24 January 2019

6:00 pm to 8:00 pm


Academy Xi, Level 3, 45 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Event Details

When most people think of leadership, they think of the Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos of the world. For many designers, embarking on the path to leadership risks the chance of losing their craft and simply managing people. But what if it didn’t have to be this way?

According to Aarron Walter and Eli Woolery in their book the Design Leadership Handbook, leaders within design are no longer playing an instrument — but they are now conducting the orchestra.

Overcoming the challenges of facing different types of people and the ability to match business goals to design, presents many opportunities for the next generation of design leaders. How do these industry forces transform designers into leaders, and in turn foster innovation?

At our coming event, How Design Leadership is Steering Innovation, get insights into:

  • What does it mean to be a good leader in design?
  • What qualities, skills, and attributes are required from the top design leaders?
  • Why design needs leaders, and what are the implications of these leaders in the industry?
  • The differences between design leadership and design management


Philippe Guichard

Founder of D2 Design and Development

Philippe Guichard is an award-winning, international Industrial Designer, with over 25 years of experience. He has launched numerous successful products, which has been aided by his background in mechanical engineering. In 2013 he founded his Melbourne design studio, D2 Design and Development. Philippe is also the founder of Cablestop; a cable management device, which was successfully funded on Kickstarter. Overall, Philippe’s designs have helped reached over $200Millions in sales.

Philippe’s vision is to help change the way we produce and consume “things” by designing purposeful products and companies, ultimately for the triple bottom line: profitability, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. Philippe is passionate about making a positive difference to the world through his work as a designer and through sharing his ideas as a professional speaker.

Melis Senova

Founder, Author and Speaker

Melis is a well known thought-leader in human-centred design, founder of strategic design consultancy, Huddle and author of This Human. Melis is a recognised executive coach working locally and internationally, she is also the founder of Huddle Academy, a school focussed on building creative problem solving capabilities for individuals and organisations. She is a two times SXSW speaker and sought after voice on topics of design and leadership.

Melis brings multiple disciplines to her practice of human-centred design. She is a biomedical engineer, a published author in peer reviewed journals in the field of Neuroscience (study of brain dynamics using brain imaging), and Audio Engineering (understanding the equivalence of virtual 3D audio to human hearing in the natural environment).

Melis is also a member of Creative Victoria’s Creative State Advisory Board, and sits on the advisory board for A Vision for Australia—a series of Annual Economic Summits hosted by Global Access Partners.

Dan Johnston

Director of Design at Culture Amp

Dan is Director of Design at employee feedback platform Culture Amp, which lists Netflix, Airbnb, and InVision as customers. Previously, he held UX Director roles at e-commerce platform BigCommerce and Domain Group, home of Australia’s favourite property app.

But if you'd asked him at the start of his career, Design would probably be the last place he'd have expected to end up. With a Degree in Biotech and a Ph.D. in Medical Informatics, his early years were spent in startup land, before taking the plunge and switching continents and careers.

Remya Ramesh

Senior Manager Design at REA Group

An outspoken advocate for inclusive design, Remya Ramesh is passionate about building and growing diverse design teams to deliver outstanding business results. Currently, she is the Senior Manager Design at REA Group where she leads a multidisciplinary design team changing the way the world experiences property.

As a one-time engineer, it’s no surprise that Remya’s interest in technology straddles UX design and product development. She holds an MBA from Melbourne Business School and a Masters degree in Cyber Security from RMIT. Great at connecting dots, a multifaceted background in business, design and technology is her strength.

Featured as one of GovInsider's ‘Women in GovTech’, Remya was the recipient of 2017 #TechDiversity award and 2015 Gold Disruptor Award for the Young ICT Professional (Female under 30) category of the ACS Digital Disruptor Awards. She also co-runs the Ladies That UX and Web Accessibility & Inclusive Design meetup groups in Melbourne.

Outside of work, you can find her performing Indian classical dance, climbing mount "tsundoku" and discovering new food joints.

Michael Leigh

Head of User Experience at Vicinity Centres

As the Head of UX at Vicinity Centres, Michael leads the discovery, ideation, delivery, and in market management of digital customer experiences that enhance the Vicinity digital portfolio and its physical offering. As part of his role, he is also responsible for assessing external digital opportunities and threats relating to Vicinity’s retail portfolio (including Chadstone and Emporium). Michael is a passionate and thoughtful leader, focussing on not only the customer, but also the designers and their career progressions, to get the most out of his people. Michael is passionate about data & analytics, testing & inclusive design.

Dates and fees


24 January 2019

6:00 pm ~ 8:00 pm



Academy Xi,
Level 3,
45 Exhibition St,
Melbourne VIC 3000

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