QUT Design Lab and Matthew Flinders Anglican College ➤ Design for Impact Summit 2020

Design for Impact Summit 2020: Imagining the Maroochydore City Centre in 2050


The Design for Impact Summit 2020 was a two-day design thinking immersion experience for Senior Primary students as part of a research collaboration between QUT Design Lab’s Dr Natalie Wright (Co-lead Design-led Learning and Practice group, Designing Creative and Resilient Communities program) and staff at Matthew Flinders Anglican College in Buderim, Queensland. It is modelled on previous programs conceived and facilitated at State Library of Queensland by Les Hooper, former HOD Art and Design from Kelvin Grove State College for the Queensland Government G20 Cultural Program 2014 and QPAC Out of the Box Festival 2016. The program was lead by QUT Masters student Leighann Ness Wilson and design teacher Justin Hill.

Building on the Primary School’s i-Impact program which aims to embed design thinking throughout their primary curriculum, the Design for Impact Summit gave students experience as ‘future thinkers’ in active democratic participation and the power of collective decision making, as they designed and prototyped the Maroochydore City Centre for 2050. Local community members and design professionals with specific industry expertise joined the students to disrupt their thinking and develop empathy with different stakeholders. During the Summit, Dr Wright ran concurrent professional learning sessions for attending teachers to further their understanding and application of design thinking for contemporary learning.

Referencing the award-winning Sunshine Coast Council Design Strategy principles, the event showcases a best practice model for youth engagement and consultation in the design of the future Sunshine Coast, thereby addressing the vision of the Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 to build healthy, vibrant, inclusive, connected, and creative communities. It is hoped that it may be a catalyst for further design-led, community-focused programs and the development of a Sunshine Coast Council Youth Strategy to ensure young people are actively engaged, empowered and celebrated on the Sunshine Coast. The program culminated in the official ‘opening of the city’ by local Sunshine Coast Councillor Ted Hungerford.

The program was featured on Sunshine Coast WIN TV News on 7th October and in the Courier Mail on 10th October 2020.

The QUT Design Lab would like to thank Matthew Flinders Anglican College Principal Mr Stuart Meade, Head of Primary Trudi Edwards and teachers Debbie Planck and Sophie Honeybourne.

Dr Natalie Wright, co-lead of the QUT Design Lab Design-led Learning & Practice Research Group, said the workshops showcased the importance of design as a framework for transformative student engagement and development of 21st century skills, critical to prepare our workforce of the future. “The kids of today will be the leaders of tomorrow trying to live and work in the Maroochydore City Centre in 2050, so early awareness of the city design process, and design thinking as a skill and mindset for lifelong learning and adaptability, is key,” Dr Wright said.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody”. Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American CitieFor further information contact:


Dr Natalie Wright
Senior Lecturer in interior Design | School of Design, Faculty of Creative Industries
QUT Design Lab Co-lead Design-led Learning & Practice Research Group | Designing for Creative & Resilient Communities Program
Member QUT Centre for Inclusive Education
e n.wright@qut.edu.au | m 0411 330 875


More information on the Design for Impact Summit (including videos/photos/description of activities) can be found at twitter handle @DFISummit or @Brisbane_Design