An inspirational leader committed to making a positive change to humanity. Focussed on the power of design for the transformation of service, culture, communities and business.
Melis is a pioneer in human-centred design, a founder of her own global strategic design consultancy, Huddle, and a highly-regarded and enterprising thought leader. Her vast business experience, underpinned by a PhD in Human Factors (human-centred design), sees her focussed on reshaping the super systems of the future. This reshaping is essential to ensure we address the complex challenges facing humanity and the planet. Melis believes we can change our realities by changing our minds.
Melis is also the founder of Huddle Labs, a research capability innovating the definition of value in a post-capitalist society, Huddle Academy, a school focussed on building creative problem solving capabilities for individuals and organisations and Huddle Foundation, a platform that curates the connection between designers, philanthropists and social enterprises.
Melis is a member of Creative Victoria’s Creative State Advisory Board, a member of the Victorian State Government’s Innovation Expert Panel, and a member of the advisory board for A Vision for Australia—a series of Annual Economic Summits hosted by Global Access Partners.
We are the artist and the art. We get to choose how we paint this life we live and how that then transforms who we are. Melis Senova
Melis has been advocating human-centred design in many different contexts since 1999. She has devoted her career to understanding how to better design experiences that are tailored towards those who will be exposed to them.
Whether this was reducing visual workload for FA-18 and F-111 pilots through designing 3D Audio displays; or through improving the rear visibility of drivers for the model Territory Ford by implementing the first rear camera system in Australia, or by bringing a human lens to emerging technology through experience design and prototyping at Telstra’s Chief Technology Office, she is, and has been, devoted to improving conditions for people.
In starting Huddle she has created the beginnings of a legacy and ecosystem of companies and organisations all geared towards better design for people.
Melis is a published author in peer reviewed journals in the field of neuroscience, looking at the use of brain imaging to understand brain dynamics.
Melis is also a contributing author to This is Service Design Thinking the very first textbook on Service Design published in 2011.
Melis has had the privilege of working with many wonderful people. Here’s what a few of them have to say about that:
Rod Farmer—APAC Strategic Design Director at Isobar | Australia. Melis is one of the most outstanding individuals I have known in both professional and personal capacities. Her understanding of human centred design is profound, yet never overwhelming to those new to her style and techniques. She has been a pioneer in the fields of User Experience and Service Design for well over a decade, and I have always grown from our collaborations. A beacon for our industry.
Deirdre Boyle—Head of Marketing at AIA. One of the things I admire about Melis is her unfailing belief and commitment to creating meaningful change in the world and I know that with this belief she will be one of the few people I will meet in my lifetime who has the ability and drive to actually affect change. This passion is infectious and she constantly inspires me and others she touches, to challenge the way we think about the world and what we can do to be a part of that change.
Tammy Hall—Head of Brand Marketing at Suncorp Group. I’ve had exposure to Melis on many levels; business owner; people leader; entrepreneur; innovator and motivator. I admire her because she’s strong without being intimidating; she’s driven without being arrogant; she’s a macro ‘change the world thinker’ while making concepts accessible to others. She was instrumental in driving our customer journey mapping program here at Suncorp, and I believe she genuinely changed our strategic lens to solve for human needs.
Dr Harold G Nelson—Author of The Design Way. Melis Senova has successfully shaped her interests, practice, and passions around meaningful work. She has successfully avoided trendy short cuts for dealing with complexity and difficult decision-making—pitfalls found too often in the domain of executives and their consultants. She is the personification of the integration of scholarship and professional practice, engaging in deep inquiry while at the same time showing skill and courage through the actions she chooses to take. She has the enviable skill to transform academic thinking into accessible formulations so necessary to leading and supporting organizational work. She has worked with businesses, governments, professional groups and non-profit organizations—helping them to confront complex issues with creativity, innovation, and pragmatism.
Cat Hayes—Senior Strategic Designer and Entrepreneur at Huddle.
Melis is the type of leader who has a relentless belief that anything is possible. This visionary attitude not only instills the team with inspiration and confidence in her ability to lead the business towards exciting and innovative frontiers, but she hold the same belief in us as individuals. Melis has deliberately fostered a safe environment that enables the staff at Huddle (Huddlers) to dream and explore, allowing us to develop our own skills as leaders and visionaries.
Duncan Underwood—Director at Symplicit. Melis brings a customer-centred and entrepreneurial spirit to everything she does. She’s optimistic, bold, purpose-driven and great to work with. She sees the big picture, understands the relationships between each element and the cause and effect of change.
Sean Spence—Director at Sean Spence & Associates. Melis has an extraordinary capacity to see both complex technical systems and complex interpersonal dynamics. Having seen, she also has the capacity to create and bring about movement and change. She’s an example of values, intellect and empathy working in synergy. And she’s fun to be around!
Peter Hughes—Customer Alignment Manager at Suncorp Group. Her encouragement for you to be your authentic self is a constant and steady source of energy. Her coaching is meaningful and powerful, yet never too instructional which suits me personally. Melis has a way of helping you both remember important things you already knew…while also learning more deeply about them at the same time. I feel I’ve both remembered and learned so much about human behaviour as a result of our working together and this has helped me in so many ways, both professionally and personally.