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Wintec joins global Design Factory community

Students and tutors from the Design Hub pilot at Wintec.

There’s no signage on the window of Wintec’s Design Hub, just the letter D made of coloured Post-it notes; but now the creative initiative is invited to join the Design Factory Global Network, and the D will soon make way for New Zealand’s first Design Factory.

 It’s been an exciting journey for the project team led by Wintec Design Hub director Margi Moore whose end goal was to have the Design Hub pilot accepted as part of the global network.

“We applaud our students and our industry partners, they are trailblazers, they invested in our process, took risks and we appreciate they were prepared to participate in a pilot.

“Over the past year we worked closely with Melbourne’s Design Factory to develop this model and submit an application. I am very pleased to announce we have been accepted into the Design Factory Global Network to become New Zealand’s first and only Design Factory.”

The Design Factory teaching model at Wintec is based on the growing global network of design factories that began in Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland. There are now 15 design factories in the Design Factory Global Network across five continents. They are based in universities and research centres where students work with industry partners in positive learning environments to solve complex, real world problems.

The Design Factory brings together research, education and business practitioners to create a new learning culture and hands-on learning experiences.

“This approach prepares Wintec students for future industries, employment and a complex world full of change and the unknown,” says Moore.

“Together with our industry partners, we have embraced a learning by doing, fail-fast philosophy and can-do mindset, to help the students adopt ways of knowing and doing that will prepare them for employment.”

The results of the pilot went under the spotlight at Wintec last week. After fifteen weeks, the student teams from the disciplines of design, communication, engineering and information technology outlined their methods and presented their final solutions to partners from Opus, Midland Trauma and Waikato District Health Board (DHB). The complex problems, managing water flow, reducing quad bike trauma and promoting interconnectedness for health and wellbeing were resolved and presented as opportunities.

For the students, this has been an exciting journey that has involved taking on the challenge of interdisciplinary learning, working in teams with people they have never met before, putting themselves out of their comfort zone and bravely working directly with industry partners. They are now part of a highly-connected global network of design thinkers and problem solvers.

Moore is looking ahead with a smile, there are students to select in semester two, new partners to work with and new problems to solve.

If you are a business or community group and want to know more, contact Margi Moore.

Find out more about the Design Factory global network here.

Image: Students and tutors from Wintec's Design Hub pilot at their end of semester presentation to industry partners.

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