By Johnny Rogers, Design Director

Bird-eye view photo of the Mentally Friendly team working on a project.
Bird-eye view photo of the Mentally Friendly team working on a project.

If we compare product teams to sports, great Product Managers are the team Captains of your organisation.

When searching online you’ll find many competing definitions for what makes a good Product Manager. Product Managers are mini-CEOs even though they possess almost no authority over many of the factors that an organisation needs to support to make products successful. We are also told they may be a unicorn capable of practising all the skills from all the disciplines of product — but sadly unicorns are fictional creatures. Or perhaps they are an abstract version of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian man, capable of moving limbs between different mindsets and skills. …

By Thom Vincent, Technical Director.

Have you ever wondered what you could make in one weekend? Myself and a team of friends from work found out when we attended GovHack 2019.

GovHack is an international competition for people of all backgrounds and abilities. Over one weekend, teams gather in 29 locations all over Australia and New Zealand. In that time, each team designs and builds a product/service which tackles one or more challenges set by government departments or NGOs. Each challenge relates to a social issue; unemployment in Australia or climate change.

The Mentally Friendly team

We’re a passionate team of makers at Mentally Friendly. With a strong desire to improve the lives of others. We believe in making things that make a difference. With that in mind, attending a Hackathon which had a focus on social issues seemed like a natural fit. …

By Thom Vincent, Technical Director.

Technology has a history of delivering change through design, innovation, and scale. It continues to revolutionise the way people access products & services and helping to redefine who is best to deliver them. In a relatively short-time, technology has allowed us to do things like move from hailing taxis on the street to ordering a car to arrive at our doorstep. For organisations, technology can be their biggest risk and their biggest opportunity.

“The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really even notice it, so it’s part of everyday life.” …

Regulations alone can’t solve customer problems. Smart design can.

By Yasin Masukor, Design Lead

The 1st in a 4 part series on re-imagining finance in the wake of the royal commission.

The banking royal commission is pushing for sweeping changes across all of Australia’s financial institutions, and has forced a focus on customer well-being. This presents an amazing opportunity to shift how we design financial products & tools.

Trust is at the core of our financial system and, as we’ve seen, once it’s lost, it’s not easily regained. Consumers need to be able to trust that the individual or the institution they are dealing with is putting their interests first, second and third. …

Just like many things: timing is everything — and it’s important not to miss the window.

A couple weeks ago, we were helping a team roadmap the actions needed to help the team be more successful through small changes in their day-to-day. Despite multiple efforts to motivate the team towards participating in the session, the room’s engagement level remained low and it felt as if the team was uninterested.

At one point, the project sponsor mumbled, “Help me help you.” I felt for her. She was putting in her best effort and wanted to help her team improve. But it was obvious that she was late to the game.

By Tosh Ichikawa, Mentally Friendly Partnerships Manager

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I’ve never liked the word / activity / idea of “networking”. The thought of being crammed into a room full of awkward people seeking to “connect” for business purposes just didn’t feel… natural.

And let’s be clear, there’s nothing natural about networking.

But since networking events aren’t going anywhere any time soon, I thought I should just embrace them and also investigate how we can all make the most of such a situation.

I’d like to touch on the most natural objectives one should have (and related approach) when it comes to networking. …

By Andrew Sedlak, Organisation Designer

I think I’m permanently tired.

As a designer, my industry knowledge necessarily colours other aspects of my life. This month, I’m thinking about how to use design perspectives to succeed as a new parent and full-time Organisational Designer. Whether your partner is still on parental leave, you’re a single parent, or both of you are back at work and your little one is in daycare — it’s gruelling, emotionally taxing, and just a big adjustment to return to.

Luckily, there are some insights from our design practice I believe can help to make Dad (or Mom) life easier. Also whenever I think of my own work-life, I remember: at least I don’t have to go back to running a country -Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Arden, is the first world leader in nearly 30 years to have a child while in office. …

What you need to know before making any presentation.

By Tosh Ichikawa, Partnerships Manager

My whole life I’ve always been drawn to people who can command an audience and tell a good story.

I’d often ask myself questions like: “why is everyone listening to her, but not him?” or “why is it so much easier to remember stuff when THAT person talks?”

It wasn’t just their distinctive voice or ability to speak in public that caught my attention, it was much more than that. They seemed to have an ability to put themselves in the shoes of the audience, so that they were only saying things that everyone could understand. …

By Anthony McGinness, Canberra Policy Design Director

Mentally Friendly has been partnering with government and large organisations to design more effective policies, services, products and teams for over 14 years. We are passionate about ensuring that our work contributes to a more inclusive and equitable society.

This is why we hosted an event on Tuesday 24 July 2018, bringing together policymakers, designers and leading thinkers and public commentators, to discuss whether current approaches to public policy are delivering the best outcomes for our citizens and communities.

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Developing policy today is too often a waterfall process

The world is changing

Citizens are demanding more from government programs and services, trust in large institutions is falling, data is more available than ever, and innovation and design thinking are now pretty well understood and applied across government. Yet we continue to see organisations tackle complex policy problems through waterfall-like approaches to problem solving which rely on correct framing of the problem early-on, and then arrive at policy recommendations through slow, linear and rigid processes. …

By Saakshi Muralidhar

Have you ever felt like an outsider on the first day of a new job? Well I didn’t… and apparently this is not unique to just me.

However, since I’m the newest kid on the block I thought I’d share my highlight reel.

Overall, I’ve had a pretty interesting journey to ultimately join the Org Design team. Some of the most interesting discussions are around mission, purpose, and “Why are we are doing this work?” It’s almost as if I’m back at a lecture in uni about some serious existentialism. It’s great.

It’s difficult to talk about the employee experience without relating it back to his or her first experience with the company. After all, first impressions matter. My first experience with MF started with a phone call with Yanet’s warm and nurturing voice to invite me to my first interview. It only went up from there. Looking back on my “onboarding experience” I find that the most impactful experiences were in-between the planned encounters. To me, these encounters and observations define what it means to work at MF. …


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