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
  • Master of Applied Innovation – Our post-graduate programme for for those interested in problem-solving, entrepreneurship and co-creation in the workplace
  • Deep Dive – Our two-day immersive experience providing a curated design journey for a business or organisation
  • Design Dash – Our three-hour design sprint to offer a fast-paced problem-solving experience for teams and employees.

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