Design Managers Australia (DMA) is a service design consultancy working with private, public, community and volunteer organisations. What matters to us most is:
- Making a difference to people’s lives through services that may or may not even be noticed by them – for all the right reasons
- Creating change that is needed and that makes things better
- Bringing together a range of voices and disciplines who can make things happen – not just talk about it, but do it
We first came about in mid-2003 when founder Justin Barrie, having spent years in the public sector fixing issues, found it far more interesting exploring how to stop them occurring in the first place. In 2012 Justin was joined by Mel Edwards.
We’re now a small-and-proud business with a core team who works closely with, and can call on, an extensive network of design and business professionals within Australia and internationally.
Justin is the Founder and Principal at DMA and he is obsessed with supporting organisations of all shapes and sizes commit to a defined strategy and back that up with services that are designed to make a difference for people.
From a background that began in media and issues management (including a decent stint in the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery) he grew to love regulation, legislation and committee work – because frankly, that’s where all of the big decisions are made.
When he went to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) in 1998 he had a significant role leading media and issues management during a time of massive change. He soon moved into the sparkling (and very new at the time) world of design where his talent for bringing teams together to collaborate saw him facilitate and lead change on issues ranging from internal infrastructure and capabilities to the redesign of the Superannuation system.
Since founding DMA in 2003 there aren’t many large public systems in Australia that Justin hasn’t had something to do with. DMA has worked with clients in the fields of taxation, policing, scientific research, water management, human services, health, sports, industry development and local government.
Outside of the professional realm Justin has a strong social focus and has been a proud member of the Barnardos Canberra Boysgroup Mentoring program for the past few years. He recently became involved in Australian Business Week – mentoring Year 10 students through an intense manufacturing business simulation.
Beyond the CV, what’s Justin really like?
- He is obsessed with cycling. He used to cycle, but now he’s just obsessed with watching it!
- Because he didn’t practice enough he can sing the third clarinet part to almost every school concert band piece going (Medley from Cats anyone?)
- He grew up EVERYWHERE and has a story to prove it!
Get in touch with Justin
Mel Edwards is Co-Principal at DMA. Her passion is turning what really matters (to people and business) into what really works (for people and business). She firmly believes the best and most meaningful way to do this is through design thinking and service design practice; practically applying creativity in the business context for practical outcomes.
From a career that started in the visual design space Mel has always been in the design game – even when it wasn’t called that. She began in the late 1990s working in graphic design and brand and from there she moved into the (then) emerging world of the web developing and delivering web services with a focus on user experience and interaction design.
But it was when she started at Inland Revenue (New Zealand) that she found her vocational heart – service design. She was lucky enough to be in on the ground floor in 2004 as the organisation made a conscious shift to call out that services don’t just happen – they are designed, and there are ways, techniques and mind-sets that aid this.
As practitioner she worked on projects as diverse as modelling customer typologies, developing online services for student loan borrowers, forming strategies to support Small-to-Medium Enterprise (SME) compliance and enhance service delivery to Maori taxpayers and social policy customers. She then moved into capability – helping others become practitioners and building the practice as a sustainable integrated capability and leader within the NZ service design and innovation industry.
Mel has worked in a variety of organisations applying her design expertise with a variety of organisations – both public and private sector – insurance, industry and governing bodies, taxation, human services, transport.
Beyond the CV, what’s Mel really like?
- She’s pretty obsessed with design truth be told, but this does manifest in her other obsession cake decorating – fondant post-it’s are not rare.
- She’s a cyclist. Since moving to Canberra that is – lycra, tan lines, cycling boots n’all (although she can’t bring herself to co-ordinate her outfits).
- She’s Wellington born and bred, but Canberra is growing on her. Nah, really it is!
Get in touch with Mel