WRI’s Product Studio aims to kick-start a step-change improvement in product design to drive impact across the sustainable development space by providing support to researchers and non-profits

Washington, DC (March 21, 2024) — Today, World Resources Institute's Data Lab launched a new service to support the design, development, and deployment of cutting-edge digital products addressing the world's most pressing climate and sustainability challenges. Product Studio leverages WRI's extensive experience crafting high-impact digital products — such as Global Forest Watch, Aqueduct, and Climate Watch — to help researchers and non-profits scale software projects that transform insights into user-centered software products that deliver real impact.

While potential for data innovation is clear, there is significant room for improvement when building data products in the sustainable development sector. To achieve greater impact, new products will need to refine their focus to meet their users’ real needs and do so by complementing already available tools. This will allow all players in the sector to harness data to support decisions that matter, enable accountability, and inform the conversation.

“As we accelerate climate action toward 2030, it is clear we need a step-change improvement in the process and practice of designing new products,” said Evan Tachosvky, Data Lab Global Director, World Resources Institute. “By introducing the Product Studio, we want to strengthen WRI’s capacity and contribute to the sustainable development space by helping design and develop data products that serve their users and are developed by optimizing all available resources.”

Product Studio aims to meet this need by maximizing efficiency and learning, lowering development costs, speeding up delivery, and improving the cohesiveness of new data products across the climate and sustainable development sectors. In support of WRI’s Strategic Plan, the Product Studio will help researchers and practitioners build the next generation of products that drive action benefitting people, nature, and climate.

Backed by expert staff and advisors from the Data Lab’s Product, Engineering, and Data Science Teams, the Product Studio will provide three services to WRI teams and external projects: 

  1. User Research and Needs Assessment. Many products today are still designed without an audience engagement strategy. The Product Studio gives teams the tools, expertise, and capacity to deeply engage users, understand their needs, and translate those needs into technical requirements.
  2. Product Strategy. Many products today are built with good intentions but lack a clear strategy. The Product Studio helps teams evaluate the product landscape, define value and impact, develop a theory of change, and create a roadmap to bring an innovation to market for their users.
  3. Rapid Prototyping. Many product teams today struggle to effectively build and test prototypes. The Product Studio builds, deploys and tests prototypes to scale products from ideas to reality in weeks instead of years. 

WRI’s Product Studio works in collaborative design sprints to maximize efficiency and learning. The Product Studio opens a new cohort every six months when project teams are invited to apply and are selected based on the Studio’s criteria. The launch of the Product Studio was made possible by the generous support of the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation (PJMF), which provided funding, flexibility, and expert advice. 

The Rockefeller Foundation has also joined PJMF in funding this critical work. With the support and guidance of these two technically savvy philanthropies, the Product Studio harnesses WRI’s experience building data products to serve peers and partners across the climate and sustainable development sectors for years to come.

If you’re interested in getting updates on new Product Studio-related opportunities, like when and how to apply to the next cohort, please share your contact information here or send us an email at productstudio@wri.org.

About World Resources Institute 
World Resources Institute (WRI) is a global research organization with offices in Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Indonesia, Mexico and the United States, and regional offices for Africa and Europe. Our over 1,900 staff work with partners to develop practical solutions that improve people’s lives and ensure nature can thrive. Learn more: WRI.org and on Twitter @WorldResources.

About WRI’s Data Lab
The Data Lab is WRI’s core data innovation and product delivery unit. Its mission is to use advances in data and technology to help our community improve lives, protect nature and ensure just transitions. The Data Lab provides robust technical support and guidance to leverage the technological possibilities of today in favor of a sustainable and equitable future.