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Housing after divorce? Creative ideas.

Details of Contributors

Marguerite Picard – MELCA (Melbourne Collaborative Alliance)

Location of Contributors

Melbourne, Australia.

What was the justice challenge that you were addressing and for whom?

The challenge was for divorcing clients to expand their thinking beyond what the law could provide. That is, moving towards goals and interests rather than positions, in collaboration and mediation.

What was the issue with previous alternatives?

There was no existing alternative. Ideas were previously verbal or written with no visual aid.

What was the design process and/or tools that you used?

The design process came from a game/challenge I had set for a client who was struggling with letting go his home in the context of divorce and didn’t have an alternative to look forward to. He had little money and was experiencing low mood. He was despondent about finding a home, believing that the one he was letting go was ‘the only one’. I challenged him to come up with as many ideas as he could, and my part of the challenge was to come up with more (and different ideas) than him. We succeeded. I was running out of ideas, so included ‘give everything away’. At our next meeting, he said that was the idea that really got him thinking. He liked the humour too, so when I designed these cards, I was looking for humour and some quirkiness, as a way to provoke thinking a la De Bono.

Did you face any particular challenges?

Being respectful towards people facing a crisis.

Describe your end product

The end product is a box of bright, visually appealing Housing Cards called ‘Unreal Real Estate’, 63 in all. They are used to coach clients and spark new thinking.

What has been the impact of your innovation on the justice challenge? Have you had feedback from your end users?

Clients love them. They say that they like the colour, the humour, and the fact that there are so many ideas that they can eliminate for practical reasons, consider, or just laugh at! The cards have expanded thinking in collaborative cases and mediation.

Do you have any future plans for this project?

I’d like more people to know they exist, for the benefit of clients, and for the benefit of lawyers who have rigid thinking. The weight and texture of the cards is important to me, so a digital version is limiting, and postage costs are significant, hence no marketing effort has been undertaken. Digital files could be printed remotely though.  

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