Indigenous Designer Award


The Indigenous Designer Award is proudly presented by RMIT and is part of the annual Good Design Awards.

The Award was established to recognise and celebrate the important contribution that Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander designers make to Australian Design across the spectrum of design disciplines and practice. The Award is selected by RMIT and Indigenous Community representatives, who evaluate the entries based on specific evaluation criteria.

To be eligible for this award at least one member of the design team must identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

The 2019 Indigenous Designer Award Winner

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Career Pathways Service


In a public sector first, the Queensland Government has designed a just-in-time, human-centred service that is built with and around the strengths of First Nations people’s leadership and networks. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Career Pathways Service tackles the under-representation of First Nations public servants in leadership positions using human-centred design and systems thinking.

The project also received the Best in Class Award for Sevice Design, Public Sector Services.

THE CHALLENGE was to address the underrepresentation of First Nations’ public servants in senior leadership positions in the Queensland public service by supporting their career progression. Under-representation is a significant, long-term and systemic problem across all governments because it means less influence over policy decisions that affect First Nations communities. Previous attempts to address the problem have been ineffective. They have been siloed and have failed to address the culture, politics and practices of workplaces, upon which career progression is dependent. We, therefore, needed to design for all of these aspects and for the individuals who work in this system.

THE SOLUTION wasn’t simple as the design had to reconcile difficult histories and build new bridges in relation to culture, politics, practices and individuals’ views and behaviours around career progression. Human-centred design gave a framework to design a person-centred service that is built around all players in the system. HR, managers and Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander participants draw on the service over the lifetime of their employment, whenever they need it. It offers development opportunities in technical and leadership skills, job mobility, coaching, reflective practice and events, wrapped around a culturally safe service provision. The back-end consolidates existing programs into one streamlined pool, reducing government siloes.

THE IMPACT depended largely on creating meaningful participation, critical for the design of services for First Nations people. For the first time in this space that a service has been designed truly bottom-up, involving 300+ people over two years. The ultimate impacts are two-fold.

1. The service contributes to advancement for First Nations people by incubating existing talent and accelerating their progression, impacting up to 6300 people sector-wide.

2. It drives efficiencies by operating through a pooled-funding model. It drives efficiencies in the Queensland government’s learning and development pool, worth millions of $ annually, by breaking down siloes and creating alignment in its procurement.

DESIGNED BY: Queensland Public Service Commission and Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

COMMISSIONED BY: Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships

The 2018 inaugural Indigenous Designer Award was presented to the Australian Indigenous Design CharterThe Australian Indigenous Design Charter was designed in Australia and was created to address the issues of appropriation and respectful representation of Indigenous (Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander) culture in design practice and education. This document offers best-practice protocols for designers both Indigenous and non-Indigenous who are working with Indigenous knowledge to ensure respectful, Indigenous-led, collaborative processes.

To be considered for the Indigenous Designer Award, submit your entry into the 2020 Good Design Awards. Entries close 27 March 2020. 

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