Kindifarm take silver at WSU Paddl Games with EnergyAustralia
Paddl Co. Paddl Games Challenges are designed to help students and graduates gain quality professional experience working on real business cases as well as surface innovation for small to medium business regarding issues issue affecting the business. Our one-day Challenges are competitive and intense, but highly rewarding for everyone involved. They’re also a lot of fun.
Before every Paddl Games Challenge, teams are introduced via Slack, an online communications app that allows teams the opportunity to prepare for the challenge by introducing themselves and getting to know a bit more about the business they will be working with. As an icebreaker, the first task teams have to come together on is coming up with a name for their team. The more creative the name the better with the best team name prize a bucket of Maltesers to get them through the day. The Naming Challenge allows Challengers to show off their creativity and sense of humour. Puns and wordplay are often very popular.
“Koalafication in Design Thinking” began our first WSU Paddl Games Challenge with Western Sydney University and EnergyAustralia as the winners of the best name prize. In keeping with tradition, the team used wordplay, due to the fact the business they were working with was Kindifarm, a Mobile Animal Farm based in Western Sydney
Every Paddl Games Challenge follows a schedule of three “Sprints.” These sprints are designed to help teams structure their process of creating a solution for a specific issue affecting their business participant:
Sprint 1: Problem Framing and Ideation
Sprint 1 is very important and both the students and businesses are very involved. It is during Sprint 1 that students ask detailed questions of the business to determine the specific areas they will focus on. There is a lot of brainstorming during this sprint. Some good, some bad, but all of it productive and relevant towards the end goal of generating a feasible and practical solution for the business.
Kindifarm have been operating since 1992 and are one of Australia’s first for-hire farms. They cater for multiple occasions and events, providing fun environments for people to interact and meet a wide range of animals, from pigs to lambs to donkeys. The safety and wellbeing of their animals is the primary concern for Kindifarm, which means a high energy consumption for the business as it must provide constant care using various machinery, including a heating bed for the piglets and other baby animals on the farm in the winter. ‘Koalafication in Design Thinking’, (further referred to as Koalafication), quickly learned of this priority as they worked on a solution with Kindifarm’s business representative Noeline during Sprint 1.
There were other points about Kindifarm realised by ‘Koalafication’ during Sprint 1. Noeline already takes special care to ensure that Kindifarm is energy efficient through the use of solar panels. Her continuing commitment toward ensuring sustainable practices in her business was very important to Noeline.
From their discussions with Noeline during Sprint 1, ‘Koalafication’ decided to focus their efforts on a single problem statement: “How might we improve the ethical perception of how we care for animals through the use of energy?”
Sprint 2: Concept Design and Development
By the time Sprint 2 begins, each team must have identified a single problem or issue that is affecting the business. From this Problem Statement, the team then develops its solution for this specific problem. Sprint 2 is a very important time for the team to utilise Challenge Labs. By speaking to industry experts at the Challenge Labs, the students can validate the ideas they formed during Sprint 1 and develop them further (to learn more about Challenge Labs at Paddl Games, read our blog post here). However, during Sprint 2 teams need to be in constant dialogue with the business representative. The team’s solution must be practical and possible for the business to implement, so understanding the limitations and needs of the business is key.
‘Koalaifaction’ wanted to help Noeline and Kindifarm enhance their brand awareness by looking at how the energy consumption of the business could not only be reduced, but how the overall energy efficiency of the farm would work toward the business’ benefit. After consultation with EnergyAustralia’s energy experts at the Challenge Labs and consideration of the sustainable efforts already undertaken at Kindifarm, ‘Koalafication’ ended Sprint 2: Concept Design and Development with a solid solution: have Kindifarm certify itself as a Certified B Corporation.
Certified B Companies are businesses that balance purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. By taking this direction, Kindifarm would set themselves up in a position that would promote and certify their sustainable practices going forward, such as using electricity powered vehicles over fuel to transport animals, rechargeable batteries in mobile pens, geo-thermal heating in the animal’s houses and many more greener solutions. ‘Koalafication’ spoke with EnergyAustralia’s Challenge Lab mentors throughout their solution process and confirmed that these are initiatives EnergyAustralia can help any company with.
By proposing that Kindifarm alters its practices of energy consumption to more eco-friendly ways, ‘Koalafication’ argued that Kindifarm would be taking it’s ethical approach to caring for their animals and applying it to their energy consumption. Besides the B Corporation Certification, ‘Koalafication’ also suggested various methods to reduce the energy consumption and further the sustainability on the farm. This included a well placed conversation with fellow business participants, EO Lighting, to discuss alternative more energy efficient heating beds for the baby animals. Or utilising electric cars to transport the animals to events, or solar powered headlamps replacing battery powered ones for nighttime work.
Sprint 3: Storytelling and Tuning
Sprint 3 is about refinement. By now the work of identifying a key issue and creating the solution should be finished. The business representative takes a back seat during Sprint 3, and many leave their team to network with other business reps, corporate sponsors and government reps. The students continue to work hard on creating a concise presentation that will clearly inform the judging panel of how their business will benefit from the solution they have innovated.
Energy, clarity and a passionate display of intent to improve the business is always important for every team’s pitch. By this point, every team has spent an entire day identifying a problem and creating a solution, so Sprint 3 is so important because this is the only time the judges will get to hear the solution. With only five minutes allocated to each team for their presentation, the pressure is on.
‘Koalafication’ used the technology at their disposal and accompanied their pitch with a powerpoint presentation complete with hand drawn illustrations of farm animals. When ‘Koalafication’ had finished their pitch, the judges turned to Noeline from Kindifarm to see if initiatives proposed by the team, such as certifying the business as a B Corporation, were steps that Kindifarm were willing to take. Noeline responded that Kindifarm had considered becoming a Certified B Corporation before, but had yet to begin the process. Noeline told the judges that ‘Koalafication’ had now helped Kindifarm see how the business could go about becoming certified, and the areas in which Kindifarm would improve as a result of that action.
The judges were happy and praised ‘Koalafication’s’ clearly thought out process that kept the ethical practices of Kindifarm in mind at all times. They awarded the team 2nd place for their efforts. This meant Noeline could take home the 2nd place prize of $1,000 energy credits for her business, and each challenger received a Google Home Mini device.
Congratulations again to ‘Koalafication in Design Thinking’ and Kindifarm for their achievements!
Our next challenge in the WSU Paddl Games series will take place on September 26th and will be supported by Westpac. Don’t miss out on your opportunity to work alongside a real business, gain real workplace experience and win great prizes like Koalafication in Design Thinking did! Apply Today!
Paddl Co. takes pride in the positive experiences everyone walks away with from Paddl Games. If you’re looking to build your Experience Profile and expand your professional network through Paddl Games and many other great volunteer, internship, casual or full time opportunities, get started with your profile on paddl.com today! If you are a small business interested in participating, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.