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Global challenges all in a day’s study for Ethan

Design Factory student Ethan Lankshear

How does an engineering student studying with the Design Factory NZ at Wintec end up trouble-shooting for Japanese farmers from his new base in Melbourne?

It sounds like a dream come true for Ethan Lankshear who has discovered how his tertiary major can be applied to a range of different fields.

Ethan, who was studying engineering at Wintec, took a leap in 2018 and joined the Design Factory NZ as one of it’s first students.

Twelve months later, Ethan has taken an even bigger leap and is studying at Design Factory Melbourne at Swinbourne University, towards his Post-Graduate Certificate in Innovation, further developing his future-focused problem-solving skills.

In Melbourne, Ethan is working with two other students, exploring how they can create new diesel engine solutions for organic farmers of fruit and vegetables in Japan. Together, they are exploring the needs of organic farmers, the limitations of current solutions and will work towards developing new prototypes.

“This is quite a change from the work I have done in my Engineering Major, but I’m enjoying the change and how my major can be applied to a range of different fields,” says Ethan.

“This adventure will culminate with a trip to Japan to share our solution, and then a chance to present the project in San Francisco.”

The global nature of this challenge is also supported by their Japanese team who work out of Kyoto Institute of Technology, who Ethan collaborates with on a regular basis.

In Hamilton, Ethan and his team worked with Habitat for Humanity, exploring how to solve throughput problems at their ReStore. This experience provided Ethan with a solid grounding in design thinking, problem solving and working in diverse teams – all of which is proving invaluable for his future studies and employment.

“Transdisciplinary research and the design-thinking process provides a strong base for working on projects in a modern society,” says Ethan.

“I highly recommend the Design Factory as a module as part of any degree, as it gives you a range of skills you can use effectively on any project, in any field.”

Design Factory NZ director, Margi Moore says Wintec’s Design Factory students all come from different study disciplines.

“The students work in teams together, which is great for problem-solving and developing soft skills as they are considering issues from different viewpoints and learning to work as a team. It also means this module can be integrated with other fields of study so students studying engineering, business, IT, sesign and trades also studying with the Design Factory NZ as part of their degree programme."

Design Factory NZ and Design Factory Melbourne are part of the Global Design Factory Network, (DFGN) a network of innovation hubs in universities and research organisations in five continents of the world. DFGN is on a mission to create change in the world of learning and research through passion-based culture and effective problem solving.

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