Last Thursday members of UNSW faculties of Art & Design and Built Environment, and UNSW Innovations continued their journey through the dynamic innovation initiative called Kickbox.

Organised by UNSW A&D lecturer Kate Dunn, in collaboration with staff from UNSW Innovations and Facilities Management, a series of Kickbox workshops have been launched across UNSW campuses. 

Developed by software company Adobe to foster innovation among employees and communities, Kickbox is quite literally “innovation-in-a-box”. Each participant gets a red box containing everything designers and innovators need to kickstart their enterprise or idea. Among the Kickbox starter kit is money to fund experiments free of expense reports and approvals, instructions including quick reference cards outlining the six levels in the red box and critically, vouchers for coffee!

Kickbox has been open-sourced so everyone can use it. UNSW Innovations, in collaboration with Art & Design, has adopted the model in response to some of the key elements of UNSW President and Vice Chancellor Professor Ian Jacob’s strategic proposals and to foster cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovation across UNSW and its communities. Involving a total of four sessions, each participant is eligible for $500 to launch and test-drive their original ideas.

So what is a Kickbox day like?

Unlike most Innovation projects, Kickbox starts with no specific aim, rather participants are encouraged to talk about and investigate what they would like to see changed, improved or instigated. The ideas coming out of the workshops range from community building events, like film screenings on the wall of the Scientia Building, to a mentor/ mentee hookup website for UNSW staff and students based on the structure of a dating website.

Participants can change their ideas as the workshops progress or collaborate to pool their funds and resources, the parameters are almost endlessly flexible. The guiding principle of the project is that each person working with the university community has something valuable to contribute to shape the future and each person is a born innovator.

Last Thursday was the third and final workshop and included an inspirational visit from Dean of UNSW Art & Design, Ross Harley who encouraged innovators to experiment and rapidly test their ideas. The last session in this series will be held at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre and  takes the form of a pitch session where participants present their ideas to their peers, and will include a guest presentation by Prof Jacobs.