Design, Data & Daiquiris: Summary

Data, Design and Daiquiris, an evening of presentations and discussions on how data and design are coming together to change our lives.

On the night, contributions came from panelists discussing everything from the design and branding of outer space, to data and public policy design.

Managing Director of Your Creative, Lauren Crystal, opened proceedings discussing how using data allows us to illuminate unseen and unmet community needs.

“Data effectively allows us to engineer empathy and design for specific needs accordingly.” Lauren Crystal

Using the example of Shifra, Lauren outlined how data is helping to grow an idea that is now helping migrant women gain access to respectful sexual and reproductive health information. In the coming months, Shifra will be translated into even more languages and will continue to help migrant women gain access to sexual and reproductive health information and services in Australia.

Next to speak was James Bickford from Decibel Architecture. James spoke about how data is informing and improving the architectural and urban design process. By using data, design is becoming even more purposeful and helping to build better communities, addressing crucial issues and helping to increase efficiency in everything from power to traffic flow. Architects are using data to design the smart buildings of the future. With the internet of things set to grow exponentially in coming years, buildings as we know them are going to become even more interactive and technology filled.

Troy McCann from Moonshot Space Company echoed these sentiments and noted how space technology, such as satellites, is also helping to provide useful data for the planning and development of buildings. Troy founded Moonshot as a means of helping space-technology-based business startups achieve success with the help of a network of experienced mentors, advisers and partners. According to Troy, space is open for business and Moonshot is on a mission to help people turn ideas into investable businesses.

Next to speak was Carmela Chivers from the Grattan Institute. Carmela is a research professional with an academic background in the areas of political economy and economics. She focused on the work of the Grattan Institute and stressed how the importance of good design is crucial to the visualisation of data and making information more accessible and understandable for the public. By using good design and representing information in a more innovative, attractive and digestible way, we can help people to become more engaged in all aspects of society. This then has then has knock-on effects for the formation of public policy and civic activities.

With a few daiquiris on board, presentations then turned to a panel discussion with questions also coming from the audience. A free flowing dialogue continued on data’s role in the design process. With a panel with such diverse experience, it made for an interesting discussion. All panel members were in agreement that the role of data in our lives and in design, is increasing in significance on a daily basis.

Thoughts then turned to the future and the role of data in building smarter communities and cities. With an architect on the panel, we got a great insight into the role data is playing in building modern cities. According to James, data is now an integral part of the architectural process and is used heavily in rationalising ideas, as opposed to post rationalising them.

New building management systems that utilise AI are becoming more intelligent, more useful and are ultimately increasing building’s energy efficiency. But what’s also important here is the data they produce which feedbacks and allows for constant tweaking and optimisation.

The crossover benefits of a smart approach to using data and design are undeniable. According to Carmela, designers need analysts to interpret data correctly and draw irrefutable conclusions. But likewise, she says that analysts also need designers to help distill their findings into simple and engaging content that becomes easy to understand, rather than just complicated data sets.

Carmela illustrated these points with some case study examples, comparing the design of parking fine tickets and how quickly different designs elicited a response to the fines. By testing each of the individual designs and using the data obtained, the design could be optimised for a best practice approach to gathering monies for fines. The example of Typeform was also used in comparison with SurveyMonkey to show how good design can help to elicit better and more engaged responses from surveys.

The relationship between data and design is undeniable. And every member of the panel put forward an argument agreeing with this statement. All agreed that data and design should exist co-dependently as a means of getting the best out of both disciplines.

We were privileged to have such esteemed guests and panelists in attendance and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who came on the night.

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