I am a strategic designer, facilitator, educator and researcher working to evolve creative practices to address increasingly complex problems. My work draws on leading design methodologies including systemic design, frame creation, participatory design and transition design to explore problems, propose pathways forward and build alliances for change.
Public sector innovation practices
Systems and culture change.
Strategic design, innovation, entrepreneurship, public sector.
Malcolm, B & van der Bijl-Brouwer, M 2020, 'Systemic Design Principles in Social Innovation: A Study of Expert Practices and Design Rationales', She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, vol. 6, no. Autumn 2020.
In recent decades, design has expanded from a practice aimed at designing things to one that helps to address complex societal challenges. In this context, a field of practice called systemic design has emerged, which combines elements of systems thinking with elements of design. We use a case study approach to investigate how expert practitioners carry out systemic design work in the context of public and social innovation, and explore what we can learn from their practices and design rationales when we compare them to systems thinking theories and approaches. Based on findings from five case studies, we present five systemic design principles: 1) opening up and acknowledging the interrelatedness of problems; 2) developing empathy with the system; 3) strengthening human relationships to enable creativity and learning; 4) influencing mental models to enable change; and 5) adopting an evolutionary design approach to desired systemic change. One way that scholars can contribute to this field is by continuing to monitor and describe emerging systemic design principles developed and performed at the forefront of the field, strengthening these learnings by building on the body of knowledge about systems thinking and design.
Elton, K, Malcolm, B, Pruscino, C & Svejkar, D 2019, 'Design for social change: Harnessing the student voice to prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment', Journal of the Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 29-44.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019, Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association. All rights reserved. Respect.Now.Always. is an Australia-wide campaign to address and eliminate sexual assault and harassment within universities. The University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has taken a proactive stance and established a Student Consultative Group and a Senior Working Group to address this issue. UTS Design Innovation Research Centre (DIRC) was engaged to understand diverse UTS student perspectives on sexual violence and identify student-centred opportunities for prevention and support. Using a participatory design research approach, DIRC developed insights on UTS student experiences in interacting with UTS. Rather than being simple user-centred research interactions, these engagements reframed the interaction with students as participatory experiences where they were given an opportunity to engage in two-way dialogue, which strengthened relationships within the UTS community and provided an opportunity for perspectives to shift on this topic. This unique design research approach was made possible through careful work establishing trust with senior stakeholders, and leads the way for more novel activations to engage the community in preventing sexual assault and harassment.
Malcolm, B 2021, 'Designing for informal services: a participatory approach to prevent sexual violence within a university', Serv Des 2020, Melbourne, Australia.
Groeger, L, Schweitzer, J, Sobel, L & Malcom, B 2019, 'Design Thinking Mindset: Developing Creative Confidence', Academy of Design Innovation .Management Conference 2019, Academy of Design Innovation Management Conference 2019, Academy for Design Innovation Management, London, UK, pp. 1401-1413.View/Download from: Publisher's site
While knowledge of design thinking (DT) processes and familiarity with its tools can be achieved relatively quickly, few educational programs foster a DT mindset. This study examines the effect of an experiential DT learning environment on the development of a DT mindset. We analyse the extent to which key attributes of a DT mindset are understood, evaluated and assessed. We show that the general value and related challenges of learning a DT mindset are well understood. However, students perceive the importance and value of particular mindset attributes differently; in particular, postgraduate student reflections provide a nuanced and interlinked view of different mindset attributes. We provide a framework for learning objectives and exemplary activities to teach and encourage designerly ways of thinking and doing in business education. We argue that a mindset that embodies DT can address deficits in business school education, better preparing students for future work.
Sobel, L, Schweitzer, J, Malcom, B & Groeger, L 2019, 'Design Thinking Mindset: Exploring the role of mindsets in building design consulting capability', Academy of Design Innovation Management Conference 2019, Academy of Design Innovation Management Conference 2019, ADIM, London, UK, pp. 1695-1701.View/Download from: Publisher's site
This case study reflects on the role of design thinking mindsets in building design thinking capability within professional services consultancies. The nine design thinking mindset attributes developed by Schweitzer et. al (2016) formed the basis of five engagements with consultancies including workshops and semi-structured interviews. Data collection and observation by the authors identified key themes relating to the role of design thinking mindsets at an individual, team and organisational level, as well as the challenges and opportunities of embedding design thinking mindsets to build capability. The authors believe that capability development through the use of design thinking mindsets has the potential to support professional service consultancies to make more significant progress in embedding design thinking beyond the current focus on methods. Potential experiential learning frameworks and measurement tools are also identified.
Malcolm, B & van der Bijl-Brouwer, M 2018, 'Design expertise in public and social innovation', Design Research Society 2018, University of Limerick.
Malcolm, B, 'introducing systemic design to support an Australian Government regulatory agency address complex problems'.