Cate Shaw


Area of specialization
Design Thinking
Systems Thinking
Design Discovery Methodology Development
Design Training and Coaching


Contexts of Work
Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Ghana, USA


Health, Equity, Education,
Slow Design,  Community-led Change


Design Lead
Design integrator
Project lead

“I believe Systems change is a gentle art. There is a careful alchemy of restoring wellbeing, removing barriers and nurturing new possibility.

Cate has a background in architecture and over the past 30 years has practiced, experimented and questioned design in different mediums and at different scales from the materiality and intimacy of garment design to the complexity of transforming global systems.

I am fascinated by the dynamics and complexity of human systems. For the past 6 years I have practiced design thinking and systems design with ThinkPlace global where I have lead co-design change projects for intractable challenges: How to provide services to people experiencing domestic violence who cannot get access to the mainstream system, How to build community agency and collective accountability for child and maternal health, How communities start to acknowledge intergenerational trauma and its impacts and create change for the next generation through healing, building resilience, literacy and youth empowerment. I am interested in long term change, and slow design that can align with the pace of change in a human system and has the possibility of changing deep systems like culture.

I love that human experience and culture is recreated by each generation. Today we live in times where rapid accountable change of human systems for the next generation is our responsibility. Change is possible. let’s do this together.

I joined Sonder to explore known and unknown questions about how we design. How do we decouple the relationship between design and business to enhance the cooperation necessary for systems transition?