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Canberra Innovation Month presents

Can policymakers be trusted with our wellbeing?

Panel discussion


24th July 2018


Senate Chamber, Old Parliament House
18 King George Terrace, Parkes, Canberra, ACT


Jo Wood
Nicholas Gruen
Anthony McGuinness



Good policy finds truth in the world and leads to lasting and repeatable action and outcomes. But can we trust our wellbeing with those who have been empowered to make policy? In this panel discussion, a group of experts will explore how design might be used to create more effective and appropriate policy responses, while creating a tighter feedback loop between the implementation and its effects on the ground. As design in policy gains traction as an emerging field, what are the opportunities, risks, and challenges in integrating this new approach?

As part of Canberra Innovation MonthMentally Friendly is hosting the event in the Senate Chamber in Old Parliament House, the very seats where public policy was debated and shaped for decades. So come to this session featuring perspectives from industry-leading policymakers, designers, and community members, and join in the interactive panel discussion inspired by your surrounds and its rich democratic history.

This event is for anyone interested in how design changes the way we interact with each other, its effects on our culture as a whole, and are open to challenging the current approach and frame of reference that shapes policy making today.


Jo Wood, Coordinator-General for Family Safety, ACT Government: Jo has championed the co-design of the Family Safety Hub in the ACT by working with community sector agencies and service providers to prototype and design ways to best integrate services across government and the community sector to address family violence.

Nicholas Gruen, CEO Lateral Economics: Nicholas is the CEO of Lateral Economics and is a widely published policy economist, entrepreneur and commentator on innovation and public policy. He is a Visiting Professor at Kings College London and Adjunct Professor at UTS. He chairs the Open Knowledge Foundation (Australian Chapter) and is Patron of the Australian Digital Alliance.

Anthony McGinness, Policy Design Director, Mentally Friendly: Anthony is Mentally Friendly’s Policy Design Director and leads our Canberra studio. He has been a strategic adviser, consultant and business analyst to government and not-for-profit organisations for over fifteen years, driving citizen-centric policy formulation and implementation. He is recognised as a leading thinker in the areas of social justice and youth engagement.

For more information visit the event page.

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