Chatting with DFM Alumni: Amelia Iverson

Jessica Newnham, DFM Communications Assistant

11 August 2020

Read about how Business student Amelia Iverson’s experience with DFM shaped her future path.
Can you describe Design Factory Melbourne in three words? Buzzing, collaborative, connection-point.

What sort of projects did you work on at DFM? In the Toolbox Class, we got to work on prototyping. For one of the exercises, we had to create a catapult out of cardboard. With that catapult, we had to activate three different switches with a metal ball and then launch a plastic ball, many metres away from each other. We also had to transform a remote-control car into an amphibious vehicle – it had to actually go through water, which I found really cool. Finally, I did an industry project as part of the Innovation Challenge, where my team and I worked with Seek to come up with a career guide for young people to be put on Seek’s website.  

What was your favourite DFM memory? Probably the Toolbox Class. Because you’re not working with industry yet, it is quite low-risk. You actually get the time to practice abstract skills –I mean, turning a remote-control car into an amphibious vehicle isn’t something that you’re doing every day. Completing that challenge felt very rewarding, and I developed lots of really great transferable skills. I also met some great long-term friends and my partner out of that class. So, yeah – the best.
What skills has DFM taught you? Collaboration and working with people from different backgrounds. I worked with industrial designers, engineers and their business people, which was really greatThis definitely enhanced my communication skills because you have to be so clear collaborating with other people, making sure your intentions are defined in every sentence.  

And then you’re also working with a prototype – so you’ve got visual communication and verbal communication. And I think all of those really improve through that.   

Also some cooking skills, because there’s a giant kitchen at DFM and I found myself making things which I wouldn’t normally make at home.  

What was the most challenging part of your experience with DFM? With the collaborative learning aspect came a lot of group work, which at times could challenging, especially when language barriers were added to the mix. Everybody gets frustrated at some point, but it’s all part of that forming, storming, norming and performing process.  

Where has DFM taken you? I was really lucky, because I was able to self-source a professional placement with DFM. I have been working as a Workshop Associate for almost a year, and will finish my placement in about a month.  

Now, considering that the COVID-19 situation has been affecting Swinburne financially, If I’m not able to be hired afterwards, at least I’ll have some great industry experience and industry support. I’m sure they’ll support me in whichever direction I go.  

What value has your time with DFM brought to your personal journey? 

“It has cemented the fact that I love working in creative, open environments that are really supportive of ambiguity.”

Because my background is in performance art and professional dance, I think I’m very used to working with abstract concepts which don’t become tangible until much later. Studying with DFM, it was really great to see how it can be the same thing in a business setting. 
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What were your perceptions of DFM before and after your experience?  Before I came in, everybody already had some cool stories to tell about the Toolbox Class. I went in expecting to have to put the time in to get value out of my experience, but I think that’s part of the fun. I didn’t yet understand what the whole concept of DFM was in a nutshell, but I was already getting good vibes. 

Afterwards, I’ve realised how transferable the skills I learnt at DFM are and appreciated how everybody across the Design Factory Global Network are practicing these skills. 

Sound good? If you are interested in having a Design Factory experience as part of your degree – check out your study options here or email us to chat to the team.