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Hi, I'm Meg, a freelance strategic designer. I help clients solve complex challenges to better serve people and planet.

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user research • co-design • prototyping • testing • synthesis • data analysis • visualisation • planning • strategy • facilitation


My work tends to be client confidential (i.e. not very open for sharing). Here's a sample:

About Open Studio (and me)

This is the story of how one workshop changed my life.

Before I moved to Melbourne and got a job there as a service designer at a strategic design agency, I thought I knew what 'collaborative' meant.

I'd taken my architecture training into my role as Lean project manager and later service designer, unaware that I was double-diamonding all over the place - working within context, thinking by making, translating ideas into form, switching scales, working iteratively and so on. Co-design didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary.

But my mind was truly blown when I went to my first ever open studio in Melbourne, which I also happened to be hosting. I had thought that being 'open' meant, primarily, being open to others' experiences and opinions, but the proposal I was working to stipulated an 'open studio' without any prep time. How? By just opening the big old studio doors, of course. Cue fear, dread and a realisation that I was truly not in Kansas (Dublin) any more.

Our client's senior leaders arrived. I expected disappointment and confusion. They were enthralled and stayed for hours. Turns out, anything less than fully open would have been a disservice to everyone.

This one workshop rewired my brain and is the yardstick that I measure my work against.

Good design happens in the open, with good intent and an open mind.

What's Strategic Design?

Strategic designers apply the skills and techniques of traditional design (like architecture, in my case) to complex, systemic and often abstract challenges.

A strategic designer:


works collaboratively and openly with stakeholders

helps make sense of big-picture problem spaces

works iteratively, framing and reframing challenges and ideas

develops visuals to make the intangible tangible

facilitates prototyping to maintain momentum


goes beyond consultation and facilitates participatory design

is future-orientated, mapping outcomes to near and far horizons

does design research to get deep insight into lived experiences

synthesises broad information sets to define clear directions

zooms in and out, considering everything from geopolitics to microcopy

Get in touch

If you have a project, service or experience that needs research, mapping, prototyping or design, get in touch:

Copyright © 2024 Megan Etherton t/a Open Studio