Australia Post has partnered with RMIT's School of Media and Communication and School of Design to explore new products and services.
The Emerging Products team is an internal incubator within Australia Post comprised of product managers, designers, user experience (UX) researchers and developers, whose objective is to identify new products or services for Australia Post.
Steven Bladeni, Head of Product – Emerging Product Incubator at Australia Post, said partnering with external organisations is an essential part of driving innovation at Australia Post.
“With RMIT, we see a great opportunity to tap into the emerging talent within universities, whilst also giving back to students with the opportunity to work with us on a real business problem and get exposure to how an organisation like Australia Post operates,” he said.
“With Australia Post staff regularly engaging with students throughout the semester, our collaboration with RMIT also gives our staff the opportunity to coach and mentor students, which is an essential part of their career development.”
Students in the Master of Communication Design are working on new products, while Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) and Bachelor of Communication (Advertising) students are coming up with ideas and campaigns for an internal ideation portal.
At the end of the semester, students will present their findings to a panel at Australia Post, with the potential for this to feed into the development of a new product or service.
Associate Professor Brad Haylock, who is the program manager for the Master of Communication said the project is a three-week discovery sprint, looking to understanding incoming international students' experiences as they settle in Australia, and graduating students' experiences of transition into their careers.
The work, undertaken by students in teams of two or three, comprises field research, analysis and customer journey mapping, to help Australia Post better understand customers' experiences and to inform future product development.
Student Beckie Kenworthy said working on the Service Design industry partnership project with Australia Post has been a challenging but rewarding experience.
“Our group came with very little knowledge or understanding of the concepts and processes of service design, and with the support of the Australia Post team and our tutor, Kate Fayle, we worked together harmoniously to produce a project outcome we are all proud of,” she said.
Bachelor of Design (Digital Media) students have been collaborating with students in the Bachelor of Communication (Advertising), using their skills in UX design and interactive media to develop a web-based user interface that streamlines processes and encourages employee and management participation in a user-friendly and social way.
Advertising lecturer Kerin Elsum said students learn by working in an interdisciplinary studio format on this complex, live brief that engages them in branding, UX, public relations, advertising and corporate culture.
“Students work in small teams with their studio tutor, who helps them to navigate the process from idea generation to prototype,” she said.
“Teams also meet with their Australia Post mentors at the start when they are briefed in, halfway through for feedback on their conceptual ideas and at the end when they pitch their prototype and business model.”
Laetitia Shand, Manager of Partnerships and Work Integrated Learning in the School of Media and Communication said these final year and postgraduate projects always generate new perspectives and ideas for a partner.
“The level of ability demonstrated and experience gained by students on the projects means that some of the top students and graduates also go on to paid roles at Australia Post – in roles including digital product management and UX research.”
Insights captured from the work of participating RMIT students will be used to help evaluate the potential for Australia Post to develop new offerings that help solve complex problems for students.
Story: Wendy Little