Students bring smart bins, hackathons and virtual reality drones to gala

Design Factory students brought smart bins hackathons and virtual reality drones to their gala

Design Factory NZ students presented solutions for reducing music festival waste for their client, Xtreme Waste at their end of semester gala.

Smart bins, hack-a-thons and virtual reality drones all featured at the Design Factory NZ Gala recently, when students presented their final prototypes to a crowd of industry and community partners, students and friends.

In the previous 15 weeks, the Design Factory’s 34 Wintec students worked in groups to solve real-world problems, ranging from reducing festival waste to improving youth engagement with local government.

The Design Factory NZ Gala at the end of each semester is the final reveal.

Their coached learning journey saw them develop new problem-solving tools, such as empathy interviewing, prototyping, lotus mapping, affinity mapping – all focused on creating solutions that put people at the centre.

“It’s a privilege to hear these final presentations, as our students have worked so hard over the semester. It’s wonderful to be able to celebrate their success with them,” says Design Factory NZ Director Margi Moore.

“Human-centred design can be a rewarding yet challenging process and we are thrilled to be able to host the Gala to truly celebrate our students, staff and industry partners’ hard work.”

Hamilton City Council Project Manager Governance, Natalie Swart was an industry partner for the ‘WasteAway’ student group. Natalie was impressed by the level of professionalism the students displayed in their work and presentation, and she was delighted with the result they delivered.

“The Gala was a wonderful finale to what was a really special journey, working side-by-side with a passionate group of students to find a solution to one of the thorniest challenges we face as a council.

“Their thoughts about how we can break down the barriers and get more youth engaged and involved in local government democracy were bold and creative and have affirmed for us the need to take a fresh and meaningful approach to how we connect with young people.”

Each group had seven minutes to share their problem-solving journey, from meeting their industry partner the first time through to delivering their final prototype. Groups utilised a range of techniques – including videos, physical prototypes, photos and simulations – to showcase their ideas, and explain why their solution was viable, feasible and desirable for their industry partners.

Anita Kocsis, director from Design Factory Melbourne welcomed the audience. Anita spoke about the necessity for new thinking and new ways of working, as new technology and trends intersect with old habits and traditions. Anita also noted the Design Factory NZ Gala “raised the bar of quality at a global level”, and encouraged industry partners and organisations to continue getting involved with the Design Factory.

“It’s great to have Anita visit and represent Design Factory Melbourne who are our closest partner from the Design Factory Global Network. They have been a long-time friend and mentor to the Design Factory NZ and have been instrumental in our growth,” said Margi.

“Like Design Factory Melbourne, we feel confident that our students’ new skills in problem-solving as going to come in very handy in both their lives and future employment situations.”

The Design Factory NZ team at Wintec are now preparing to welcome the second semester of students for 2019, who will be working on a new range of challenges from industry partners.

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