Creating the COnditions for Innovation

DFM operates at the intersection of university and industry, uniting students, academics, industry, researchers and community. On every DFM project we bring together an interdisciplinary team from across our network to lend their knowledge, skills and insights to diverse innovation challenges.

Co-creation is fundamental to our practice: it influences how we work and think; it enables us to facilitate innovation through understanding different opinions and points of view.

We are one of the key pillars of Innovation Precinct, operating at Swinburne University of Technology.

At DFM we are driven by 5 principles

Safety: Safety is everything

It ensures that stakeholders are comfortable to conduct research, collaborate, engage and negotiate around challenges. For industry partners DFM creates a safe place to experiment and co-create outside of the structures of their organisation.

Exploration: fail forward to learn faster

Rapid exploration, iteration, and evaluation are only possible through accepting failure as an outcome. We learn from failure and applying those learnings to the next phase of the project.

Responsibility: your parents don’t work here

DFM maintains a flat hierarchy and a culture of mutual respect between all parties — everybody involved at DFM is responsible, independent, and accountable for their own involvement and participation in DFM.

Communication: talk to someone new

Every design factory is built around its kitchen a space in which serendipitous meetings can happen — You could find yourself next to a CEO, new students or international visitors — taking the time to talk to somebody can create networks and opportunities that couldn’t happen anywhere else.

Collaboration: all people have potential

Diversity boosts innovation by creating an environment where all people are valuable. Everybody has a unique point of view derived from their life experience, and when two different points connect they spark innovation.

co-creation publication.

Passion-Based Co-Creation explores ideas and solutions through innovation, prototyping, coaching, and navigating ambiguity. The book also examines some of the principles and science behind the Design Factory approach. The book is a collaboration between Design Factory Melbourne, Aalto Design Factory, Finland and the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN). The DFGN brings together 24 universities and research organisations across five continents with the goal to create change in the world of learning and research towards passion-based culture. The book ‘Passion-Based
Co-Creation’ is only available digitally.

Our People

Design Factory Melbourne is made up of a unique group of talented individuals all working towards disrupting and challenging the status quo in industrial and univeristy collaboration.


Aaron Down

Global Projects Coordinator + Design

Aaron is our Global Projects Coordinator and leads our global academic programs with Stanford University’s ME310 Course, SUGAR Network for Global Innovation, the Design Factory Global Network and CERN’s IdeaSquare. As a brand designer & strategist, Aaron has worked across strategy, design, events, R&D and education.

Email Aaron



Amelia Iverson

AWS Cloud Innovation Centre Project Lead

She has a background in business, entrepreneurship and performance art. Amelia enjoys dancing, animals and all things creative.

Email Amelia



Dr Anita Kocsis

Director + Tall Boss Lady

Anita leads Design Factory’s vision to create the conditions for innovation through industry university collaboration. Anita’s passion is to discover unexplored potential and knowledge not easily developed by a single discipline through multidisciplinary collaboration.

Email Anita


Angela Pye

Centre Manager

Angela is Centre Manager at DFM facilitating team strategic research directions and contributing to the DFM workshop services portfolio. As an accomplished arts administrator and practising artist, Angela is passionate about strategies to support collaborative practices. 

Email Angela



Dr Christine Thong

Academic Director + Global Programs

Christine leads the academic direction for DFM, and is involved in a range of teaching, research and strategic initiatives. She is passionate about coaching the next generation of globally responsible design innovators. Christine heads DFM global programs with Stanford University (ME310 SUGAR) and CERN (Challenge Based Innovation), bringing 10+ years of experience working with various companies & industry sectors on student collaboration projects.

 Email Christine


Dr David Mesa Saldarriaga

Innovation Minor Coordinator + Lecturer

David is a product design engineer with extensive experience in innovation and new product development projects. David currently teaches innovation and prototyping, and his research explores the process of identifying applications for new scientific discoveries and transforming those ideas into products that can reach the market.

 Email David


Mitchell Ransome

Prototyping Coach + Maker

Mitchell Ransome digital artist, educator, photographer and furniture maker. He holds a Masters Degree in Architecture from the Melbourne School of Design; where he has also taught for a number of years as a design studio leader in the Masters cohort and worked as a digital fabrication specialist in the fabrication workshop. He has extensive experience in a range of digital technologies and fabrication methods.

Email Mitchell


Pauliina Mattila

Coach, Workshops + Sea Captain

Pauliina’s role at DFM is wide-ranging including teaching, research, strategy development and workshops. Talk to Pauliina about thriving innovation ecosystems, supporting organisations with their innovation efforts, and sailing through the rough seas.

Email Pauliina