Rohann Dorabjee, Design Computing (Honours) student, University of Sydney.

Industry scouts for digital disrupters at graduate show

16 November 2015

A growing number of leading Australian companies are supporting the University of Sydney’s annual Design Lab graduate show to find and nurture the brightest emerging talent for the new era of digital disruption.

Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), Commonwealth Bank, Deloitte Digital, and IBM have joined several long-standing UX (user experience) industry supporters to sponsor this year’s show, Anthelion, which opens at the University of Sydney’s Tin Sheds Gallery on Thursday, 26 November.

The exhibition is the final showcase of work by students completing a Bachelor of Design Computing and Master of Interaction Design & Electronic Arts. The show represents the intersection of two worlds: design and technology - an essential skillset in today’s thriving UX industry that is driving digital innovation.

Associate Professor Martin Tomitsch, Head of Design Lab and Director of Design Computing at the University of Sydney says that the graduating students are in high demand from industry every year.

As technology becomes embedded in the world around us, how we experience the world and do business is being reconstructed through the lens of technology.
Martin Tomitsch

“Our students have the design thinking and technical skills that can reshape the way we interact with our physical, social and cultural environment.

“The works in the show represent the varied ways our students approach and respond to designing and creating meaningful and user-friendly experiences at home, on the street, in the workplace and virtually,” said Tomitsch.

PwC’s Dr Crighton Nichols leads the innovation team in PwC's internal core technologies group. He believes that the Design Computing and MIDEA graduates are very well equipped to contribute to today’s digital world, in which user-experience is critical.

”Digital disruption is transforming the way PwC works with our clients. Our engagements are more collaborative and informed by data, often from multiple sources that need to be consolidated. The resulting insights then need to be communicated clearly, which requires creative data visualisation to be truly effective.

“The ability to take a design-thinking approach to working with clients to understand the problem then iterate through possible solutions using lean, agile methodologies is essential to achieving our vision to solve complex problems that are important to society," said Dr Crighton Nichols, Innovator and Enterprise Architect, PwC.

Disruptive thinker and University of Sydney graduate Victoria Adams is a UX designer in the innovation team at PwC, who was recruited on the spot by Nichols at last year’s show.

“I met Crighton at the design computing showcase through one of the lecturers, and started talking UX, design and innovation," Adams said. "Shortly after giving him my website, I was in the interview room – a few times – and a year later, I am 10 months into my job at PwC."

This year’s Anthelion show sees 57 students present new ideas and design challenges across robotics and drones, mobile apps, 3D modelling, interactive digital installations, and wearable technology.

Among some of the unique ideas on show are Waterbender, a smart home app to track and control water usage; Home Command, an app for automated home devices controlling lighting, doors and alarms; You’re the Superhero, a fun interactive installation for children in hospital to assist with their recovery; and KneeTech, a wearable device that monitors patient progress after Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstructive surgery.

“Some works are experimental ideas for now, but may become central to how we experience the world and live our lives in the future. The exhibition provides a place for industry to meet and see the many and varied imaginings of our students,” said Tomitsch.

An Anthelion is a term used in astronomy to describe a rare optical phenomenon that appears in the form of a white halo occurring at the intersection of anthelic arcs. The title for the exhibition emerged as a metaphor for the way the University of Sydney graduates and their skills are situated at the intersection of design and technology.