The pace of life, of technological innovation, and the accompanying transformation of society, are all accelerating. So too are the world's problems. Sometimes it feels like we are charging headlong into an uncertain future.
Hinterland Innovation is human-centred design studio dedicated to carving out better alternatives. We're about taking a moment to reflect in the midst of the chaos, to think deliberately about what the things are that we value—the things that give our lives meaning—and designing structures, systems and services that can help steer us toward a society that enables us to live lives that are connected and meaningful.
We're especially interested in friendship and community, connection to the natural world, and rituals around how we live meaningful lives connected to our values.
In our society, we often identify a cohort of people that have a problem. Perhaps these are people who are 'socially isolated.' Our way to deal with this issue is to usually surround that cohort with services to fix them.
While we believe that social services are essential to the democratic project, there are serious limitations to the kinds of change our service systems can create. Further, the challenge that any cohort faces can almost always be expressed as a symptom of bigger challenges in our broader society. Social isolation, for example, pathologises and personalises a challenge that is in fact structural and societal. We have changed the ways we live, work, and relate to each other so dramatically over the past four generations that our structures in society actively separate us instead of connect us.
For us, the most interesting opportunities are working with broader society. We believe in taking a bigger lens that locates the problem in our broader structures and behaviours.
We're especially interested in connection. How people connect to each other, to nature, to land and place, and to larger meaning in their lives.
Who are we?
Ryan does startups, strategy and social change.
He has more than a decade of experience with work that blends rigour and heart. In addition to Hinterland, he's an associate at The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) where he's worked for the past five years designing strategy, policy and programs for social change organisations.
Prior to Hinterland, Ryan has worked for a digital healthcare startup connecting patients to doctors, an online collaboration startup in London, and a primary school software startup in Austin.
Other projects include helping global non-profit Ashoka to accelerate social innovation in US cities, a stove for rural Guatemalan families, and a product to reduce HIV transmission in Africa.
Ryan studied complex systems and was proudly part of the first class at the start up engineering school Olin. He was later part of the first class at another start up school, the Austin Centre for Design, which was specifically set up to apply design to big social challenges.
Outside of work, Ryan loves mountains, mandolins, and milkshakes.
With a background in political science, music, and climate change organising, Robin brings to Hinterland a fascination with community development, the anatomy of connection, and qualitative research.
With Hinterland, Robin has been involved in projects including a year-long design research piece investigating social capital and close friendship, and an experimental project designed to connect people to nature while re-shaping the community narrative in South Australia about valuing the environment.
Robin has run workshops to build the capability of social enterprises, associations, and large organisations to use human-centred design in shaping up innovative projects.
He has honed his skills as a group facilitator working with individuals in hundreds of sessions with young people as a climate activist and music educator.