The SDG Dome: Utilizing the Power of Interactive Technology & Entertainment to Create an Educational Impact

Ziporen Hazum Shares Insights on this Revolution in Sustainable Edutainment

In recent years, the world has seen various innovations and masterminds come to the forefront to address global challenges. Among these, the SDG Dome stands out as a beacon of hope and progress. Behind this game-changing project was a visionary—Ziporen Hazum. She is passionate about the adoption of sustainable processes in the entertainment industry, specifically with immersive experiences, such as the Arcadia Earth Museum.

As a Creative Producer and Production Manager at The Ark Experience, working with Uri Schutzer, the Creative Director and Co-Founder, Ziporen collaborated with Rooftop Immersive Studios and PwC HQ in Amsterdam to design an interactive experience about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Launched in February 2019, with participants including Princess Laurentien van Oranje, bookings for the experience were maxed out immediately upon its introduction. This immense popularity led to two additional versions and a feature at the UN’s High-level Political Forum in July 2019.

The SDG Dome, named after the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), is an architectural and technological marvel. Designed as an interactive and immersive hub, the dome is dedicated to educating, inspiring, and activating global citizens towards sustainable futures. In a sustainable wooden dome, resembling a geodesic dome, it utilizes advanced 360 projections, virtual reality, interactive technology, props, and immersive environments to provide visitors with an unforgettable experience. As they step inside, they are taken on a journey across our planet, witnessing both the challenges we face and the solutions available.

An early design of the dome by Production Designer Shmuel Ben Shalom

An early design of the dome by Production Designer Shmuel Ben Shalom

“Ziporen possesses a broad perspective and demonstrates exceptional clarity in comprehending the entire scope of a project,” Uri says. “This quality proves invaluable in intricate endeavors, particularly when confronted with tight deadlines and constrained budgets. While she kept working with the creative team in New York, Ziporen managed to build a construction team and tech partners overseas that worked during the holidays to meet the deadline.”

Ziporen single-handedly produced every facet of the LBE experience, managing an international team spanning New York, Ukraine, the Netherlands, and Israel. Despite the vast scope and novel challenges, her expertise in creative production ensured the project’s completion in under two months from contract to launch. 

“Making a positive impact on my community has always been close to my heart,” Ziporen shares. “I was excited and curious about the SDG Dome project once I learned the scope and magnitude of this experience’s influence, which I may never be fully aware of. The type of experience I want participants to go through and what they are left with after it’s over were the cornerstone of every decision we made.”

Beyond being just an exhibition space, the SDG Dome serves as a center for innovation, collaboration, and action. It houses research facilities and incubation labs where thinkers, makers, and activists come together to develop sustainable solutions. 

Ziporen collaborated with Uri to craft a comprehensive experience, focusing on five main pillars:

  • Education: They aimed to present content that would resonate personally with participants, educating and motivating them about sustainable choices.
  • Interactivity: The experience featured interactive games where participants could control projections on a dome using a controller, promoting both individual and group engagement.
  • Entertainment: Despite delving into sensitive environmental topics, they maintained a hopeful and entertaining tone, emphasizing the potential for positive change.
  • Collaboration: Participants were encouraged to collaborate to find answers, sparking conversations that extended beyond the duration of the event, thus bridging the experience into real-life discussions.
  • Sustainability: To stay true to their message, every production decision was made with sustainability in mind. This involved partnering with a Ukrainian company to create a sustainable dome, ensuring minimal waste in all production aspects.

“The rationale behind my choice of Ziporen as the ideal collaborator for this ambitious venture stemmed from her meticulous attention to detail,” says Uri. “Her level of perfectionism is a must when you deliver to a high-profile client like PwC, and there are so many stakeholders.”

Ziporen was the driving force behind the SDG Dome, bringing a unique blend of visionary thinking and interdisciplinary expertise. She transformed the abstract concept of SDGs into tangible experiences, emphasizing the importance of experiential learning over simple information dissemination. Ziporen seamlessly blended technological solutions with a human-centered approach with a foundation in both technology and humanities. She was unwavering in her commitment to sustainability, ensuring every component of the dome upheld these principles. Beyond the structure itself, Hazum championed community engagement, forging partnerships with various organizations, making the SDG Dome a nexus where local concerns met global solutions.

Upon entering the dome, visitors were enveloped by 360-degree projections representing the Earth’s core. Donning VR headsets seamlessly transitioned them into virtual realities of pressing environmental issues, all underscored by evocative original music. Post VR, the game began, delving deep into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Based on thorough research, the questions addressed both global concerns and actionable individual choices.

The game’s design enabled real-time feedback, with correct answers visibly improving the environment around them, emphasizing the immediate impact of their choices. Through stages ranging from polluted oceans to smog-filled cities, the game encouraged collaboration, with participants working together to clean the environment. The experience aimed not just to educate, but to inspire real-world change, highlighting the ripple effect of individual sustainable actions. Feeling inspires change – thus one of the top goals of this initiative was to elicit an emotional response, showing attendees the major impact of pollution to inspire action.

Following the success of the SDG Dome, a partnership with PwC birthed the Next-Gen experience. “This version was tailored for children,” Ziporen explains. “It’s an immersive 30-minute journey that blends elements like VR films, 360-degree projections, and hands-on games to enlighten kids on sustainability. It prioritizes fun and engagement, and we felt that this redesigned experience can amplify the belief in children that they have the power to drive change.”

A highlight was a waste management simulation where the dome morphed into a giant trash bin. As objects were thrown in, children, surrounded by color-coded bins, were challenged to segregate and dispose of waste appropriately, creating an energetic, collaborative atmosphere.

As the experience neared its end, a 360-degree video presented young voices discussing sustainability. Emphasizing the critical role of children in environmental dialogues, it spotlighted young environmentalists like Greta Thunberg, aiming to inspire action. The team also added voices from communities around the world, like the young Pakistani siblings Hasan and Shireen Zafar, who offer tutoring to homeless children; and Robbie Bond, a youth passionate about speaking out for national parks and monuments.

Through extensive research on LBE and interactive technology, Ziporen guided the team in selecting the best tools for audience engagement, ensuring the experience matched the project’s scope, budget, and timeline while facilitating effective communication with Director Uri Schutzer on all creative aspects.

“We QA/QC’d the experience as we moved forward, in a VR simulation of the experience or in the dome, to improve the educational or the entertaining aspects,” Ziporen says. “Observing the group in the dome, seeing how engaged they were with the experience and each other – that was the ultimate reward. There was a sense of impact and exhilaration, competitiveness in the best way. I was proud of the team and what we were about to share with others.”

The entertainment industry has long held the keys to imagination, and as technology advances, it’s unlocking doors to even more immersive experiences that have the capacity to spark meaningful change. From the silver screen to the concert stage, entertainment has the transformative ability to resonate, inspire, and challenge societal norms. Ziporen Hazum, with her visionary foresight, is at the forefront of this evolution. At Wizard Studios and beyond, she’s determined to not only create unforgettable experiences but to do so with sustainability at the heart of production. Through her endeavors, Ziporen is setting a precedent: that the magic of entertainment and the responsibility of environmental stewardship can, and should, go hand in hand.

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