Sally Hill and Yvonne Lee are the founders of Wildwon, the B Corporation company that uses specialist experience design and event production to initiate deep and lasting positive social change.
As their uncompromising company works with communities to produce meaningful change, Thread Publishing sits down with the founders to learn how their unique design tools have personally touched more than 1000 innovative thinkers.
What makes your design experiences special?
Yvonne: We design experiences for deep positive impact. A lot of the time, it’s strong, committed and motivated social communities that want to make those changes. So a lot of our work tends to be around launching a new community, supporting existing communities, or helping communities get across a certain message.
Sally: The reason that we nearly always work at the nexus of real-world and digital experiences is that we really believe in the human factor – the power of face-to-face interactions and relationships in creating change and building communities. Building a strong community is a way to encourage any kind of lasting behaviour change.
We really believe in the human factor – the power of face-to-face interactions and relationships in creating change and building communities. Building a strong community is a way to encourage any kind of lasting behaviour change. Sally Hill
How do you decide which roles to take on?
Sally: Yvonne is our user experience (UX) design expert and the producer of our projects. She works closely with our clients and is ultimately responsible for the delivery of projects.
Yvonne‘s background is in UX service design, so part of our approach is to take an in-depth look at how people experience an event. Usually those tools apply to digital interfaces but we apply them to real-world experiences.
My focus is our marketing, communications and new business. I deal with the way that we project to the broader community and keep a tab on the sustainability and social change landscape.
What has been your pinnacle project so far?
Sally: For me, Progress 2013 has been the pinnacle so far. At the time, the Centre for Australian Progress was a new organisation and they wanted their events to spark people to do amazing things. The brief was to gather 1000 leaders, decision makers and key people of influence together for two days. It was probably the largest gathering of campaigners, non-profit and political professionals of the last decade.
So 1000 people gathered in Melbourne – and experienced three days of world-class speakers and workshops about leadership, organisational transformation, coalition, tactics and tools. And, by design, the conversation and inspiration continued well after the event ended.
It was the most ambitious brief we’ve ever received in terms of building the ambition of a sector and transforming and improving the way it does what it does. It was hugely exciting.
Yvonne: Especially given the political environment at the time. It was just after the last Federal election when the not-for-profit sector was taking a long hard look at itself. We looked at the reasons for the election campaign loss, and at their capacity as they stared down the barrel of severe budget cuts. That upped the ante of the challenge, but that’s the kind of movement-building we want to be involved in.
We were the event-production partners. Our clients curated the agenda and sourced the speakers but they handed the custodianship of the experience – for the ticket holders, the speakers, the sponsors, the volunteers, and everyone who was required to make it a reality – to us.
Tell us more about getting 1,000 decision makers together?
Sally: The process we went through is a good example of design thinking and methodology applied. We spent a lot of time with the Centre for Australian Progress team immersing ourselves in what they – and their community – wanted to achieve.
We created personas around the archetypal personalities attending the conference: the CEO, the NGO, the speaker, the policy maker, the campaigner, and thought leaders concerned with every issue from human rights and gender equality to the environment and Indigenous affairs.
It was our job to create an experience that would satisfy all of those different stakeholders and give everyone a little bit of what they wanted out of this conference.
Yvonne: In the end the energy and vibe were absolutely electric.
Sally: We’re working with the Centre for Centre for Australian Progress now on Progress 2015. To be a partner in such a hugely ambitious goal is incredible.
Behind the scenes at Progress 2013:
Wildwon Projects is an event design and production company. Founded in 2012, Sally Hill and Yvonne Lee manage less than ten employees across up to twenty projects, from festivals to launch events to foodie feasts. They work only on projects that have a net positive social impact.
For more information check out Wildwon’s website at www.wildwon.com.au
Photos of Sally Hill and Yvonne Lee by Wildwon. All rights reserved