Nous’ Better Planning Approvals work recognised in Good Design Awards

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Nous Group’s work with Victoria’s Department of Transport and Planning to streamline and improve local planning processes has been recognised in the 2023 Good Design Awards.

Our human-centred design process and co-designed solutions form the cornerstone of Victoria’s highly successful Better Planning Approvals Project and was awarded a Good Design Award accolade in the service design category.

The Good Design Awards, the highest honour for design and innovation in Australia, reward projects across 11 design disciplines. This year, more than 900 entries were evaluated according to design evaluation criteria including Good Design, Design Innovation and Design Impact.

The Good Design Awards Jury said: “It is clear that the minds behind the Better Planning Approvals Project have taken the time to understand the needs of Victorian residents and business owners. This is a fantastic use of co-design that we hope to see more often in government.”

Projects recognised with an Australian Good Design Award demonstrate excellence in professional design and highlight the impact a design-led approach has on business success and social and environmental outcomes.

Nous Principal Brenden Carriker said the team was thrilled to be recognised for their work with the department solving local and system-wide challenges that impact thousands of Victorians every year.

“Victoria has 79 local councils, each with its own structure, system and way of working. With this level of complexity, we knew co-design would be essential in making this program successful and sustainable.”

Over 18 months, Nous worked with the department and local councils to co-design, test and iterate a suite of solutions to improve processing times, user experiences and efficiency.

Using the solution suite to streamline their planning approval processes, more than 30 councils have already taken part in the program. The new learnings, implementation strategies and updated solutions developed in each council implementation are then added to the project so they are available for use by other councils. Nous worked with 19 local councils who participated in the Better Planning Approvals Project.

The project design equips local councils with new processes and tools to serve the needs of applicants, planners and the community while encouraging councils to use design methods and thinking. It promotes a culture of continuous improvement, and more effective collaboration and knowledge-sharing between local governments and with the department.

“The Better Planning Approval Project represents a significant shift in how local councils solve problems to achieve better outcomes,” Brenden said. “That shift would not have been possible without the department’s commitment to co-design and collaboration.”

The Nous project team included Brenden Carriker, Dan Fine, Kasia Mierzejewska, Alannah Tran, Trisha Santhanam, Jasmine Lewin, Cristina Cañiz Perez, Belinda Gaddes, Aidan Jago, Justine Caldwell, Rachel Flitman, Garima Verma, Robert Carreon, Gavin Williams, Linh Do, Lillie McDonagh and Jared Johnson. The Department of Transport and Planning team included Marjan Hajjari, Scott Matheson, Kat Walker, Tara Lambert, Louie Chen, Erin Sckurrie, Chelci Cox and Lisa Saraceni.

“To be recognised with an Australian Good Design Award tells the world this project not only represents design excellence, but it also surpasses the criteria for design innovation and design impact. The Good Design Award is an independent endorsement of professional design quality,” said Dr Brandon Gien, CEO of Good Design Australia and Chair of the Australian Good Design Awards.

This is the third time Nous Group has won a Good Design Award. In 2021, we were recognised for our work with Victoria’s Department of Education and Training and in 2020 we were honoured for our collaboration with Whitelion.

You can read more about the Better Planning Approvals Project work on our website.

Good Design Award Winner Logo
Good Design Award Winner Logo