The Human Centered Design Podcast with Gerry Scullion

Roya Azadi ‘Improving Access to Justice at the Supreme Court’

John Carter
March 9, 2023
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Roya Azadi ‘Improving Access to Justice at the Supreme Court’

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Episode shownotes

In this episode I caught up with Roya Azadi, strategic director at Paper Giant, a design consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia.

I follow a few places on my personal social accounts and really respect the work that the folks at Paper Giant do, and was really excited when I saw a project that they did with the Supreme Court in Victoria around accessing Justice. We chat about the project is detail, how Roya and the fellow team members built trust, worked alongside other consultancies, remained focussed on the analogue, and also what Roya brought to the project themselves, through their own story. It’s a great conversation.

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Episode Transcript

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[00:00:00] Roya Azadi: And so from a very young age, I grew up with this understanding of injustice and what it is to be a vulnerable person who isn't safe in the place that most other people get to feel safe at home or within their country. And so growing up in the safe environment of New Zealand, You know, we grew up with all of these stories of, of what it was like to have a government or a regime that didn't want you there and was gonna go to great lengths to make you leave or, you know, or whatever it might be.

[00:00:35] Gerry Scullion: Hello and welcome to this is eight cd. My name is Jerry Scullin and I'm a designer educator, and the host of this is eight CD based in the wonderful city of Dublin, Ireland. Now, our goal here is tough conversations that inspire and help move the dive forward for organizations to become more human-centered in their approach to solving complex business and societal problems.

[00:00:55] Gerry Scullion: In this episode, I caught up with Roy a. Strategic Director at Paper [00:01:00] Giant, a design consultancy based in Melbourne, Australia. Now, I follow a few places on my personal social media accounts and really, really respect the work that the folks at Paper Giant do and was really excited when I saw a project before Christmas that they did with the Supreme Court in Victoria around accessing justice.

[00:01:18] Gerry Scullion: We chat about this project in detail and how Roya and the fellow team members built trust while it's working there, working alongside other consult. And other practitioners within government and how they remain focused on the analog as opposed to the traction for digital and also what Roy brought to the project themselves through their own story.

[00:01:37] Gerry Scullion: It's a really great conversation and I know you've gonna really enjoy listening to Royal. If you like what we're doing, if this is Eight City, you can really help us out by leaving a review. Wherever you listen to the podcast should only take a couple of minutes. And what really. Findability out for other new listeners, or you can go on better by becoming a patron.

[00:01:53] Gerry Scullion: You can get an ad free stream in the podcast for as little as one mural, 66 per month. You can get a shout out as thanks. There's other [00:02:00] plans there, and this is a Literally, all the money goes towards editing, hosting, and maintaining the website, which is a repository for human-centered design.

[00:02:08] Gerry Scullion: Goodness, I really appreciate it, folks. But let's jump straight into this episode. Roy Azadi, how is it going? How are you? Good, thanks. How are you? I'm not so bad. Um, I'm delighted to have you on the podcast, but maybe we'll start off and we'll talk a little bit more, um, about who you are, what you do, and where

[00:02:28] Roya Azadi: you're from.

[00:02:29] Roya Azadi: Where do I start? Um, so I'm Roy. Um, I'm currently working as a strategy director at Paper Giant, which is really great. I've been here since 2020. Um, before this I was at World Vision. Trying to figure out how to make, um, child sponsorship work a bit better. Um, and have done a whole raft of different things before that.

[00:02:53] Roya Azadi: Um, so I won't get into those details. Otherwise, we'll be sitting here forever. Um, in terms of where I'm from, [00:03:00] I'm from New Zealand originally, or actually I'm Iranian. Iranian, but raised in New Zealand. And then I moved to Australia in two five to study. Um, and I've come and gone a few times. I've lived in New York, I've lived in London, um, and most recently I also lived in Byron, the, the infamous Byron Bay.

[00:03:20] Roya Azadi: Um, but I've always come back to Melbourne. So great to be back here while, you know, everything's getting back to normal and pretty, um, 2019.

[00:03:32] Gerry Scullion: For anyone who doesn't listen or ha hasn't really heard of Paper Giant. They're, um, a fantastic human-centered service design, design consultancy that's relatively boutique, is my understanding.

[00:03:44] Gerry Scullion: But they're awesome. And a lot of the, the, the work that comes out of Paper Giant, I, I follow a couple of agencies around the world and Paper Giant as one of 'em. So I hold them in the highest. Yeah,

[00:03:54] Roya Azadi: I guess, um, I'm really flattered first of all, that you picked us to be one of the, [00:04:00] one of the people that you follow.

[00:04:01] Roya Azadi: That's really cool. Um, so the purpose is, is pretty simple or it's, you know, it's, it's easy to say, but more difficult to do is that we're all about trying to make better products, better services, and better policies. And what we mean by better is try to improve those things to make them be more, just more equitable or more sustain.

[00:04:22] Roya Azadi: Yeah. Um, so that leads us to doing lots of really interesting work for all of the different levels of government. Um, we work with private organizations that have big impact. We sort of lot of tech companies trying to figure out how, you know, have such, such huge, um, impacts to help make sure their, their products and service are being done the best that they can.

[00:04:43] Roya Azadi: Um, and I tend to work on a lot of the justice. Related projects. Yeah, so I've been really lucky to work with a lot of, um, community legal centers. Um, a really cool project called The Police Accountability Project, um, and most [00:05:00] recently worked on a really cool project with people with lived experience of being reincarcerated to figure out how we can help break the cycle of reincarceration.

[00:05:09] Gerry Scullion: Oh wow. What a project. That's something like. We were gonna be talking about another project, but if we've time, I'd love to go back to that one. Um, yeah, it's super cool. You, you snuck that one under the carpet there and kind pulled episode. Not a fan of that kinda stuff. . But anyway, I wanna come back to that.

[00:05:28] Gerry Scullion: The project that really caught my eye. Um, it was, I'm trying to, you know, look back at my notes here. It was pre, pre-Christmas cuz I remember I was literally. Checked out for Christmas. It was around mid-December, and the title level was a user experience strategy to improve access to justice at the Supreme Court.

[00:05:45] Gerry Scullion: And I'm like bing right up my street. Okay. Because a lot of the stuff that I would call, um, kind of a sea change in my life was when I worked in government, uh, especially in Australia and worked in the justice system, and I could really see what that [00:06:00] looked like. Now one of the questions, um, that I really wanted to talk to you a little bit about is the perspective that you mentioned that you were born in, uh, Iran.

[00:06:11] Gerry Scullion: You've lived in New Zealand, and you migrated to Australia. Okay. What perspective and what value do you place on, um, those different lenses, uh, that you are able to bring to your, to your work as a human-centered designer, a strategic designer, whatever you want to call it. Um, how, how, how do you think that has actually benefited you in your, in your career?

[00:06:36] Gerry Scullion: Or has it?

[00:06:37] Roya Azadi: Yeah. Sorry. I'll have to, I'll have to make one correction, which is that I was born in New Zealand. So my parents had just immigrated. Okay. Um, so it's had, I think it's had a really big. Impact. I, people can have different stories, but I think end up in the same place I have, which is, um, as a third culture kid, as a, you know, as a member of a diaspora.

[00:06:58] Roya Azadi: Um, not just my [00:07:00] own, but also, you know, I grew up in a really Polynesian, um, you know, uh, community in South Auckland. And so they were, they were also part of a diaspora that I got to come in touch with a lot. Um, I was also part of a religious community, the Bahai faith for those who are familiar. Um, and so all of those.

[00:07:18] Roya Azadi: I think, um, meant that I was coming from a very, very young age. I was, I was coming across lots of different kinds of people who are different to me. They came from different cultures, they came from, um, different classes. They came from all, you know, walks of life. Um, and so I have often felt quite comfortable in a range of situations.

[00:07:42] Roya Azadi: Um, and I think one of. One of my sort of special skills, um, you know, hopefully it's not that unique, is that I think I can kind sit down with anybody, um, and find common ground, something to laugh about, something to connect over. And I think that that's always been something that I found very easy [00:08:00] because of growing up in this very, very, um, diverse community.

[00:08:05] Gerry Scullion: Hmm. So if you look at someone who's localized and is born and raised in a specific place, Do you think some of the work that you do, um, I, is it better to have that perspective that you're talking about there versus the localized person? So, I know people who are born and bred and and raised and they've lived in Australia.

[00:08:27] Gerry Scullion: Um, and what I used to often hear when I would enter the conversations, sometimes midway through a project, Give a different set of, uh, perspectives, um, what it looks like from the outsider. Um, can you speak to any lived experience in yourself? Um, maybe your friends, family, whatever it was that may, um, That, that actually have kind of fueled the fire for wanting to, to see change.

[00:08:55] Gerry Scullion: Cuz I know you studied law. How far back does the, the change maker in [00:09:00] you, Roy go? Um, are you okay to talk about that? Cuz I know it's a, it's a pretty personal question.

[00:09:05] Roya Azadi: Yeah. Um, well, I think, um, the, the change maker that's in me, that's a really, um, interesting way of putting it. It's really ingrained in the fact that my parents.

[00:09:19] Roya Azadi: Um, a part of this religious man only that was very heavily persecuted. Um, a lot of, a lot of suffering, um, in quite sort of real and tangible ways happened by my immediate family. My parents included, not to mention the, the wider, um, community that they're a part of, you know, aunties and uncles. Parents are friends, all of this kind of stuff.

[00:09:42] Roya Azadi: And I think, um, we're very shaped by the stories that we grew up with and the stories that we tell ourselves. Yeah. Um, and one of the stories that was very real for me was, um, why our family had to leave Iran and why all of our friends, um, parents also had to [00:10:00] immigrate and why it was to come to be that we couldn't go back to visit and all this kinda stuff.

[00:10:05] Roya Azadi: And so from a very young age, I grew up with this. Understanding of, um, of injustice and, um, what it is to be a vulnerable person who, you know is, is isn't safe in the place that most other people get to feel safe, um, at home or within their country. Um, and so growing up in the safe environment of New Zealand, You know, we grew up with all of these stories of, of what it was like to have a government or a regime that didn't want you there and was gonna go to great lengths, um, to make you leave or, you know, or whatever it might be.

[00:10:48] Roya Azadi: And so I think growing up with all those stories and really having it be, um, not just something that I heard, but something that we lived every day, um, was really impactful [00:11:00] for making choices about what I was to go on to. And I know it's the same for a lot of my peer group as well who, who grew up in that environment.

[00:11:08] Roya Azadi: You'll find a lot of people who in the. Careers that they've chosen a lot of members of that Bahai community who, um, you know, want to help. And they've ta and they've taken, um, careers and, and they've followed pathways that allow them to do that. And I know that that's not unique to the particular community that I grew up in.

[00:11:29] Roya Azadi: There's lots and lots and lots of other communities that also, um, grew up, you know, with, with these stories that make you go, Hey, you know, I can, I can help, I can do something to make things a bit.

[00:11:42] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, and absolutely, and it's a story that keeps on coming back up on the podcast and even on other podcasts that I listen to.

[00:11:49] Gerry Scullion: The second generation people moving to another place and wanting to better the world. You know, they, they enter this stage of their life where they're like, you know, I'm not satisfied to, [00:12:00] to work for an organization that is. Contributing to the, the destruction of the planet or society or all these bits that hold together the fabric of society.

[00:12:10] Gerry Scullion: So it's really refreshing to, to hear that again, like from from you, from your perspective. Just to, to follow up what you're talking about there is the revolution in 79 and, uh, Iran. Isn't it like the, the Pavi um, uh, regime? Is that right? They

[00:12:28] Roya Azadi: were the dynasty, the monarchy that was ousted in 79, and then the Islamic crazy came in.

[00:12:34] Gerry Scullion: Okay. Yeah. So you, you studied law, like, okay, I've mentioned that in, uh, in a fleeting piece there beforehand. Um, what was your interests when you entered the, the law profession? What were you hoping to achieve by, and that's not being condescending or patronizing , but what were your, what were your, what were your dreams when you set out to study?

[00:12:56] Roya Azadi: In choosing law in the first place.

[00:12:58] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. Straight into design. Yeah. [00:13:00] It's a great, I do understand that.

[00:13:02] Roya Azadi: It's a great question, Jerry. So, you know, if anybody who's listening to the podcast is, um, is um, is, you know, maybe Middle Eastern or from somewhere whose culture is kind of similar to that, they might have a similar, they might have received a similar instruction when they were young, which is that you can study, um, law.

[00:13:24] Roya Azadi: Medicine, engineering, dentistry or anything else as long as you get your PhD. Um, and that is very, very ingrained in you from a young age when you go on, what am I gonna be when I grow up? Oh, you, somebody's gonna go study history and your dentistry is good, doctor is very good. You should pick one of those ones.

[00:13:44] Roya Azadi: Um, so I think, um, You know, I think on, on the one hand there is that parental pressure. There was a lot of parental pressure, um mm-hmm. , which is really, really understandable. They give up so much to come to these places. Yeah. Where everything is suddenly [00:14:00] possible. Things that were, you know, just dreams in the country that they came from.

[00:14:04] Roya Azadi: Um, so, you know, I really, really understand that. And then add to, You know, wanting your children to, to be the person or the character who might have actually helped you. Um, yeah. You know, when you had been in that situation when you were younger. So I think a little bit of wanting to be a good Iranian daughter and a little bit of, you know, wanting to make that change.

[00:14:29] Roya Azadi: Um, and I thought that if you want to. More accessible. Mm-hmm. , that law was a good thing to go to study. Um, what what? I didn't know. You know, law is not, um, laws a lot of things. Yeah. Parts of it are about justice. A lot of it is actually just part, part of the paperwork machinery that makes the world run around.

[00:14:51] Roya Azadi: Um, and so there are parts of it that were really, really amazing. Um, and there was a lot of it that was super boring, , and [00:15:00] really not for me. I remember. So yeah, it was a, it was definitely a

[00:15:04] Gerry Scullion: challenge. I remember in, in, um, hopefully I'm not speaking outta line here, but in OD PPP in Sydney, uh, I was doing an evaluation for, um, Lloyd Bob, uh, who was the head of D PPP at the time, but, I remember I was going in every day for a couple of weeks and I'd meet the same person at the same time, at the same photocopier, and they would stand there from nine o'clock to two o'clock.

[00:15:30] Gerry Scullion: And after a couple of days, I went over and I go, it's like, what are you doing? Like, like you're here all the time. Photographing go, I'm just getting ready for a court case. And I'm like, what? Duplicating pages and they were a lawyer, , and I was like, this cannot be the best use of your time. Like, there's a backlog in the courts and you are here photocopy.

[00:15:53] Gerry Scullion: Yeah.

[00:15:54] Roya Azadi: It's a, it's a really tricky one, I think. Um, considering exactly that story that you just [00:16:00] told to other, you know, or like, why does it take so hard to make, you know, why is it so, uh, complicated to make, you know, laws, you know, actually. Um, you know, change to, to be better or, or whatever. It's, and I think.

[00:16:15] Roya Azadi: It is good that all of those things are complicated and slow when legislation happens really quickly. All of these things, you know, are signs that you're not really operating in a proper democracy and people can take advantage of that. So as much as crazy to see people walking around with suitcases full of paper and, um, and so legislation just takes so long to change.

[00:16:37] Roya Azadi: It is. Some of it is also for our protection. So , yeah,

[00:16:40] Gerry Scullion: it's not all. In, in, in the world of, uh, of, um, you know, second generation, or in your case it's probably third generation. Um, When you choose to become a lawyer and you ultimately move out into another profession, there must be some sort of safeguarding around your own [00:17:00] mental health, how, how you can protect yourself from the scrutiny of others.

[00:17:05] Gerry Scullion: Okay. You don't have to answer this question by the way, but the imposter syndrome is something that I see in second and third generation people. Is is very real. Is that something that you have yourself or is that something that you're happy to talk about as well? You know, the whole kind of the second guessing, like, you know, am I good enough to do this kind of work and am I, what am I bringing to this?

[00:17:29] Gerry Scullion: Is, am I speaking outta line here or is that something that you've encountered yourself? No.

[00:17:35] Roya Azadi: Yeah, I think it's a really important topic, particularly for this area that we work in, because. I think the story's a bit different in Europe, but in Australia. You could only really study it quite recently. So the vast majority of people who are working in this area, they study completely different things.

[00:17:53] Roya Azadi: And I think, um, the irony yeah. Is that we are in, we work in [00:18:00] an industry that is spending a lot of time trying to convince everybody that lived experience. Is just as important as professional or academic experience or whatever. It's, which is why we want to design the thing with the end user rather than locking people in a room and, and, and getting them to, and yet, I think when it comes to ourselves, we go, oh, if I don't have a master's degree in the design Futures program or whatever, am I even, can I even call myself a designer?

[00:18:31] Roya Azadi: Whatever. It's um, Which is , you know, it's, we're doing to ourselves the exact thing that we're trying to convince everybody else, you know? Yeah. That, that it's not a, that it's not a real thing. Yeah. Um, so I think there's a lot of learning to trust that our own lived experience of doing this work is okay.

[00:18:51] Roya Azadi: You don't need to have a master's degree, you don't need to have a PhD. Um, you need to have certain skills, like certain competencies and that kinda [00:19:00] stuff to, to be able to do this work well. Um, but there's a whole range of people that can do it no matter what background you came from Absolut, and we at Paper Giant, we love hiring people that come from, who've taken an unusual pathway to get here because they bring something new and our whole world is.

[00:19:21] Roya Azadi: Knowing all the rules that you can break them so you can do it differently and, and yeah, actually bring that creativity into, into designing things to be better.

[00:19:29] Gerry Scullion: Absolutely. I mean, if everyone goes through the same conveyor belt, you know, we, we end up with a very vanilla looking world, and we need to make sure that we're accommodating and including everyone in the conversation as, as much as we, we possibly can.

[00:19:45] Gerry Scullion: Um, and many of the best designers that I, that I know, um, Never studied design. They bring all these different perspectives into it. I was speaking to Oliver vk, who's, um, he owns [00:20:00] contextual or, uh, mobile experience or UX agency in, in Australia and Sydney. And he's not the first person in the last number of weeks that I'm seeing this parallel happening, this, this career arc emerging of they study something in university and then later on in their career that reemerges that pattern reemerges and that strength that something that we probably discounted it or swept under the carpet a little bit to, to kind of wear the, the designer cape for a number of years.

[00:20:30] Gerry Scullion: Ben reason from live. He's one of the, he's the, the last remaining founder of live work, studied, um, fine art, but was really interested, um, around sustainability and the understanding of the impact on the earth and stuff. That was in the mid nineties, and that's reemerged into the future of live work now.

[00:20:50] Gerry Scullion: Like he's, he's kind of tapped back into that former self if you want. Okay. And hopefully I'm not doing Ben a disservice there. I want to ask you a little bit more around the [00:21:00] project that we're gonna be speaking on a little bit more in in depth. Okay. So your formative education was in law. Okay. So you studied law, um, The power of language and being able to speak to people in their language is really, really important.

[00:21:17] Gerry Scullion: Okay. And lived experience, as we've mentioned, is really, really important. How important was it that you had a level of competency when you went into start that project that you were. A designer, but you also had this in your back pocket that you were able to speak in the certain legalese if you want to help build trust.

[00:21:40] Gerry Scullion: Is that something that you are aware of or is that something that, um, you know, is just living there? Mm,

[00:21:46] Roya Azadi: yeah. Um, So I worked on the project with, um, two other really fantastic designers, Wendy Fox and Bunny Graham, who are now at City of Melbourne. Um, and they, [00:22:00] n neither of them come from legal backgrounds.

[00:22:01] Roya Azadi: They both, you know, have a, a huge amount of experience, um, yeah, as designers, but came from quite different backgrounds. And so I think, um, there's a little bit of safety in, in one of us being able to. At least a, at least a peer. Like we kind of at the get go sort of knew what was going on and all that kind of stuff.

[00:22:20] Roya Azadi: So I think that the difference that it made, that I had that background, um, was I could, uh, I don't know if it, if it was really necessary. I think that Wendy and Bonnie, for example, would've been totally fine. I hadn't been there at all. Um, but I think all that I was able to do is maybe just explain a few things a bit faster.

[00:22:43] Roya Azadi: Maybe I just fast forwarded a little bit of the, um, This is how the court system works. So this is kind of typical experiences that a lawyer might have. Um, and to be honest, those things weren't even things that I actually learned in law school. There were things that I had just picked up from knowing [00:23:00] lots of lawyers.

[00:23:00] Roya Azadi: Okay. Um, because one of the, one of the insights that we had from the, all of the research that we did, which is again, you know, relatable to what we're talking about, is, um, that law school really anything about the court system that's, Quite a different thing and the expectation is that you learn about that on the job.

[00:23:20] Roya Azadi: And so I had that same experience of I went to law school, people on our team, other people you know around kind of expected that I would know certain things, but have a subject on the court system and how all of the paperwork goes for submitting a case or any of that kind of stuff. So I was learning a lot as well doing this.

[00:23:43] Gerry Scullion: Wh when the project came about, like, cuz we've, we've spoken about Paper Giant and a lot of the work that they, they tend to pick up and, and focus on is, you know, ma a a lot of it's around the justice, justice process, which I'm seeing. Can you remember what it was like at the start of the [00:24:00] project when yourself, Wendy and Bonnie, um, entered into the, the, the conversations within the organization and also just the building cuz it was, it was pre pandemic when this one kicked off.

[00:24:11] Gerry Scullion: what did it look like and what did it feel like? Cause I understand that you just joined Paper Giant as well. So you're going through the whole kind of formative process of building relationships with your team, uh, team members, and then you also had to go into a client. Okay, so this piece is something that I'm really interested in, in terms of the success outcomes from a project.

[00:24:29] Gerry Scullion: The first couple of days are really, really important, how you build trust. What did you do at that time? Uh, and are you okay to talk about this? Cause I'm aware some of it might be somewhat sensitive.

[00:24:41] Roya Azadi: Yeah. Um, well, I think that the thing that we were really, um, lucky with is that we did happen to start just a couple of weeks before the pandemic kind of became a thing that we needed to worry about and talk about, and started to influence our day-to-day lives.

[00:24:57] Roya Azadi: Yeah. And so a paper giant, we, [00:25:00] well, I suppose I, I heard about this. I had only started the week that we also started this project, but I think everybody was in the habit of kind of working. On a rhythm of a couple of days in the client's office, couple of days in the paper giant office. So every, that habit was already within the way that we do consulting here.

[00:25:20] Roya Azadi: Mm-hmm. . And so we fell into line with that as well and said, all right, well let's, in the first couple of weeks of the project, why don't we spend lots of extra time? Because we're just getting to know everybody. We wanna observe the, um, the call center. We wanna observe the registrars doing their work. We wanna go and sit in one of the courtrooms and all that kinda stuff.

[00:25:38] Roya Azadi: And so, We really wanted, uh, we spent those first couple of weeks doing a lot of FaceTime in their office and that was really interesting as well, because actually there was a bunch of other consultants who, um, from other organizations who were actually working on adjacent pieces. Um, so the project, to zoom out a little bit or [00:26:00] to provide a little bit of a bigger picture, the project that we were working on, which was about improving the experience of going to court, Was part of a much, much larger, um, program of work that had heaps of different pieces.

[00:26:14] Roya Azadi: Um, and all of those pieces were being bitten off by other consultancies and other types of characters. And so we had to align with all of these sort of visibility measures and reporting measures, governance measures that they had in place. Um, yeah, so when we were in the office, sorry.

[00:26:32] Gerry Scullion: No, no, go ahead.

[00:26:33] Gerry Scullion: When you were in the.

[00:26:34] Roya Azadi: When we were in the office, um, we were sitting alongside all of the other consultants who were working on all of the other pieces. Mm-hmm. . And that was really cool because we could see how other people were working. We could. We could get insight into how their project was gonna influence our project in a really, um, casual, conversational way.

[00:26:55] Roya Azadi: Yeah. Instead of needing to wait until they had finished reporting on that [00:27:00] section and we would receive the report and then, you know, it was just so, it was so easy and so great. We were just sitting next to each other to go. What are you guys working on? Oh, this is where we gotta, oh, we've got the same insight call.

[00:27:09] Roya Azadi: Ok. Validating.

[00:27:11] Gerry Scullion: That's kind of cool in, in some experiences that I've had, uh, and I've heard from others as well. When you work alongside other consultancies, there's, there tends to be a bit of a wall built around the, the, that whatever separate consultancies work and not, uh, Being happy to share stuff. I know I did work alongside, um, an agency and, um, they were not happy sharing the research at the same time I was doing research and I was just like, why not?

[00:27:37] Gerry Scullion: We're working on the same client. Like, you know, like we're working in the same groups of people. Um,

[00:27:41] Roya Azadi: yeah. So I think what was different in our situation is that. None of us were doing projects that were the same. So we had Deloitte who's working on a workforce planning thing. Ok, sure. Which is adjacent, but different still.

[00:27:54] Roya Azadi: And there was another group who were working on, um, redesigning something to do with the call [00:28:00] centers. And so they were all quite different.

[00:28:03] Gerry Scullion: Okay, so the first couple of days, um, you, well, was it the first week or two weeks? I think in our notes here that you have was in the office and then somebody got the sniffles, um, in around China at that time.

[00:28:17] Gerry Scullion: Um, that became Covid. Um, yeah. And. Uh, uh, well, I think a lot of us has kind of have blanked out months of 2020 due to the extreme trauma. What was it like entering a new business? A huge project because this is a, this was a really big project and um, and being able to retain the likelihood of kicking goals.

[00:28:45] Gerry Scullion: When everything is moved online. Um, what was the experience like at that time working within the Supreme Court system within Victoria? Um, how did you handle the tooling and the [00:29:00] sharing of data, especially around research? Because I know you did 60 interviews. Were all of those online and were some of them in person talking a little bit more around that whole kind of process.

[00:29:10] Gerry Scullion: Cuz the, the whole data sensitivity piece is something that I've heard time and time again. It was a real problem.

[00:29:17] Roya Azadi: Yeah, it was. Um, look, I don't need to say, I don't need to retrigger anyone, but it was an unfathomably stressful time. Yeah. Um, yeah. I just, it was so crazy and it spanned the move. Between us, um, starting the, starting the research and handing in the, that kind of deliverable, I think it was about six weeks that went from everything being totally fine to everybody comp.

[00:29:52] Roya Azadi: I think we were in lockdown by the end of those six weeks. So we spanned the like, wait, we have to make a covid plan. What's that? [00:30:00] You know, all the way to, um, You know, we're just living, living Surviv online and glu to our computers and just surviving and not sure how far you can go from your house.

[00:30:10] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, yeah.

[00:30:11] Gerry Scullion: Melbourne was, Melbourne was like one of the worst hit cities on the planet in terms of the extent of the Lockdowns folks. I dunno, it was months, months and months, um, at home. Yeah. Is that correct?

[00:30:24] Roya Azadi: Yeah, the fir, the first lockdown that we had, I don't even know if I'm remember remembering this correctly.

[00:30:28] Roya Azadi: Obviously I've blocked it all outta my memory. Mm-hmm. But I think that the first one was maybe three, four weeks or six weeks. Three weeks. Is

[00:30:37] Gerry Scullion: it three weeks? No, I think, no, I think it was three months.

[00:30:40] Roya Azadi: There was a, no, the second one in 2020 was three months. Okay. The first one was less than that. I can't, you know, I can't remember.

[00:30:49] Roya Azadi: Yeah. But it was, I remember at the time feeling like this. Insane. Insane how long it is. And then the second one happened and I was like, I can't believe we thought that was long. That was like a [00:31:00] blink of an island compared to what's happened now. Yeah, yeah. Um, so it was incredibly stressful. Um, but it's, it's such a credit to the team, not just, um, Wendy Bonnie and our founder Ruben, who we were also working really closely with, who, you know, we all supported each other really well and figured out how to keep going.

[00:31:18] Roya Azadi: Um, but also the team that we had at, at the Supreme Court were able. Figure out how to move court online, which was, yeah. They said they can't do you for such a long time, and then they figured it in weeks. They managed to. To do all of that as well as, you know, keep everything ticking along. They're really, really amazing people, um, and very good at sort of reacting, uh, to the crack, the crisis at hand.

[00:31:50] Roya Azadi: So we've managed to, um, Keep the project going without really skipping as you know, too much of a step.

[00:31:59] Gerry Scullion: [00:32:00] Absolutely. So let's talk about the research. I mentioned earlier you did 60 interviews, which um, it's quite a lot. But those for anyone, that's a lot. I suppose you split it across three people, but still it's a lot of data to synthesize, to sort of distill some sort of actionable insights off the back of it.

[00:32:19] Gerry Scullion: But you. You boiled them down into four archetypes. Um, I can see in my notes here. Are you okay to talk about the archetypes and, and, um, how you got to that point? Um, because I know like there's, there's a couple of really fantastic names that you've given them, like, uh, the Constellation Seeker. And the consolation seeker was the one that made me burst out laughing in, in the nicest possible way.

[00:32:42] Gerry Scullion: When I , when I saw this before Christmas, you know, as I'm drinking my coffee in the morning, I was like, cuz the consolation seeker is the one that I resonated the most with whenever I was working in that process. Cuz it's hard and an awful lot of the people at work within the justice system permanently.

[00:32:58] Gerry Scullion: That's tends to be the [00:33:00] emotion that I saw quite a lot is the whole kind of like, Didn't get that didn't work, or I had problems with this. Maybe talk to that a little bit more if you're okay to do that. Royal, please. Yeah,

[00:33:12] Roya Azadi: so it was such an interesting piece of research. I wish I could tell you all of the, all of the details about it.

[00:33:19] Roya Azadi: It was, it was really fascinating. To understand all these different kinds of characters that go to court. Um, and something that stood out from the very first, you know, conversation and was a theme throughout the whole thing was, um, so maybe a quick sort of piece of context is that the people that we were working with at the Supreme Court, it's not the judges and the judges associates and that those kinds of, um, people, it's this part of the court, which is called the registry.

[00:33:46] Roya Azadi: And the registry essentially is kind of like the concierge for the court. So their job is to help anybody who wants to go to court, get organized, get all of their paperwork together [00:34:00] so that they can have a successful day in court with the judge and the judges associates. Um, you were talking to a lot of these people who worked at the registry saying, who calls you, who emails you?

[00:34:10] Roya Azadi: Who's coming in? Who do you need to help? Um, and their focus was always about, This certain type of person who takes up all of their time, um, who's called the self-represented litigant. I'm sure some of the listeners are familiar with that phrase. So self-represented litigants are people who, it's pretty much in the name, they don't have a lawyer.

[00:34:31] Roya Azadi: They're turning up by themselves. There's heaps of reasons why people would do that. One of them is that funding for pro bono legal work, for legal aid, all that kind of stuff is massively reduced. So a lot of people who. Once upon a time could have gotten a lawyer for free. Just can't now. There's not enough of that still happening, so they're forced to represent themselves.

[00:34:54] Roya Azadi: There's another class of persons who. Choose to represent themselves. [00:35:00] Yeah. Um, there's all kinds of reasons why people do that. Sometimes it's because they come from a legal background. Sometimes it's because they, you know, believe that you shouldn't have to have a lawyer to go to the, the highest court in the state.

[00:35:14] Roya Azadi: There's all kinds of reasons why somebody might choose to represent themselves. Um, but people often talk about these self-represented, sorry, members of the registry often talk about self-represented litigants in a very.

[00:35:27] Gerry Scullion: Disparaging way, disparaging, , nicest way to say it. Thank you. That was a good,

[00:35:32] Roya Azadi: good word.

[00:35:33] Roya Azadi: Um, I was just remembering sort of the look on people's faces when they talk about it. It's sort of a bit tired. They have kinda a laugh on their lips. They've got, they have stories about these guys. There was, yeah, this one person that everybody kept talking about, I can't remember his, um, can't remember his name, but everyone went up just for the sake of argument, I'll call him.

[00:35:54] Roya Azadi: John Murray, they went, oh, John, everybody knows John. You know, he's been at the court. Yeah. For, for [00:36:00] ye for decades. He's been coming here for such a long time. He's, his case never ends. He just appeals and appeals and appeals and he keeps going. Um, and they all kind of talked about him in this sort of funny, like very familiar way.

[00:36:10] Roya Azadi: They had all come across him at some point. It was almost this sort of like, he's a friend. Of the office. He's this guy. He's always around. And what was so funny was that they had described what he looks like and I was on the steps of the court one day and I saw him. Um, he was, you know, pretty distinctive.

[00:36:28] Roya Azadi: He had a folder in his arms, um, and he was on the steps chatting to a security guard. And the security guard had said, Hey John, I haven't seen you around a while. And John said, oh, um, I just had to take a holiday. You know, I had to get away from all of this. And I remember thinking for John, this is a job.

[00:36:45] Roya Azadi: He, this is so much of a full-time occupation for him that he had to take a holiday from it and now can come back to it, refresh to keep going. So some of. People, not all of them, but some of them, they, they are really very familiar. There're a lot, [00:37:00] very familiar to the registry. They are taking up a lot of, um, a lot of space in the, in that system.

[00:37:07] Roya Azadi: Um, and so what we heard a lot of from the registry, people were saying, we can't help, we can't help everybody because some people need so, More of our time, either because their case is very complicated or because they're, um, they just kind of dunno what they're doing, all of this kind of stuff. So we are trying to answer this question of how can we make sure that the people who are going to court are having a positive experience, that the registry is supported to help as many people well as they can.

[00:37:41] Roya Azadi: How can we use digital to help make some of these processes smoother? You know, something that we were talking about the other day is that a really key part of a democratic society is that the backlog in the court is low. Yeah. And so making sure that people, that there's a really sort of efficient [00:38:00] process for making sure that cases are getting to the judges in a timely manner.

[00:38:07] Roya Azadi: Um, and being resolved is really, really important. And what we. You know, we're trying to help the registry do is optimize all of these different pathways to make sure that that backlog can stay really low.

[00:38:19] Gerry Scullion: One of the pieces that I, I really. Enjoyed about this, um, this case study was that you didn't throw technology at the problem.

[00:38:29] Gerry Scullion: Okay. Now, what tends to be, um, and I don't wanna point the fingers at any consultancy here, but whenever the consultancy go in, they do work. Um, they tend to be okay, well, we can actually improve the efficiency here by pushing people online to complete a form, uh, reduce the overhead. The purpose of technology is to, to try and, and enable a more of a human connection.

[00:38:53] Gerry Scullion: Okay? It's not there to replace it. Uh, and that's my perspective. And what I really enjoyed hearing here was [00:39:00] you were improving the backstage performance, okay? You were improving the, the bits that can drain the resources, both from a technical and a process, and a and a people perspective as well, to enable a more of a humane service to be delivered.

[00:39:17] Gerry Scullion: How was that, um, vision shared across all the other consultancies that were working alongside Paper Giant at the time? Or was that something that Paper Giant, um, somewhat stood up and said, well actually this is, this is our perspective, this is our take on that. And if so, how was it received?

[00:39:37] Roya Azadi: Um, I think we, we didn't do so much of the backstage stuff.

[00:39:42] Roya Azadi: Our solutions were still quite front stage because we'd identified that a lot of the challenge, um, was actually that information was not being delivered. Information that was useful was not being delivered to people in the way that it needed to be. And so a lot of the [00:40:00] angle was around delivery of information.

[00:40:03] Roya Azadi: Um, Websites, ia, and, you know, all of this kind of stuff is a big part of that story. I think another point that's worth making, just what you were saying about digital is that, um, one thing that I, I really love about Paper Giant, and, and one of the, one of the things that I appreciate the most when we're going through, you know, the pitching process or talking to different clients is that we.

[00:40:29] Roya Azadi: Very much platform agnostic. We're not, we don't employ developers and that is specifically so that we are not married to pitching those kinds of solutions to people. Yeah. We're very co-design focused and we always wanna give ourselves the opportunity to be led by the wisdom of the people that we are talking to and asking to design those solutions so that if they come back and say, you know what, you actually just need a sign on the.

[00:40:54] Roya Azadi: Then we can just do that and not be worried that half of our staff are sitting there without anything to [00:41:00] do. Cause we've got a bunch of, you know, yeah. Backend developers. Um, so I think that's a, a really key factor in this project was that we started it having absolutely no idea what was gonna come out the other end.

[00:41:14] Roya Azadi: Um, we were fully prepared for maybe we were gonna need to paint arrows on the floor. Maybe there was gonna be a way finding within the courts and this kinda stuff. Yeah. It's sort of a coincidence that in the end, um, co-design advisory did see that digital was gonna be the, the website was gonna be the most suitable way to deliver.

[00:41:35] Roya Azadi: Um, fair enough. Some of the things that they talked about, but we were fully prepared for it to not

[00:41:41] Gerry Scullion: Yeah, and that's, but I, I love that because, um, and, and I was. Smiling there a few seconds ago because, uh, I would've loved that to have been the outcome that we just need to put a poster on the wall or put an arrow on, on, on the ground and see how that stacks [00:42:00] up alongside some of the other major consultancies.

[00:42:03] Gerry Scullion: Because there tends to be this sort, kind of encouragement of like, okay, well we need to sort of, um, follow through and, and giving a, a massive piece of, uh, you. I'm doing air quotes value here in terms of it might be a brand new app or something that will, that'll lead to more work and it has this kind of self-fulfilling prophecy where they kind of find themselves living in there for 10 years building the client.

[00:42:30] Gerry Scullion: And I, I don't hear that coming back here in this instance, it was very much, and that's not to about smoke, but it's really important. That is grounded here in the principles of, of actually the founders as well. It's not about remaining present in, in the client's offices for a long period of time where you can actually bill extensively.

[00:42:52] Roya Azadi: Some of of the ideas that we'd even talked about were so analog. We had even imagined there are these people who wanna tell their [00:43:00] stories. Is there a somebody who sits in a court and listens to stories, who collects those stories, who does some kind of,

[00:43:07] Gerry Scullion: um, inside analysis? Some

[00:43:10] Roya Azadi: kind of, some kind of project that makes collecting those stories feel meaningful and you actually, if somebody did that work, that would be a huge burden off of the shoulder.

[00:43:19] Roya Azadi: The registry, if you sit and often are less spending hours listening to people tell their story, that has nothing to do with. The work that the registry is actually able to help people do. So we gave ourselves permission to really think broadly and think big about what are all of the possible things that could help take pressure off of the registry so they can put their energy with the people who have sort of specialist situations that need the most help and, um, and make a more frictionless, smooth experience for those who, whose needs are a bit.

[00:43:53] Gerry Scullion: Really nice. Um, in terms of the, the output of the project, and I, I hate saying outcome, but we know the outcome [00:44:00] was targeted towards access of justice. Um, can you talk a little bit more about what was the, the final piece that you left the Supreme Court with? What, what did that look like? So

[00:44:13] Roya Azadi: what it ended up looking like is we, that we handed over was there was these, um, archetypes.

[00:44:22] Roya Azadi: Mm. So they have ended up becoming a part of their training for all new registry members. Um, so that was kind of one very practical Yeah. You know Yeah. Use, use of that work. Um, and the other key piece was that there was some, um, so they were doing a, a separate project that was really significant, was. Um, redesigning the website.

[00:44:49] Roya Azadi: And so as the co-design group began sort of developing their ideas and that kind of thing, we understood that we would have the opportunity to actually feed into this other [00:45:00] huge piece of work that was happening, um mm-hmm. . And so what was, uh, handed over in the end were information that the, uh, that the.

[00:45:12] Roya Azadi: Co-design advisory had sort of very emphatically said, this is what I needed and this is what I couldn't find, and it would've just made everything so much better. Um, so one of them, for example, sorry.

[00:45:23] Gerry Scullion: Mm, no, go ahead. That's okay. Can you give us an example , and then you were about to tell us. So

[00:45:28] Roya Azadi: yeah. So, you know, sometimes, sometimes these things sound.

[00:45:33] Roya Azadi: Simple. Um, yeah, but

[00:45:36] Gerry Scullion: that's sometimes

[00:45:36] Roya Azadi: required, you know, do the simple thing. So one of them was, um, was, so one of the, one of the key problems is that, There's a lot of anxiety of people who going, who go to court. Um, and that anxiety comes from just unfamiliarity. Yeah. And so this was a really, really big learning for the [00:46:00] registry that lawyers even would be unfamiliar with how things happen at court.

[00:46:05] Roya Azadi: And there's lots of reasons for that. If you don't go to court, if you only go to court once every 10 years, everything changes, the building changes, the hallways change. Um, Even lawyers, young lawyers who've never done it before, self-represented litigants. There's lots and lots of reasons why people get a lot of anxiety about going to court.

[00:46:25] Roya Azadi: And this came through so heavily in the research was people just talking about, you know, more than butterflies in their stomach, their elephants in their stomach, feeling nauseous, um, just hating every single day, losing weight, their hair falling out. All of this kinda stuff is very, very, um, Just, you know, huge, huge, um, personal, um, consequences of, of going through that much stress.

[00:46:48] Roya Azadi: And so when they talked about the things, when they talked about the experience of going to court, what it felt like, not, not where do you stand? What do you wear? How do you bring all of this paper? I feel like an idiot for [00:47:00] having a suitcase. But did he get there and see that's what everybody else did. We went, this is actually quite simple stuff.

[00:47:06] Roya Azadi: If you have a video series that explain. This is the layout of a courtroom. This is where this person stands, this is where that person stands. Everybody has to stand up at this time and not at that time. And except, you know, all this kinda stuff. Exactly. Um, it would make people feel much more comfortable to turn up on that day and not wanna, you know, throw up their lunch before they go.

[00:47:29] Roya Azadi: Um, and so one of. The recommendations was actually to invest in creating a video series that was able to cross some cultural boundaries so you would be able to provide in different languages and that kind of thing. Yeah. Um, and really use, you know, a visual storytelling mechanism, um, rather than a PDF hidden.

[00:47:50] Roya Azadi: Yeah. On your website to just explain some of this really simple evergreen stuff about going to court, um, which entrance [00:48:00] you should go in, the fact that you're gonna have to go through security and being pat down is a reality that might happen. Yeah. All of this stuff, um, where things that our co-design.

[00:48:11] Roya Azadi: They were terrified of it. Um, and it made going really scary. So knowing that was one suggestion.

[00:48:17] Gerry Scullion: Yeah. Knowing who's who in the zoo is something that I kept on hearing time and time again. Like who, who is the person that has got the de the, the ability to make the decision was, um, you know, just stuff like that.

[00:48:32] Gerry Scullion: Like, you know, um, was relatively. Kind of well known amongst the people who live within the system, but people who are unfamiliar with it, it, it was really kind of like foreign to them. Um, and it's funny that you ended up with that as the, uh, the outcome because when I was working in the project around vulnerability, that was one of my key recommendations was a video series that was somewhat childlike cuz I was [00:49:00] targeting, um, children primarily, um, as opposed to.

[00:49:04] Gerry Scullion: Adult 1980s retro videos that have been pulled across from the uk.

[00:49:10] Roya Azadi: Yeah, so, which aren't relevant, you know, that's very relevant.

[00:49:16] Roya Azadi: They, they do have to be made specifically, I think for the courts because so much can be, yeah, unfamiliar across countries, even across

[00:49:24] Gerry Scullion: regional metro. But as the policy changes, the, the, the content needs to change as well. And then the cost of production for, for producing those videos was, uh, was massive.

[00:49:35] Gerry Scullion: So, you know, scripting and all that kind of stuff. And it was just like, wow, okay, how do we do this? And it's, it's almost, you need to become a content provider as well when you're delivering the service and having. Skillset amongst government was quite alien to a lot of, a lot of them that I was speaking to at that time.

[00:49:52] Gerry Scullion: Mm-hmm.

[00:49:53] Roya Azadi: It, it was such an interesting one. Yeah, go ahead. No, go ahead, . I was just gonna say, you know, it [00:50:00] could feel the thing that's so interesting that the video thing is that the possible impact is so significant. What was that? The possible impact is so significant. A lot of these, the, the stress that people experience is so extremely heightened.

[00:50:15] Roya Azadi: Going to the Supreme Court of the state is a once in a lifetime experience for a lot of people. And for many people, it's the worst experience of their life is going to do it. And they, the, the anxiety and the stress emanates and it impacts everybody that they're coming in contact with. So the effecti.

[00:50:35] Roya Azadi: Reducing that stress and reducing that anxiety has such a disproportionate impact on everybody's experience of being in that place. Um, that it, you know, something as simple as making a video that explains where you stand. The impact of it really can't be discounted.

[00:50:51] Gerry Scullion: Absolutely. No one wants to be made f feel like they're, they're making mistakes and it's really empowering those [00:51:00] behaviors to, to, to shine through on the day.

[00:51:02] Gerry Scullion: Um, so it's, you know, it sounds like it's, it's a very logical outcome, but it sometimes that's, that's kind of what the research and that's what the, the co-design, um, the people who were part of the process, that was, that was one of their suggestions. Yeah,

[00:51:19] Roya Azadi: I think it's like giving people conf it, it gives you confidence when you've gone through a process like this.

[00:51:24] Roya Azadi: It means that the, the courts and whoever can go and really throw the full weight of their, um, you know, of their position or their money behind it, because they know that the idea came about in a defendable logical

[00:51:40] Gerry Scullion: way. We're coming towards the end of the episode here. Um, I want to thank you for your time and your energy and your vulnerability in answering some of the questions that, that I presented.

[00:51:51] Gerry Scullion: Thanks for having me. No, no, it was, it was absolutely fantastic to, to speak with you and as I said, like, you know, I'm a big fan of, of the work that Paper joined Do specifically [00:52:00] because. It's where I see design being the most effective and that's where, um, my love from it comes. So, um, big thank you. Big shout out to the team.

[00:52:09] Gerry Scullion: They're a paper giant as well. If people wanna reach out to you, um, I'll put a link to this, um, the case study on the paper Giant website, cuz I know people might wanna follow along as they're listening to this episode. Um, but if there's anything else that you wanna include in the show notes, just let me know and I'll drop it into the show notes for you, for people to listen and to follow along with.

[00:52:28] Gerry Scullion: But if people wanna get in touch with, How do they do it? What, what are the best way for people to, to get in touch with with Roy? Yeah,

[00:52:36] Roya Azadi: LinkedIn is good. I also have, um, my web, like my personal website. There's an email address there. So you can just go Toya alma Um, so there's an email address there.

[00:52:46] Roya Azadi: LinkedIn is fine, but you know, if there's anybody who's working in the justice. Or sort of court related world and wants to sort of hear more about this, I'd be really more than happy to share it. Yeah.

[00:52:58] Gerry Scullion: Internationally as well. Cause I [00:53:00] know there's some fantastic work. Definitely. Have you, have you connected with the Design Justice Network in the US as well?

[00:53:05] Gerry Scullion: I haven't, yeah. They're a great But I will now. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Like they, they're a great one. Uh, they do great work as well around Changemakers. Roy, thanks so much for your.

[00:53:15] Roya Azadi: Thanks so much, Jerry.

[00:53:20] Gerry Scullion: There you go, folks. I hope you enjoyed that episode and if you enjoyed it and want to listen to more, why not visit? This is hate where you can learn more about what we are up to and also explore our courses while through there. Thanks again for listening.

John Carter
Tech Vlogger & YouTuber

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