Finalist 2020

Human-Centred Design Playbook

Mathan Ratinam / Sophie Turner / Peta Fawcett

This design guide has been created for Victorian public servants who are designing, procuring or managing human-centred design (HCD) projects

It was developed primarily for public servants who are new to the HCD practice to expand their design literacy, increase the success rate of design-led projects, and to promote the most optimal collaborations and outcomes with design teams embedded in government departments and external design agencies. The HCD Playbook is a freely available resource and can be viewed and downloaded at

Design Excellence

The HCD Playbook was produced by the Service Design team within the Digital, Design and Innovation branch. It was created through a participatory design process involving 50+ participants from across the public sector, private sector and academia. The process brought together the most contemporary understanding of Victorian citizens’ needs, the responsibilities of the public sector, and the unique activities and value of design-led practices. The playbook is a synthesis of these three aspects, producing a practical guide for addressing the needs of Victorians through design.

Design Impact

Since its release in early 2020 the HCD Playbook has been used by various teams across the Victorian government to develop services addressing family violence, mental health, bushfire recovery and bespoke technology products within government. It has also contributed to the capability uplift of public servants by increasing their creative confidence, demystifying human-centred design and de-risking the adoption of HCD into their work. Currently HCD is being employed to better understand the unmet needs of citizens who have been negatively impacted by Coronavirus and the emerging challenges that will need to be serviced by the public sector.

Design Transformation

Since its release the Service Design team and the Digital, Design and Innovation branch have been contacted by other local and state governments across Australia, the European Commission, civil society organisations and the private sector seeking advice on how to better integrate HCD practices into their own operations.

Design Innovation

There are many HCD playbooks, guides and toolkits available. This guide is unique because it was written for the context of the Victorian public sector and the 250,000+ members that make up the public service. It seeks to make the design process more accessible by combining HCD methods and outputs into a set of design plans. The design plans are the key feature of this playbook and what separates it from others in circulation as they provide structural guidance and detailed methods to match design-led activities with the various resource envelopes (budgets and timeframes) and processes of government.