People working and networking at Design Factory NZ

Design Factory NZ

A passion-fuelled, design-driven co-creation space where students work with industry partners to solve complex problems.

Design Factory NZ is a problem-solving and learning space, bringing together students, teachers, industry and community leaders to help co-create the future. We are driven by passion and a relentless curiosity to discover solutions.

We coach students and industry partners through human-centred design journeys, providing learning experiences that cultivate their skills as problem-solvers and solution-designers. We are proudly interdisciplinary – bringing together people from diverse backgrounds to learn from each other and create together.

Design Factory students enjoy 24-hour access to our workspace, international opportunities with the Design Factory Global Network, top coaching from our facilitators and a range of networking opportunities with business leaders from across the Waikato. 

Our Way

The Design Factory has a globally-proven approach to ensure the delivery of high-quality results for both our students and business partners. This includes:

  • Students and industry partners are led by energetic and passionate team experts who are all committed to implementing problem-based teaching approaches and empowering the students in our programme.
  • Project teams are supported and coached through the problem-solving process using strategies such as Design Thinking; empathy, prototyping,user-testing, ideation and iteration.
  • We place interdisciplinary students together in project teams. Each team is given an industry-driven challenge or issue to create a proof of concept solution.
  • We work closely with a global network that guides our delivery with a proven track record in providing and solving industry-driven problems through the Design Factory teaching approach.
  • We value fun, laughter, perseverance and human-centred thinking. We believe that all problems are human problems and put people at the centre of all we do.

Learning opportunities

Design Factory NZ offers a wide range of learning experiences students seeking to prepare for the future workplace, and employers looking for high-quality professional development or post-graduate study options for themselves and their teams.

These opportunities include:

Design Factory 1 – Our flagship semester-long course designed to give Wintec students foundation skills in problem-solving, innovation and Design Thinking. This is available for level 7 Wintec students from across all centres offering degree or graduate diploma programmes.

Master of Applied Innovation – Our 12 month post-graduate programme for for those interested in mastering the skills of problem-solving, entrepreneurship and co-creation in the workplace.

D1: Design Dash – Our three-hour design sprint curated to offer a fast-paced problem-solving experience for teams, managers and employees. Empowering, fun and designed to give a taster in Design Thinking.

D2: Deep Dive – Our two-day immersive experience providing a bespoke design journey for a business or organisation. This focuses on teaching Design Thinking by exploring and solving a complex business challenge currently faced by the participants.

Problem solving for industry

Design Factory NZ combines the strength of a global innovation network with best practice frameworks, and leaders in the Design-Thinking discipline, with the power of youthful, creative, and hungry minds to help solve your biggest organisational challenges.

Design Factory Global Network

Design Factory NZ is part of the Design Factory Global 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. Shared understanding and common ways of working enable Design Factories in the network to collaborate efficiently across cultures, time zones and organisational boundaries fostering radical innovations.

We provide a range of opportunities to participate in the Global Network – from our annual global hackathon Rat Relay, through to internships at Design Factories around the globe.

What is Design Thinking?

  • Design Thinking is a methodology for creative problem solving
  • Design Thinking focuses on solutions
  • Design Thinking is a creative process to build up ideas
  • Design Thinking is more of a creative, than traditional, problem-solving approach
DFNZ is a co-creation space where students work with industry partners to solve complex problems.

Meet the team

Margi Moore

Design Factory NZ Director

Project Lead of Interesting Things

Aidan Bigham

Facilitator & Coach

Supporter, Provocateur & Collaborator

Elna Fourie

Facilitator & Coach

Prompter, Conductor & Collaborator

Mira Cornes

Design Factory NZ Co-ordinator

Chief Stuff Sorter-Outer

Sallie Greenwood

Facilitator & Coach - Master of Professional Practice

Guru of Designing for Good

Debbie Preston

Facilitator & Coach

Synergetic Collaborator of Ideas & Fun

Blair Hoad

Product Manager

Product Jedi & Coffee Connoisseur

Jeremy Suisted

Facilitator & Coach

Minister of Maximisation & Joy

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