DFNZ for Students
What we offer
Design Factory NZ offers a wide range of learning experiences for both students seeking to prepare for the future workplace, and professionals looking for post-graduate study options for themselves and their teams.
Design Factory 1 is our undergraduate programme that provides a problem-solving learning experience for level 7 students from across Wintec's centres. Students form multi-disciplinary teams and collaborate with an industry partner working to solve an industry-specific problem over 15 weeks. This culminates in a final presentation at our flagship gala, providing a comprehensive Design Thinking experience for our students.
Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation is for those
wanting to build on their enterprise experience with flexibility in time or place of study. Students gain skills and expertise highly valued by a workplace and research environment, including developing an understanding of transdisciplinary research
and reframing of a real-world problem.
There are no formal classes in this course and students are guided through the programme by an academic lead supervisor and an industry mentor. Students are embedded in a community of practice, supported by supervision and mentorship, with access to a national and international network of researches. Students enrich their learning through regular seminars, presentations, extensive online resources and workshops.
Master of Applied Innovation provides deeper engagement with
problem-solving in a real-world context. Students have a coached learning journey in both the theory and practice of innovation, with a relentless focus on application, value and practicality. Students coming from a range of academic and employment
experience will work on an industry problem as the capstone project of their course, resulting in a detailed, high-fidelity practical solution to the industry problem.
As with the Postgraduate Certificate in Innovation, there are no formal classes and students are guided through the programme by an academic lead supervisor and an industry mentor. Students develop a research plan in the first part of the programme and spend at least 3 days a week in a business, working on the project. They are embedded in our community of practice, supported by supervision and mentorship, with access to a national and international network or researchers.
Design Factory 1
Students are placed in multi-disciplinary teams, working alongside learners specialising in engineering, business, IT, sports & human performance, graphic design, media arts - and more. We provide industry partners (such as Opus International, Hamilton City Council, and Habitat for Humanity), who share one of their wicked problems with the student teams.
And from there - it’s action!
Surrounded by our experienced coaches and facilitators, our students are taught the skills of co-creation, and guided in applying their new learning on their complex problem. Empathy interviews, customer journeys, ideation, prototyping, user-testing, collaboration - and a whole lot more.
At the end of our fifteen week, 30-credit program, our student groups present their final proof-of-concept solutions at our Design Factory Gala - a celebration event featuring their industry partners, alumni, local business leaders and more.
Design Factory provides students with a unique opportunity to work in new ways, prototype solutions to problems they will not have encountered in their studies - and develop their soft skills of creativity, empathy and communication - in preparation for
the workplace of the future.
Hannah talks about her experience at Design Factory NZ alongside a diverse team of cross-disciplinary students as they find solutions for the Hamilton City Council.
IT student Mohammed talks about why he chose Design Factory NZ to enhance his skill set for the workforce.
International IT student Erin talks about what makes Design Factory NZ great and why you should consider joining.
Frequently asked questions
Wintec students from across all centres come together at DFNZ. Over 16 weeks, they learn processes for solving complex problems - which can be applied to any domain or practice.
Students get put into groups, and we teach them how to solve complex problems faced in the workplace. This isn’t theoretical learning, but learning by solving a real-world problem, with a real-world industry partner. Students learn how to lead a group, how to interview others, how to create 100s of ideas, how to build and test an idea quickly, and how to sell solutions stakeholders. You form deep friendships, drink a lot of coffee, and have a lot of fun and hard-work along the way.
It also involves networking with Waikato business and community leaders, developing your emotional intelligence, navigating challenging scenarios, and gaining insights into how innovation works in the real world.
The core benefit of this course is students gaining the most in-demand skills the workplace is looking for. Graduates receive a qualification that gets them work-ready, and able to thrive in the workplace.
Research has shown the in-demand skills employers are looking for. Number one is the ability to solve complex problems. Estimates suggest that in the next few years, one in three jobs will require complex problem solving as a core skill. Complex problem solving is exactly what we teach.
Any list of the most in-demand skills also features creativity, communication, leadership and team skills. We invest significant coaching to help you upskill in your personal leadership and development, and your ability to be a team leader, and a team-player.
There’s a bunch of other benefits, too. You get 24/7 access to our dedicated work-space, unlimited free coffee, coaching from our awesome staff, opportunities to network with business leaders, and become part of the Design Factory Global Network - a family of 29 Design Factories around the world.
Yes, studying with the DFNZ is a great way to get seen by employers. Our alumni have gone on to work at a range of cool businesses - from corporates like Genesis Energy, through to tech start-ups. Two of our alumni have gone on to study problem-solving further in Melbourne and China.
Also, a big part of DFNZ is working with industry partners. Over the 16 weeks with us, you will have heaps of opportunities to network and get yourself in front of employers.
An internship offers you a good opportunity to get experience in a workplace and learn more about how your skills fit in the real-world.
DFNZ, on the other hand, has a focus on teaching you problem-solving. This means you will be co-leading a project for an industry partner, seeking to bring about change for their organisation. You will learn leadership, problem-solving, communication, team-work, and creativity, which you might not get on an internship.
Additionally, DFNZ offers you world-class coaching from our DFNZ staff and connections to a wide alumni across the Wintec centres.