Sharen Scott is honest. “Much to the consternation of other people, my unprofitable interests are numerous, fluctuating, & subject to change on a whim.” Like many creative people, she sees parallels in her professional work for the Australian government and her personal pursuits. In addition to her public-facing contributions, she is constantly behind a camera, making a beautiful photo collection of the surrounding world.
BS: What are you working on now?
SS: I typically work on citizen-centric design for the Australian government (policy design; wicked problems; integrated citizen services), although I am currently on vacation for several months. In the short term, this will allow me to focus on my various volunteer activities, as well as providing myself the opportunity to do some spontaneous travel to locations I would otherwise not be able to include in my daily schedule. I find the travel helps me to see things in a new light within communities and society, and how these all connect back to the world’s ecosystem on so many different levels, while gaining many different experiences.
BS: You are involved in many pursuits. Are they complimentary? How do they influence each other?
SS: There are a number of volunteer undertakings that are currently a big part of my life, such as the YWCA Canberra’s Computer Clubhouse. This is an innovative, creative, out-of-school learning space where young people from under-served communities can work with adult mentors to develop new skills, explore their own ideas, and build confidence in themselves through the use of technology. The Clubhouse is part of an international movement that was founded in Boston in 1993.
Getting involved in volunteer activities can create a ripple effect with positive impacts for the wider community. Volunteering can really transform the lives of others from one generation to the next. The Clubhouse celebrates uniqueness and belonging: by giving young people a sense of uniqueness and recognizing them for their distinct talents and skills they bring to the community, they feel they belong when they share important commonalities.
The technology spaces are really interesting. There are jobs in these industries that don’t even exist yet, but which are going to become increasingly important in five or ten years time.
Stemming on from this, I also volunteer for GovHack Australia. GovHack at its core is about enabling governments to partner with the broader community to showcase and celebrate participatory innovation and co-creation. It does this by bringing together and supporting the growth of civic developer communities who are passionate about improving democracy in Australia.
In addition to this, I am the Production Manager for TEDxCanberra, making sure everything behind the scenes keeps flowing. Having been with TEDxCanberra for a number of years now, I have been fortunate to witness and be part of the creation of a strong community spirit and inclusiveness. The electricity and excitement that is TEDxCanberra really comes through on the day of the event.
BS: How does “art creativity” intersect with “business creativity”?
SS: The use of creative thinking, embedding rich meaning by transforming the design into a cogent, cohesive, content rich big picture, provoking different conversations and thoughts and capturing the creative imagination of people to rethink the business and the world within which it resides.
Creating and bringing to life meaningful products, services and experiences by combining unbound creativity with insightful research, strategic planning, and design – from idea to implementation – that is empathy inspired and immersive.
Each challenge is guided by deep insights into the culture of the citizens by developing journeys and unearthing and articulating their needs. This assists to open up unique perspectives that may not otherwise have been considered and bring about the development of new kinds of facilities and opportunities in an ecosystem, that if invested in wisely, will carry with it many beneficial dividends.
BS: What is creativity [five words]?
SS: Curiosity, imaginative, experimental, inventive, innovative
BS: What do you carry with you every day?
SS: Smart phone and moleskin diary: The smart phone is a great tool for capturing photos or video of the everyday scenes that are taken for granted by most people. These images often reveal insights that may not have been recognized as unusual or unique. While my moleskin diary is used for sketching or taking notes.
As an update, Sharen died on April 1, 2016. I treasured my opportunities to meet her and share her story in this interview.
See Sharen’s Instagram moments.
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