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World-leading designers immerse NZ businesses

World-leading designers immerse NZ businesses in innovation

Some of the world’s leading industrial designers have been confirmed to lead New Zealand business people through the process of design and innovation at the designindustry’s third annual series of workshops, to be held in Christchurch in April.

This year’s workshops centre on six themes – engineering, plastics, environmental, timber, industrial technology and packaging. They will be held at the University of Canterbury’s School of Engineering.

The international designers confirmed to guide the workshops are:

Janice Kirkpatrick (Scotland)

Mats Theselius (Sweden)

Oliver Vogt (Germany)

Hermann Weizenegger (Germany)

Jan Konings (Netherlands)

Matt Sindall (France)

As understanding grows among the New Zealand business community that design-led companies enjoy greater success in the market, the designindustry workshops are coming into their own as the only hands-on innovation process available in New Zealand.

The designers and business leaders taking part live, eat, breathe and create innovation.

Participants immerse themselves in the design process for five days, exploring themes such as engineering, plastics, environmental and industrial technology, timber, and packaging.

“The emphasis is on answering the question: ‘How can I increase the margins in my business?’,” says Dorenda Britten, who established the workshops in 2000. “The workshops enable decision makers to integrate design into the way their business works – not necessarily as a form of ornamentation, but as a force that propels their product or service to the front of the queue in terms of buyer desire.”

“Our experience – and that of previous participants – is that design-led product development that stands out in your market is a key way to command a higher margin and to ensure more sustainable market success,” she says.

German industrial designer Hermann Weizenegger, who with his business partner Oliver Vogt set up the acclaimed Berlin-based Vogt & Weizenegger (V&W) design studio, will lead one of the six designindustry workshops in April. Vogt is also leading a designindustry workshop.

Weizenegger was behind the Sinterchair, which was created at the Tendence trade fair in Frankfurt last year using the sintering technique usually applied to build vehicle and aviation prototypes. Based on an idea that furniture could be designed like made-to-measure suits, Vogt and Weizenegger designed, generated and manufactured the chair before visitors’ eyes.

Weizenegger says he aims to help participants understand the role played by design in the entire manufacturing process from creation to distribution.

“Design can create an identity for a company that is different to that of the competition. It can be the engine of the entire history of a company,” he says.

The well-designed products of well-designed companies

Commercial refrigeration and heating equipment designer and manufacturer Skope sponsored the 2002 workshops and enrolled its marketing manager in one of the workshops.

Managing director Guy Stewart says his company supports the workshops because they help New Zealand businesses to create a more desirable, more competitive and better product than businesses in countries competing in the same arena. “Design will allow New Zealand to grow as a niche design source with higher margins that take products through their first growth stages before the maturity stage, when high manufacturing volumes give the cost and skill advantage to other countries.”

Industry New Zealand southern regional manager Paul Claridge says the designindustry workshops segue well into the Government’s drive to put New Zealand innovation on the map. “Designindustry workshops support our goal of seeing New Zealand businesses attracting higher value, enabled by design-led principles, by helping business leaders to think from a fresh perspective.”

The workshop dates are Sunday to Friday, April 6 – 11; Saturday to Thursday, April 12 – 17; and Monday to Saturday, April. 21 – 26.

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