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Supporting Taronga Conservation Society to develop a bold strategic plan

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Taronga Conservation Society (Taronga) is responsible for two of Australia’s most loved attractions, Taronga Zoo Sydney and Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo. Its vision is “Securing a shared future for wildlife and people”.

The time was right for a strategic refresh

With its previous strategic plan due to end, Taronga was facing a challenging external environment and increased competition. For its next strategic plan, Taronga sought a timely and ambitious strategic refresh to keep building and assessing progress.

The methodical and highly considered approach was integral to synthesising our ideas into an approachable future forward plan.

Cameron Kerr, CEO, Taronga Conservation Society

We sought input from a variety of sources

We knew that there was no single repository of wisdom, so to inform the new strategic plan we interviewed Taronga’s executive and board members, as well as leaders of other zoo-based conservation organizations and experts in guest engagement, sustainability and early childhood education. We also ran a scenario planning workshop and focus groups, surveys and team-based discussions.

We synthesized these insights into a propositions paper to stimulate thinking about Taronga’s future. Using the Propositions Paper as an anchor, we facilitated workshops to draft, test and refine the plan's structure; the vision, purpose and challenge statements; and the priorities, outcomes, measures of success and year one actions.

The strategy has established six focus areas

The strategic plan that we created reaffirmed Taronga’s vision and set a new purpose and six strategic focus areas that each have specific outcomes and measures to monitor progress.

Taronga's 2021-2025 Strategic Plan

In substantial enhancements, the new strategy specifically calls out Taronga’s Commitment to Country and environmental leadership. A further innovation in the strategy was to reference the 11 UN Sustainable Development Goals the strategy supports.

Taronga’s 2021-2025 Strategic Plan was approved by the board and released by the NSW Environment Minister in March 2021. The executive commended Nous for our deep and rapid understanding and for recommendations that were the perfect fit for the context.

Taronga is now putting the strategic plan into action.

What you can learn from Taronga

  • A strategic plan needs to match the organisation's strategic circumstances.
  • A propositions paper can help focus ideas in order to develop a distinctive and well-supported strategy.
  • It is valuable to speak to people with diverse experiences to understand emerging trends.
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