Adelaide: designed for designers

Monday, March 22, 2021 | By atomix
Read time: 4-7 mins

An overnight success decades in the making

Adelaide has outgrown its reputation as the quiet achiever. Our city has just been announced as Australia’s most liveable city and is the only Australian capital in the top 7 of the Smart 21 of the world’s ‘intelligent communities’ (for the fourth year in a row). 

The renaissance hasn’t happened overnight, but it’s certainly happening. There is a new energy, optimism and confidence that’s attracting attention, investment and talent. In this time of pandemic transition, is it time for Adelaide to claim its status as a magnet city

Accolades are wonderful, but it’s what locals say about a city that’s designed for life that reveal what’s special about Adelaide. 

 

 

This City of Adelaide initiative sits alongside the 2020–2024 strategic plan, with priorities that will entice any creative professional to consider Adelaide. It’s an affordable place to do business, a city that supports wellbeing, celebrates heritage, leads in climate action and transforms the way people move around and connect. 

Australia is one of the most urbanised places in the world, so growth naturally starts with our cities. Our state’s Premier recently shared the welcome news that many more people are choosing Adelaide for opportunities that seem out of reach in the better-known southern cities of Melbourne and Sydney. In these eastern states, the cost of living is so much higher – and let’s not talk about the cost of housing. The emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic has hastened the trend of remote working and for ‘knowledge worker’ roles. Distributed teams are the norm rather than the exception.  

It’s easy to see why Adelaide’s charms have appealed to an increasing number of people working in national or international roles. This migration trend is curiously dubbed a reversal of the ‘brain drain’ a phenomenon cited by Adelaide’s recent ‘thinker in residence’, Allyson Hewitt, herself a pioneer of innovation at MaRS in Toronto. Hewitt is a champion for the ‘purpose economy’ built on social capital and aspirations to meet the UN’s global goals

Adelaide’s a hub for entrepreneurs 

Our familiar industries of education, defence, agriculture, renewable energy and tourism are still doing well, thanks in part to our management of the Covid-19 pandemic. It seems that interstate migration is catalysed by a demand for knowledge workers in progressive and hi-tech industries including space, ecotourism, wellbeing and health, advanced manufacturing, disability and ageing, film making, agtech, energy and sustainability and almost every dimension of the digital economy. One of the best ways to see the diversity in our innovation community is affirmed annually with the 40 under 40 awards. 

Global innovation neighbourhood, Lot Fourteen, North Terrace (credit: Government of SA)

 

Many of these ‘new’ industries are setting up or branching out in Adelaide, not only thanks to savvy economic development and infrastructure initiatives, like the Ten Gigabit Adelaide optic fibre network, but simply because mid-sized cities are perfect places to try something new. 

That’s why Adelaide is seen by some of the world’s brightest people as a living laboratory, including the MIT, with its new big data living lab setting up in Lot Fourteen. This hi-tech innovation precinct is home to the space industry, the government’s future industries exchange, FIXE, headed by a ‘chief entrepreneur’, and the Australian Institute of Machine Learning

We’ve stopped looking for unicorns

Venture capitalists and investors may still catch the occasional tech unicorn in Australia – Canva and Culture Amp come to mind. Now, thanks to the digital transformation boom, it’s now rare to see recruiters seeking designer unicorns: the all-in-one project manager, researcher, information architect, interaction and user interface designer, stakeholder management specialist, writer and full-stack web developer!

This maturity in the design sector in Adelaide compels employers to leave wishful thinking behind seek their own service designer, human-centred design (HCD) practitioner, inclusive or universal design practitioner, or designers and researchers focused on customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX).

atomix social innovation lab workshop team members participating in small group ideation activity
New communities of design practice


These exciting trends for Adelaide mean that there has never been a better time for talented creative and technology professionals to join the state’s burgeoning digital industry. If you’re ready to make the move, you’ll join a welcoming community of experience designers with professional and social networks and groups like HeapsGoodUX, Design for Humans, Product Designers of Adelaide, Learning Experience Design and Adelaide Agile Group.

Beyond these communities of practice, there are also some great networks to help you feel at home, including Adelaide Abroad, a boutique program to support people new to South Australia.

We certainly know how to have fun (and relax)

Work-life balance isn’t a fantasy in a place like South Australia. It helps what we’re the festival state,  with cultural and artistic celebrations that extend well beyond ‘Mad March’ that celebrate artistry, entertainment and some of the world’s finest food, wine, experiences and events

Beach barista, Kangaroo Island (credit: South Australian Tourism Commission)
Beach barista, Kangaroo Island (credit: South Australian Tourism Commission)

 

The whole state is something of a natural playground, with healthy growth in nature-based tourism and all the adventures and activities that make the most of our coasts, oceans and natural wilderness. In fact, Adelaide is an ideal base for visiting so many wild and wonderful destinations, including Kangaroo Island, a place famed for its forests, gourmet produce and countless secluded beaches.

We’re ready to get to know new people

Atomix is right in the middle of all this exciting innovation and change, something we have seen accelerate in our first 10 years. Our work is all about human-centred digital and we feel like that qualifies us as an employer of choice for experience designers. We’re really flexible with how we do things, which is why we embraced working from home long ago, though we still love connecting now and then in our studio jungle.

It helps that Atomix works for some of the most interesting and influential organisations and enterprises in Australia. And we always have our own projects that deliver on our mission to create meaningful impact – what we call our innovation lab

If you needed any more encouragement, head to our careers page. We’re hiring now. Or just write a short paragraph about yourself on our contact page and tell us why you were inspired to get in touch. And of course you are welcome to give us a call on 1300 946 160 for a chat with anyone in our friendly team.

Join the team

Learn more about us, or connect on LinkedIn or Instagram.


This post builds on one about UX and Adelaide we published in August 2018. If you’re curious, check it out; a lot can change in less than three years!


Featured Image: Riverscape at sunset (credit: South Australian Tourism Commission)