Dr Penny Hagen

Co-Design Lead – The Southern Initiative

Over the last 15 years Penny has designed and led a range of participatory and social innovation initiatives in Australia and New Zealand working across community, commercial and academic sectors – with a focus on wellbeing. Penny specialises in projects with social outcomes and provides training and mentoring to design teams and organisations wanting to increase their social impact through the adoption of more participatory design and research approaches. Her practice has increasingly focused on understanding points of integration between health, design, youth development, evaluation, the built environment and policy in order to increase impact around social outcomes.

Penny has a PhD in participatory design and is a presenter and reviewer in academic and industry forums. Penny writes and speaks about co-design for youth and whānau wellbeing, social design, ethics and evaluative practices for social innovation and is a keen advocate for growing participatory and social design practices that are of Aotearoa. She is currently Co-design Lead at the Auckland Co-design Lab, helping to build co-design and social innovation capacity across public service and community teams.

Community Research


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