People working and networking at Design Factory NZ

What is the Design Factory?

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 NZ is grounded on empathy and driven by the belief that ideas and solutions are improved when they are shared together - rather than held onto. We work with all involved people to understand the problem deeply, create ideas collaboratively, and test solutions together. 

How do we achieve this?

Careful Selection

We carefully select and match student teams who are motivated and have a ‘can do’ attitude. They will come from various Wintec Centres and are placed with an industry partner.

Project approach

We place interdisciplinary students together in project teams. Each team is given an industry-driven challenge or issue, for which they will create a proof of concept solution.

Passion-based teaching

Students are led by an energetic expert team who are all committed to implementing problem-based teaching approaches and empowering the students in programme.

Future focused skills

Emphasis is placed on soft skills in order to meet the challenges set by the industry partners and for students to be ready for future work force situations.

Human centred design

Project teams are supported and coached through the problem solving process using strategies such as design thinking, (empathy, prototyping, ideation, and iteration, user-testing) to create a proof of concept solution.

Optimal learning environment

Students are provided with a space dedicated to prototyping and testing their ideas, while empowering them to be innovative and aware of business needs. The flexible and comfortable environment promotes collaboration, high energy and group participation. Students are encouraged to take ownership of the space, have 24-hour access and can host their industry partners there in informal interactions.

Global connections

We are working closely with a global network that guides our delivery and has a proven track record in providing and solving industry-driven problems through the Design Factory teaching approach.

What we offer

Design Factory NZ offers a wide range of learning experiences for both 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 include:

  • Design Factory 1 – Our flagship semester-long course designed for Level 7 Wintec students from across all centres that offer degree or graduate diploma programmes
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation
  • Master of Applied Innovation
  • Design Dash Our three-hour design sprint to offer a fast-paced problem-solving experience for teams and employees.
  • Deep Dive Our two-day immersive experience providing a curated design journey for a business or organisation

Design Dash

Concentrated. High-speed. Experiential. A design thinking primer at pace.

The Design Dash is a three-hour fast-paced experience providing a design experience created to introduce you and your team to the basics of problem solving.

We provide the challenge, the facilitation and all the resources you’ll need – you turn up ready to go!

Empowering, energising and proudly educational, the Design Dash will give you a valuable experience of how powerful Design Thinking is, and will inspire you to consider how you can begin to introduce co-creation to your context.

Created for organisations seeking to upskill their problem-solving and design thinking skills, the Design Dash provides a curated design engagement directly applicable to your business context.

Over the course of the Design Dash, you will:
  • Experience a stripped-down Design Sprint;
  • Have an opportunity to reflect how this can benefit your business;
  • Empower employees for change;
  • Laugh. A. Lot.
We have delivered Design Dashes for local government, students, nusinesses and non-profits in the Waikato region.

Typical fee: $2000 + GST (max. 18 people, incl. lunch, morning and afternoon tea)

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Deep Dive

A multi-day design experience for business leaders and teams.

The Deep Dive is a two-day immersive experience offering a deeper understanding of co-creation and human-centred design. 

Created for organisations seeking to upskill their problem-solving and design thinking skills, the Deep Dive provides a curated design engagement directly applicable to your business context.

Over the course of the Deep Dive, you will:

  • Experience a full Design Sprint;
  • Understand how Design Thinking can be applied to your business challenges and context;
  • Discover a range of practical tools for help with organisational problem solving;
  • Unlock new possibilities for your organisation to explore.
We have designed Deep Dives for educators, local government, business product development, not for profits, and business cultural transformation.

Typical fee: $8000 + GST (max. 18 participants, incl. all lunches, morning and afternoon tea)

Contact: or

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.

For more information on the Design Factory Global Network please visit