ARUP 2015
DESIGN SCHOOL

Client: Arup
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Project timeline: October 2015
Services provided: Workshop facilitation
At global design firm Arup’s 2015 Design School, Andrew Wisdom inspired emerging leaders by challenging them to create businesses to drive social change.

What do repurposing local shops as community hubs; growing food in cities; borrowing house parts from a housing library; an Airbnb for CBD office space; libraries of the future; and Arup Design for Social Change have in common? They all represent opportunities for social change and they were all challenges addressed in this year’s Australasian Design School.

For a little over two days, 30 eager staff from around the Arup world came to Melbourne in mid October 2015 for a programme of mind expansion, skill development and fun, focussing on the theme of Design for Social Change. Teams of delegates were taken through a design thinking process to help them devise businesses able to tackle these tricky challenges. At the end of Design School, each team pitched its business proposition using new-found skills in selling an idea.

Interspersed with this design thinking, participants were challenged by speakers on topics ranging from social usefulness to agency, from disruption to buy-in.

Participants emerged from Design School with new-found insight into working in teams, in explaining, in sharing, in challenging, in looking at things in new ways and in stepping back and re-evaluating. Design School is about learning, of course, and participants identified a number of techniques and behaviours to take back to their daily work. They also shared memories of the fun they had working hard on something different and friendships forged in the crucible of panic and excitement that is Design School.

Andrew conceived, structured and delivered the two-day event on behalf of Arup. The event was rated uniformly highly by participants.