Designing the World's Most Sustainable Shopping Centre Experience



Design Process

Step 1: Context | Case Study & Personas








In the first 5 minutes of the workshop, participants were invited to familiarise themselves with the fictional shopping centre called ‘Stagnation Mall’ located in Victoria, and select one of the three personas for the following activities. 

Stagnation Mall is a shopping centre located in regional Victoria with a gross lettable area of 40,000 square meters, incorporating one full line department store, a full line discount department store, one supermarket, and approximately 50 specialty shops

Barry (57) has been the shopping centre manager at Stagnation Mall for the last decade. He is proud that he has overseen an energy and water retrofit for the shopping centre which has resulted in significant energy savings and reducing their total greenhouse gas emissions. He is now looking for the next big thing to ensure that his mall survives in this now COVID times and responds to what he can see as the growing financial and environmental and sustainability pressures. How can he support his community and turn stagnation mall into a new destination experience which is both sustainable and enjoyable.

Sam (38) is the owner of ‘Sammy’s Fruit Barn’, a family-owned fruit and vegie barn that she bought in Stagnation Mall 11 years ago. Sammy is proud of her reputation for selling only the freshest, top-quality fruit and vegetables. Since the Coles supermarket in the centre was recently refurbished and branded as a ‘Coles Local’ with more sustainability initiatives,  Sam has noticed a drop in her sales.


Liam (17) is in his last year of high school and is undecided on his future career path. His parents are busy professionals, which means that Liam is responsible for the grocery shopping, and cooking for himself and his two younger sisters 4 nights a week. Liam is really worried about whether he will have a planet to live on in the next 30-40 years. He has always been interested in reducing, reusing, and recycling, and buys ‘green’ when he can. But he’s no activist.

Step 2: Empathise

In the next step, participants had 10 minutes to work in groups to select a persona – either Barry the Shopping Centre Manger, Sam the owner of Sammy’s Fruit Barn, or Liam the customer,  and complete an Empathy Map for this person, writing their name in the circle.

Step 3: Ideation


Step 3.a Rapid Idea Generation 

Continuing to work in their groups, participants were invited to idea solutions based on the following How Might We question:

How Might We reimagine the shopping centre experience for Sam, Liam, or Barry, and the people who visit Stagnation Mall? 

Thinking about their chosen persona and this question, participants were challenged to come up with as many ideas as they could in 5 minutes on post-it notes.

Step 3.b Share your Ideas | Stick’Em to the Wall! 

In the second part of this activity, participants were asked to share their ideas by sticking their post-its on the relevant sheet of paper on the wall – each representing a different category: Technology, People, Place, Policy/Systems, Other. Everyone in the room gets a chance to go around and look at the different ideas.









Back in groups, each person shares their favourite idea that they found. Groups must then select one idea to progress with in Step 4.

Step 4: Prototype










Step 3.a News Headline

In groups, must now develop their idea as a news story in the ‘Headline Activity’ using the template for ‘Retail Insider”. Using the template, workshop participants wrote a headline of their newsworthy idea, a description of their idea in the content of the article, and drew a picture of their idea.

Step 3.b Pitch!

Finally, each group was given an opportunity to present their ‘idea for change’ to the rest of the room.

Project Team

Professor Evonne Miller – Design Sprint Facilitator, Director of the QUT Design Lab

Dr Sarah Johnstone – Resource Designer, Research Member of QUT Design Lab


Click on a worksheet to download the PDF copy. We recommend printing at A3 size.