Portable is growing and we are looking for passionate and motivated people to join our awesome team!  

Here at Portable

We care about people and the world. We seek out areas of social need and policy failure and make transformational change using research, design and technology. Our clients are as passionate as we are and are working in government agencies, nonprofit organisations and socially-minded businesses.

There are currently 60+ of us working as researchers, strategists, designers, technologists and producers towards our mission from our studio in Collingwood and working remotely from around Australia. Our Design team is made up of 20+ multidisciplinary human centred designers who work to understand and define the needs of people and organisations and bring them through a design process towards impactful solutions.


Then there's you

A Lead Design Strategist who loves working closely with a courageous and talented bunch of researchers, designers and strategists to empower them to solve real problems for real people. As a Lead at Portable, your job is first and foremost to provide support, guidance and learning for the people you lead.

You work to create the right conditions for discovery, empathy, collaboration, creativity and experimentation to thrive. You ensure that the people in your team have the capability to deliver on their projects. You also work to ensure that the design practice is regularly improved through the contribution of new tools, processes, methodologies and approaches.

You're an authority in the practice of Human Centred Design, and use your broad and deep experience delivering high quality work to guide team members towards best practice methodologies and impactful outcomes across service design, business design, co-design, human-centered research, prototyping and testing of products and services.

Whilst you can sit in the ambiguity of complex problems, you're solution-focused. When problems arise, you don't just flag them; you take the responsibility to find solutions and bring others on that journey with you. You are comfortable assessing and making reasoned compromises and can support others to do the same.

You're human-centred not only in your approach to design, but in your ability to lead with empathy and have courageous conversations with people and clients at all levels of experience. As a leader, you have the social and emotional skills to build the engagement of your team in their work, and give effective feedback that helps them learn and grow.


You'll be expected to have knowledge and experience in these areas:

  • Deep knowledge of HCD methodologies and application to a variety of problems, large and small
  • Demonstrated experience managing, mentoring and leading designers and teams to deliver great design work—’leadership’ means something to you as a practice
  • Experience creating the conditions within an organisation for designers and a design process to thrive
  • Growing knowledge of emerging methodologies and technologies that inform a design practice to solve bigger, more complex problems
  • Experience working and leading in multi-disciplinary teams from research through to delivery


Expertise you may have that would compliment our team's experience:

  • Service design
  • Systems thinking and design in complex systems
  • Policy design
  • Change management
  • Experience with measurement and evaluation for social impact
  • Academic and ethnographic research
  • Co-design and design research with people from diverse backgrounds, including those experiencing vulnerable circumstances
  • Experience in organisational change and large scale transformation projects
  • Subject matter expertise in a particular area of need, such as one of our impact areas (justice, mental health, family violence, government innovation, aged care)


As a Lead, you’ll be expected to deliver the following outcomes:

  • You and the people you lead are delivering high quality work on time and on budget
  • You and the people you lead are engaged, growing and performing
  • You make quality contributions to the organisational and discipline strategy, and own the execution of an agreed number of initiatives
  • You and the people you lead have the capability and tools to deliver on their projects
  • The practice in your discipline is regularly improved through the contribution of new or improved tools, processes, methodologies and approaches
  • You and the people you lead are engaged in and contributing to Portable as a business


If you were here last week, you may have:

  • Provided guidance and feedback to the team on a workshop to help a not for profit executive team of a palliative care organisation design their digital strategy and roadmap
  • Coached a member of the team who reports to you to grow their capability presenting research insights to senior stakeholders
  • Shaped the conceptual approach to a large and complex mental health project involving over 150 research participants from diverse backgrounds, lived experiences and situations
  • Negotiated with our Production team and the client on the scope and timeframes for a project based on new learning emerging throughout the process
  • Helped your team get unstuck whilst in synthesis of insights and user stories resulting from research on barriers faced by Aboriginal people when accessing justice online
  • Ran an internal workshop to help create a more inclusive recruitment process for research participants
  • Researched and developed a new policy to improve our ethical research practice across the team
  • Planned and facilitated a Design discipline meeting with the rest of the design team to share practice reflections and insights
  • Shared something weird and wonderful that you're strangely passionate about at our weekly Design Safari, where anyone can share the things from outside our work that inspire them
  • Taken some time out on a Friday afternoon to join the team for some pictionary, trivia or a game of ‘would you rather’ to see out the week
  • Presented an update to Senior Leadership on your team's progress toward strategic goals


Here’s some of what we do to support the experience and wellbeing of our team:

  • We support a flexible working environment whether its from home or the office or a cafe
  • We're a family-friendly company who offer parental leave and part-time arrangements to allow for things like pick-ups and drop-offs or sick children
  • We’re feedback-friendly culture, where we make space for open and respectful sharing of feedback that helps us grow
  • We support our team taking mental health days as personal leave that they don’t need to explain or have a medical certificate for
  • Employee Assistance Program with The Mindroom for general wellbeing check-ins, assistance with career planning, or working through difficult or challenging circumstances
  • Twice-yearly salary reviews with no minimum service period
  • Our team can grow their career with our structured career pathways, generous professional development allowance and hands-on learning opportunities
  • Ongoing leadership coaching and development for leaders in the business
  • Indigenous cultural awareness training for our entire team
  • We work on meaningful projects that seek to have a positive impact in the world
  • Referral programs in place that can earn team members $1500 per successful referral


Remuneration for this role:

The salary band for this role is between $120,000 - $150,000 per annum (plus superannuation), depending on your level of experience. Our salary bands are reviewed twice a year and externally verified to ensure we remain competitive with market rates.


How to apply:

We are committed to building a diverse and equal team. People from underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.

To be considered for this role, please send us your resume and a short cover letter answering the questions below. Case studies are appreciated but not a requirement to be considered.

  • What’s attracted you to this role and why do you think it would be a good fit for you?
  • Tell us the most valuable thing you’ve learned about yourself as a leader over the past few years leading people (and how you learned it!)
  • Tell us about a time you guided a designer or team of designers to successfully balance a human-centered approach to a complex problem with the constraints of the client, the budget and the timeline. How did you manage this?

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