PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT & PRODUCT AUDITS: ABORIGINAL INTERPRETIVE CENTRE Aboriginal Discovery Centre (Illawarra, NSW Coast, Australia) - Product Research & Concept Development - Phases 1 & 2 A collaborative project with Calais Consultants of Sydney. Concept development and design brief for proposed new Centre's exhibit areas & visitor facilities. Developed following extensive consultations & workshops with regional Aboriginal communities and their Elders, as the key stakeholders and storytellers. KEY CHALLENGE:The project required great care in addressing the challenge of aligning the product/content development approach with key market research and business needs, but not to the detriment of the community’s core cultural values and concerns. The Aboriginal Elders knew that their larger vision for the interpretive centre - of building cross-cultural bridges of understanding - needed to be carefully balanced with not losing sight of the parallel need to maximize visitor impacts, appeal and revenues. Consequently, advancing the project involved a high trust-based process that required community engagement and approval at all key stages. Developing a strong degree of personal and professional trust was even more important an objective & result than normal, given Australia’s tragic colonial and inter-racial history.The truly powerful, contemporary life stories shared by the local indigenous community lay at the heart of the project’s successful delivery. With all permissions in place, the aim was for these stories to form the foundation of the centre’s cultural interpretations and visitor experiences. But in recording the stories, an additional important issue emerged. Based on various unhappy past experiences, some of the key community figures to be interviewed were initially not readily trustful of the interview process itself, as they did not want their stories to be possibly abused, betrayed or worse still, stolen. With these concerns properly addressed, the stories selected for final interpretation at the centre, proved immensely insightful and effectual with visitors of all ages. GREATER SYDNEY CULTURAL TOURISM AUDITTourism NSW/Destination NSW (Sydney, Australia)Development of methodology and management of field team conducting a comprehensive product audit of the diverse cultural tourism assets (both known and overlooked or unacknowledged) of the greater Sydney area. A vast region extending from the Pacific Coast to the inland Blue Mountains. The audit and its database focused on identifying those key products and experiences of existing, or likely potential special appeal to Sydney’s target markets and their known culturally-based interests. The process encompassed products of both a ‘commercial and public’ or ’paid and free’ status - basically extracting and highlighting those of special relevance to planned future marketing efforts aimed at building higher market awareness and conversion rates. KEY CHALLENGE:The massive scale of the area involved including the number of distinct city boundaries (within the Greater Sydney region) encompassed. A challenge compounded by the wide range of qualifying cultural experience categories needing to be audited within each locality and its relevant precincts.