Our mission is to seek out areas of social need and policy failure and make transformational change using research, design and technology.
We believe that government, organisations and businesses can be forces for good. But there's a gap in their understanding of, and ability to meet, the expectations of those in need of positive change. Our job is to use design and technology to narrow that gap between those with the power and responsibility to make positive change, and those who need it.
We care about these big issues, among many others, and we work with partners to get there across Australia and the region. But often we find ourself in situations where there are opportunities to respond directly to issues we uncover. We do this by self initiating our own research and development to explore and respond to these issues. Some of these areas over the past decade include:
- Mental health: we work with organisations like Orygen and Headspace to enhance delivery of youth mental health services.
- Education: we're on a mission to unlearn school and have worked with Australia's biggest education department to bring human-centred design to public schooling.
- Access to justice: our 10-year journey to redesign access to justice includes pioneering work in online dispute resolution and family violence.
- Death and ageing: ageing and death are in need of optimism, and we believe that systems thinking and human-centred design can be a force for good — so we wrote a report about it.
Guided by values
We care about doing good work.
Good work means quality work, but also work that matters. At Portable, we care about and talk about what makes our work good from both perspectives. We think carefully about what good looks like and set clear expectations on what we set out to achieve. And we seek to understand and connect the good work we're doing to our purpose. We're proud of what we deliver. We never phone it in or tick the box.
We get stuck in when there's work to be done, but recognise that sometimes doing good work consistently actually means stepping away for a while, and that's okay. And we don't "go rogue" when it comes to doing what we believe is good work. We respect the plan the team has created and if that plan needs to change, we agree on a new plan as a team.
We try new things.
At Portable, we frequently share and test new ideas and processes, and we make space for everyone to contribute to that. There's usually a better way, and we're flexible enough to explore those possibilities. We're curious and creative and go wide for learning and inspiration.
We experiment purposefully in order to find the right solution. We push ourselves to try new things, but at the same time, make it safe for ourselves and others to fail.
We are in it together.
At Portable, we work as a team. We don't believe in hero efforts where individuals go off on their own. We believe good work happens when we collaborate well to achieve our goals. When we make a commitment to others, we stick to it. When things go wrong, we don't point fingers, but we take responsibility for our part.
When we can't deliver on our commitments, we let our team know as early as possible. We get that sometimes people get stuck, and that's okay. We're brave enough to ask for help, and accept and encourage others to do the same. We speak honestly and build real relationships with each other. We do the work it takes to understand others and actively include their unique perspectives and differences. And throughout it all, we remember to let fun bubble up around the work.
We learn through feedback.
Portable is a place to learn and grow. When things go well, we celebrate and build on the success, but when they don't, we make sure we take the time to reflect and learn. We learn from and utilise our teammates' strengths whilst supporting them to work on their weaknesses.
We give respectful feedback that helps others learn and grow and we actively seek it from others to improve our work. When we receive feedback at Portable, we acknowledge it respectfully so that people feel safe to share feedback again.
Proud to B-Corp
We have always been driven by a mission to use technology to help transform sectors and industries.
As a company and a group of individuals, we’re proud to be recognised as a B-Corp, an organisation that seeks to create value for their stakeholders by looking after its customers, employees, organisational community and overall environment. B-Corps help generate equality in the workplace and show commitment to redefining what matters most to their working community. You can find out more about our B-Corp Certification here.
R&D for a purpose
Self-initiated research and development in areas we care about
We have an active program of self-initiated research and development in areas we care about, think we can make positive change and use design to speculate on the future and create discussion. We use our R&D insights to contribute to government inquiries and commissions, such as to the Australian Human Rights Commission, NSW Law Reform Commission Australian Government Department of Health's Aged Care Charter of Rights. We've worked in:
- access to justice
- government innovation
- death and ageing
- future of work
- rethinking not-for-profits
- taking back retail
- the new infrastructure
As part of our mission to help identify areas of social need and policy failure, we as a team actively look to give back to communities in need. We do this by prioritising areas of focus and allowing mechanisms to make donations possible within the company.
Pro bono work
We regularly contribute to some or all of a project's hours to under-resourced causes we care about.
As of July 2020, we have directly funded communities around the world to make change, through micro-loans. To date we have loaned over $250,000 USD. See our Lending Team Impact Report, which graphs our progress over the past year.