Natalie Parker is in her fourth year studying Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation at UTS. She has been interning with ADC over the past month developing a business plan looking at opportunities to expand ADC's educational programs. 

Natalie writes of her experience:  

"As part of my degree, I have to complete what the university likes to call an “innovation internship”. These internships have a pretty broad set of criteria. We just have to be able to experience creative or innovative practices in an organisation of our choice. When I was offered the opportunity to take part in an intensive 3 week internship with the Australian Design Centre, I knew I would be able to experience just that.

In looking for an internship, I knew I wanted to get involved with a non-profit. When most people hear the word innovation, they think about the Apples and Googles of the world; companies with the money, time and resources to create dedicated innovation departments and labs. While there is a lot of interesting innovation work being done in the corporate sector, I wanted to see how an organisation like the ADC managed to stay creative and innovative under the restrictions of a smaller budget and number of resources.

Over the past three weeks, I’ve seen just how innovative a non-profit organisation can be. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to work on the development of the ADC’s Design Emergency program. It’s been amazing to see how the ADC has adopted an entrepreneurial mindset to overcome the constraints of funding and get the program into its development phase.

My experience of creativity and innovation at the ADC seems to be reflected in the practices of a lot of Australian non-profits. Recent reports have found that 95% of Australian NFPs are taking part in innovative practices. It seems that the entrepreneurial spirit that I’ve seen so much of here at the ADC is a huge driver of innovation in the wider not-for-profit sector.

I’d encourage anyone interested in creativity or innovation to look at the work being done in non-profits. I’ve learnt that it doesn’t take a huge budget to be innovative. It’s about the right people, a good amount of enthusiasm and a willingness to pursue unfamiliar ideas."

Thanks Natalie, it's been great having you with us and we hope this is the start of something big!  We wish you every success in the future. 

 Image: Natalie Parker, 2018. Photo: Alix Fiveash

End of article.