Meet our 2019 Graduate Designers
As a company, ThinkPlace strives to do things differently. Our graduate program is just another expression of that ethos.
So as we welcome an exciting (and excited) crop of 2019 graduates we thought we’d reflect on not just what they’ll learn from us but also by what we, as a company and a team, will learn from them.
“As a growing global organisation, we are not after short term gains but looking to foster long term relationships,” Founding Partner John Body says.
“People that join the organisation and grow with it are not only getting shaped by the culture but also shape the culture of the organisation.”
ThinkPlace Australia received a record 123 applications from across the globe for its 2019 graduate program.
And we’re delighted to have 7 new graduates join us full-time at our 3 studios across Australia.
It’s the start of an exciting journey that could see them working on public good projects across Australasia, Asia, Africa, North or South America. Where else might it take them?
Let’s rewind a few years to 2007, when ThinkPlace was still little more than a start-up.
Founder John Body was looking for Employee No. 4 for his (small but) growing team. There were two graduate applicants for this position and one of them was Mark Thompson. Both applicants were asked to interpret an article about the health of the Murray-Darling Basin. While the other candidate drew a cartoon picture of a dead fish, Mark sketched a mind map exploring the complexity of the system, focussing on the issues with managing a large system, the solutions currently in place and proposed future solutions.
Fast forward 12 years to 2019. Mark Thompson is one of the Studio Leads of ThinkPlace Australia, with responsibility for a team of 17 designers.
“One of the things that I like most about ThinkPlace is your autonomy on projects – it means you can go win your own client, choose your own work, run your own projects and there is nothing stopping you other than your own initiative,” says Mark.
“Being on a variety of projects which are complex in nature also means you get to the bigger picture and connections across organisations which they themselves don’t necessarily see.”
The Graduate Program
ThinkPlace is a learning organisation. We are constantly striving to improve, grow and learn. That’s why this year’s graduate program was designed in close consultation with our previous grads.
Through this program we offer a nurturing environment that will serve as a foundation to create the impact they want to have on the world.
“We are not a culture that is like a parent-child relationship,” John Body says. “We are a partnership. We partner with the graduates for their development, so they have an accountability as much as we do to them.”
Leigh Parker, an award-winning academic, and John Fowlie - former Olympic Swimming coach - will actively engage the graduates in a learning model that includes one-on-one sessions, intensive learning activities and active participation in their personal development and growth.
Who are our Graduate Designers?
Our graduates not only come from different parts of the world but also from diverse backgrounds including Anthropology, Web Design, Psychology, Economics and Finance.
Want to meet them?
When Lauren finished her dual degree in Economics/Arts, she was quite open with her career choices but had an unwavering commitment to make a positive difference in the world.
She is currently obsessed with content on the web about achieving zero-waste. She says, “I find them very inspiring in terms of adopting more sustainable practices in my own life. Although I may be far away from getting all my trash to fit in one jar, I enjoy the challenge of changing one habit at a time and reflecting on the overall impact I am potentially making.”
As Grace was studying web design and production, she thought there was definitely more to design than colour and layout. She wanted to be part of a company that makes positive social change.
Currently, she finds herself gravitating towards the podcast ‘Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness’ by Jonathan who brings in different experts on a wide variety of topics/issues to discuss an overall question that he is curious about. She says, “It’s great to hear someone who is genuinely wanting to learn as well as being themselves - it’s a fun time and I get to learn along the way!”
With a background in economics and finance, Lachlan has recently moved to Canberra.
He says, “Since moving to Canberra I have been enjoying visiting the different museum feature galleries and special exhibitions on offer. I find taking in the stories and history attached to different artefacts moving and very inspiring!”
A recent graduate of Master of Social Research at ANU, Sneha’s thinking towards market research and social behaviours took a big shift when she worked in the health and sanitation sector during her time in India. It anchored her determination to contribute towards positive social change.
She is currently reading ‘Born a Crime’ by the South African stand-up comedian, Trevor Noah. She says, “What I love about the book is the way in which he is able to describe such complex societal changes in a deeply meaningful and sensitive way. Following his journey into him becoming the comedian he is today has been quite inspirational.”
Coming from a Digital/Graphic and socio-cultural Anthropology background, Alana was inspired by ThinkPlace and its works during her time at ADHA.
She is currently loving a book that she received as a Christmas present – Factfulness by Hans Rosling. She says, “It is challenging a lot of assumptions I had about the world and making me realise that living conditions around the world have drastically improved and continue to do so.”
With a background in Strategic Policy Development and Anthropology, Natasha was drawn to ThinkPlace because of the emphasis on human-centred-design and recognising complexity.
Currently reading ‘Indonesia Etc.’ by Elizabeth Pisani, she says, “I’m currently really enjoying reading for pleasure, novels as well as non-fiction! I’m finding reading books on different topics and by new authors exciting and rewarding in offering new perspectives and ideas.”
Tessa, who grew up in a small town in New Zealand studied Anthropology and Marketing. She saw the potential of crowd-sourcing and set up a club at her Uni aiming to bring together alternate methods and thinking for a sustainable future from students, staff and other members of various backgrounds.
She is currently reading ‘Chapter One’ by ThankYou founder Daniel Flynn, which focuses on the organisation’s unconventional journey, the challenges and thrills of leadership, and the power of individuals to make a difference.