Björn Rust is a post-industrial designer cum researcher, innovator and educator, developing context-sensitive innovation practices for people, planet and beyond.

Carpe posterum

Professional Experience

Innovation Manager @ Elrha London, GB

Leading Skills and Capabilities Building for the Humanitarian Innovation Fund. Working collaboratively with colleagues, grantees, and external stakeholders to document, develop, decolonise, and deliver accessible, context-sensitive, and future-aware technical resources, including tools and processes for managing and enabling innovation within humanitarian contexts through supportive cultures and environments.

  • Reported to and liaised with statutory and institutional donors FCDO and Dutch MFA
  • Coordinated and delivered non-financial grantee support, incl. convenings, workshops, and presentations
  • Managed researchers exploring the present and future needs of humanitarian innovators and innovation managers
  • Managed and co-created ethics resources with McGill/McMaster universities and participatory resources with MIT’s D-Lab
  • Managed FCDO-funded grantees exploring how inclusive disaster preparedness can enable inclusive humanitarian response, for people with disabilities and older people
Research Lead @ Oxfam Australia Melbourne, AU

Led research outcomes for Oxfam’s UnBlocked Cash pilot, while contributing to programme design and technical advisory across all aspects of the project. The role included horizon scanning, partner evaluation, designing and delivering programme design and learning workshops, refining research methodologies, coordinating stakeholder inputs, and managing monitoring, evaluation, accountability, and learning.

Vanuatu: Trial of pre-paid cash cards bodes well for disaster preparedness
Using blockchain technology to help with humanitarian assistance in the Pacific
Sessional Instructor → Module Leader @ RMIT University Melbourne, AU

Taught design and innovation theory with a focus on complex systems and community-led solutions for built environments, including patient-centred design and qualitative research methodologies in service of culturally and emotionally sensitive guerrilla information systems for oncological treatment. Developed and delivered original material on the role of designers in the Anthropocene and encouraged students to explore the social implications of this proposed epoch by presenting climate science alongside emerging technologies and speculative futures.

Co-Founder @ Of_Substance Melbourne, AU → 🌍

Establishing a multi-disciplinary design practice developing community-led solutions and foresights to shape the future of our built environments in service of people and planet.

Consultant @ Aurecon Melbourne, AU

Evaluated and supported the needs of the Digital Futures team in its mission to digitise Aurecon’s business, while guiding product design and developing frameworks to support future products.

Design Lead → Design Director @ Local Peoples Melbourne, AU

Led human-centred solutions for purpose-driven brands and institutions. The role was that of a practical designer and a design thinker, responsible for all projects, their clients, and its team, including the in-house impact-oriented publication Matters Journal. The design director’s role was responsible for creative direction, asset management, event design, collaborator outreach, editorial design and production, while assisting with product development and editorial strategy.

Associate Creative Director → Creative Director @ Squint/Opera Melbourne, AU

Created and directed creative content for the built and unbuilt environment. The creative director’s role comprised pitching creative work, managing client and stakeholder relationships, maintaining effective teams while developing insights, experiences, and stories in support of masterplans and placemaking strategies.

Clients: The State Government of Victoria, Places Victoria, Lendlease, Mirvac, ISPT, Sydney Opera House, Anzac Memorial Trustees, Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), Arts Centre Melbourne, Foster and Partners, Fender Katsalidis, Woods Bagot, Hassell and Denton Corker Marshall among others

Show reel by Unsigned Studio (formally Squint/Opera) including projects directed by Björn Rust.

Sessional Instructor @ Queensland College of Art Brisbane, AU

Developed and delivered classes on photography for industrial designers.

Co-Founder / Creative Director @ Scrag End Brisbane, AU → 🌍

Independently publishing socially conscious, evergreen food media exploring the impact of our consumption.

Scrag End’s incisive take on the Australian food system is worthy of a wider audience…

Video review: Scrag End journal - STACK magazines

Founder @ Gestaltivist Brisbane, AU → 🌍

Developing holistic, evidence-based solutions for purpose-driven people. Currently embedded with Aurecon’s Digital Futures team, evaluating and redesigning the user experience and interface of the firm’s suite of digital tools.


  • Problem scoping, design research and need identification
  • Insight-driven opportunity identification and solution development
  • System mapping and service design
  • Adapting and testing existing solutions in the local context
  • Design and facilitation of workshops, co-creation activities and design sprints
  • Building user-centred innovation capabilities within organisations
Industrial Designer @ Street & Garden Furniture Co. Brisbane, AU

Consulting with clients and designing solutions for urban environments. Managing and designing marketing and communication, online presence and infrastructure. Implementing software solutions and developing best practice.

Pro Bono

Judge @ School of International Futures 🌍

Evaluated applications for the Next Generation Foresight Practitioners (NGFP) main award and coordinated communications to attract more diverse applicants from low- and middle-income countries working on humanitarian problems.

Editorial Commitee Member @ Médecins Sans Frontières🌍

Reviewed project abstracts and co-designed the 2021 MSF Scientific Days agenda with a small group of innovation experts from across the humanitarian sector.

Community Prototyper @ OpenIDEO 🌍

Supported innovators with one-on-one mentoring during the 'Healthy Bones, Healthy Ageing Challenge'. This challenge asked: How might we reimagine older adults’ care experience after breaking a bone due to osteoporosis to ensure their first fracture is their last?

Project Lead @ World Vision International — Cambodia Phnom Penh, KH

Developed and delivered a participatory practise framework to inform the design of a multifunction cross- sectoral space for WVI-C staff, partners, donors, and recipients to interact and collaborate.

Researcher @ Oxfam Australia — ‘Oxlab’ Innovation Hub Melbourne, AU

Supported the design, delivery, and reporting of Oxfam’s Australian Aid-funded ‘blockchain’ pilots to increase disaster preparedness in the Pacific region. Designed research methodologies and defined measurements to evaluate the cost, quality, and time-efficiency of distributed ledger technology-based, intra-institutional transfers and cash and voucher assistance for the humanitarian sector.


Year Institution Programme Grade
2019 Oxford Brookes University / UNITAR Postgraduate Certificate — Humanitarian Action and Peacebuilding 3.3/4
2019 RMIT University Master of Disaster, Design and Development 3.7/4
2007 Queensland University of Technology Bachelor of Built Environment — Industrial Design Major 5/7
2003 Griffith College Diploma of Design Studies — Communication Design 5.5/7

Short Courses

Year Institution Programme Grade
2018 Acumen Academy Introduction to Human-Centred Design -
2018 Acumen Academy Social Entrepreneurship 101 -
2017 UnSchool Disruptive Design Workshop -
2016 IDEO U Leading for Creativity -
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