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Diving into the world of design thinking

With so much changing in the media industry in recent months there could not be a better time to be developing new skills.

By Meg Purtell

With so much changing in the media industry in recent months there could not be a better time to be developing new skills through the support of Women in Media Queensland’s Career Boost Scholarship.

We have witnessed the closure of dozens of regional newspapers, spelling the end of vital training grounds for young reporters, Channel 10 has axed its state-based nightly news bulletins, shifting instead to a network model and the ABC has farewelled scores of staff, many of them highly accomplished women with decades of experience.

There is no doubt that digital disruption has hit the industry in a big way in 2020, crashing into the fallout from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Those still fortunate to have a job have never been busier.

This year I have completed courses on Leading Strategic Initiatives and Managing Stakeholder Relationships at the Queensland University of Technology and I’ve now commenced studying two modules in Actioning Strategic Innovation and Leading Self and Others.

After working in the fast-paced, factual, deadline-driven newsroom environment for close to two decades it was an interesting change to be thrown headfirst into the world of design thinking, post-it notes and blank canvases at my first in-person workshop this year.

Meg Purtell

After working in the fast-paced, factual, deadline-driven newsroom environment for close to two decades it was an interesting change to be thrown headfirst into the world of design thinking, post it notes and blank canvases at my first in-person workshop this year.

Gone are the days of linear problem solving, replaced instead with ideation, iteration and agility, as businesses try to adapt to a changing and challenging media environment.

The Actioning Strategic Initiative course has taught me different methods of problem framing, how to empathise with clients, and how to brainstorm ideas – including how to get even more ideas flowing when you think you have exhausted them all. I am now working on a project piece using these frameworks to present at the next workshop.

Navigating the difficulties of 2020 has highlighted the need for strong leaders – those who can juggle the competing demands of day to day operations with investing in staff welfare. The Leading Self and Others course has provided an insight into the many personality types in workplaces and how each operates and responds differently to challenging situations. There has also been a strong focus on the need to make self-care a priority to avoid burnout and poor health outcomes.

I am looking forward to completing my final workshops in the coming weeks and putting into practice the frameworks and practical skills that I have developed throughout the four modules this year thanks to the generosity of Women in Media Queensland’s Career Boost Scholarship.

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