screen or stereo – or some life-changing, out-of-reach hero from the real world.
February 29, Melbourne
Event details and tickets

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Paper Giant acknowledges the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation as the traditional owners of the lands on which we live and work. We recognise that sovereignty over the land was never ceded, and pay respects to elders past, present and emerging.

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