Co-design capability uplift for Creative Victoria

At Portable, we believe in the power of co-design as a tool for designing government services and programmes to better meet the needs of their users. When those with the power and responsibility to make a positive change can work shoulder-to-shoulder with those who need it, wonderful things can happen. That’s why we were so excited by the opportunity to work with Creative Victoria to introduce and train their team in co-design, and together design strategies for and with the creative industries in Victoria.

In September 2019 Creative Victoria engaged Portable to help them develop ideas for new initiatives and programs to support the creative industries. 

Creative Victoria is part of the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions and is the Victorian Government body dedicated to supporting, championing and growing the state’s creative industries, spanning arts, culture, screen and design. Creative Victoria is responsible for leading the development and delivery of programs and initiatives to support the creative industries. 

There were two main focuses of the project:

  1. Use co-design to actively involve their stakeholders in the development of new initiatives and programs for the creative industries
  2. Develop co-design capability within Creative Victoria to build staff's participatory knowledge and skills.

Public sector organisations are increasingly using co-design to address complex problems through deeper engagement with stakeholders. Creative Victoria recognised that their programs needed to be developed in a way that maximised relevance and impact for people from across the creative industries. 

Portable’s role was to pass on our deep knowledge and expertise in co-design by coaching team members from across Creative Victoria. To do this we supported three multi-disciplinary teams to learn and apply co-design methods to these three real-world problems.

We mapped our approach and the phases of the project to the double diamond, the design process model popularised by the British Design Council in 2005. We explored each segment of the diamond with the staff at Creative Victoria and the mindsets which direct each of these segments on the journey from finding the right problem to finding the right solution.

Our Approach:

Initial training

Our Head of Design, Joe Sciglitano, ran an introductory talk on the power of co-design to the wider staff team at Creative Victoria to introduce staff to the project and possibilities of co-design. Each team participated in an initial two days of co-design training, facilitated by Portable, to familiarise them with the key mindsets and tools of co-design. We then hosted kick-off workshops with each team to develop a shared understanding of their specific problem space and create a tailored co-design approach for their workshops.

Workshop facilitation

Each team then designed and hosted co-design workshops with people from across the creative industries. We co-designed with people from literature, visual arts, video game design, fashion, performing arts, music and theatre. Portable initially led the facilitation but over time the Creative Victoria team took more of the lead role as their skills and confidence in co-design grew.


Outside of these workshops, we coached the teams to work with the insights gathered. Together we developed and prioritised design challenges and generated different ideas that might solve these challenges. These ideas were then shared and tested with co-design participants and we shortlisted the concepts endorsed by participants.

Retrospective workshop

Each staff team at Creative Victoria then participated in a combined retrospective workshop to reflect on their key learnings, understand what worked well and what could be improved and how they might grow their co-design practice at Creative Victoria.

Capability building framework

We then delivered a detailed capability building and insights report to document the experience of co-designing with the creative industries. This included the development of key artefacts to support each team in the future including presentation decks and journey maps.


We then co-presented with each team at an internal Creative Victoria showcase to share the key learnings, recommendations and artefacts across the organisation.


  • Our work helped Creative Victoria to develop and test a series of concepts to support the creative industries, co-designed with those who work in the creative industries.  
  • The project helped establish Creative Victoria's co-design practice. 
  • We coached 18 multi-disciplinary team members in co-design, setting them up to champion co-design.

Download our report on co-designing with purpose

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