Panda place © WWF-Australia / Anorah John

Panda place © WWF-Australia / Anorah John

A place for Pandas

10 Feb 2019

  • innovation

Anorah John, Innovation Project Specialist


I’ve long been fascinated by the links between physical spaces and creativity or innovation. These days, building a space for innovation is a hot topic. Regardless of what you call them, the principle remains the same - a co-creation space to inspire creativity, a safe space to share and explore new ideas and venture out of traditional silos of thought.

So how do you go about setting it up?

In the past year, we worked closely with a team of students from the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation (BCII) program at UTS on what was originally posed as a knowledge management ‘wicked problem’: Where can WWF-Australia implement Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve efficiency and service, while creating new ways to analyse environmental data in order to increase value for donors & investors?

Leveraging their transdisciplinary skill set, we really dug deep to understand the problem and how it plays out within the organisation. The first step to solving a problem is empathising with those for whom it’s a problem. After a plethora of interviews and external research, we learned that the space that needed exploration was how to create an environment to incentivise and motivate knowledge-sharing in the organisation. Through a process of experimentation a number of small prototypes were developed - both digital and physical. The team quickly learned how staff in the organisation respond to different means of sharing knowledge. This allowed them to quickly test and iterate as required.

Ultimately, this ongoing testing of an iterating process led to the creation of Panda Place - a physical space to spark creativity and collaboration while showcasing the values of WWF. This evolving space was sponsored by University of Technology Sydney and Officeworks (special shout out for the amazing support in helping us populate the space with some awesome tech and other goods!) and is based in WWF’s Sydney office. While currently in the testing process, this space acts as a place for inspiration, encouraging collaboration and cross pollination of ideas, and a physical hub showcasing WWF’s work.


Find us on LinkedIn and tell us, how does your organisation use space to foster creativity and innovation?


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