9 month innovation incubator for a volunteering-focused non-profit.

HCD Training

"Brilliant. This is the first time in 9 years I've witnessed true collaborative, ongoing teamwork that transcended our regular programmes."

- Trees For Life Manager

Project info

Growing Communities


With over 1800 active volunteers, Trees for Life (TFL) has a strong presence in South Australia. Recognising that community attitudes to volunteering are changing, they approached Hinterland to build their innovation capability, explore future audiences, and get ahead of the change.

“Brilliant facilitators, so much energy, excellent process."


We designed a nine-month version of our innovation incubator for TFL, customised for a mixed group including staff, the leadership team, and two sustainability officers from partnering councils.

The process began with a two-day intensive on the foundations of human-centred design and ethnographic design research.

Over the next seven weeks, participants went out and interviewed members of the community about their lives and their relationship with nature.

Finally, we then brought them back together for a three-day process of making sense of patterns, insights, and opportunities within the data from those interviews. We used those insights to generate ideas, develop concepts, and develop an innovation portfolio for Trees For Life.

We had three in-person multi-day workshops separated by time for the teams to do project work, including design research and prototyping.
“Great skill in guiding through process and navigating the whole group through extremely complex ideas & process.”


Coming out of the process, TFL now has an innovation portfolio with active projects across three horizons of change, staff trained in innovation processes, leadership trained in managing innovation, and stronger partnerships with key local councils.

Feedback from the series of Trees for Life innovation workshops was overwhelmingly positive with a “likely to recommend” average rating of 9.7 out of 10

“The facilitators managed to keep us on track while covering a lot of ground. Passionate, enthusiastic, respectful, friendly."

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