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Search for Design in Business champion closes in

Media Release
September 5, 2008

Search to find New Zealand champion of Design in Business closes in

A company that helps keep babies snug and warm naturally; a tapware manufacturer that turns showering into an indulgent experience; a baby buggy manufacturer that has celebrities cooing; and a software manufacturer that makes managing staff fun and easy, are among the finalists of this year’s Design in Business Award, an initiative of the Designers Institute of New Zealand presented in association with Better by Design.

The judges of the Design in Business Award, who included Derek Lockwood, Worldwide Director of Design at leading multinational advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi; David Walker, an architect, designer, innovation and new product development specialist and Nevil Gibson, Editor in Chief of National Business Review, said that they were impressed by the range of companies from throughout the country who were strategically incorporating design throughout their businesses.

Said David Walker, a member of the University of Auckland’s INNOVATIONZ team and a judge of the Design in Business Award 2008: “The judges were impressed by the high standard of work and the commitment of the entrants who were using design throughout their businesses. This gave us an encouraging cross section of pioneering New Zealand businesses to choose from, each of whom was hungry for global success.”

The Design in Business Award seeks to recognise and reward New Zealand companies who have used design to drive innovation and business growth. Judging criteria included: proven business success, brand and reputation, home grown innovation, evidence of design skills in detail, and most importantly, the pre-eminence of design thinking at a strategic level.

The winner of the Design in Business Award will be announced at a cocktail function in Auckland on Thursday, September 18.

Here’s who the judges picked as the Design in Business Award 2008 finalists:

Amie Design Ltd
Established in 2003 by Auckland mother of three Amie Nilsson, Amie Design Ltd designs and manufactures natural fibre infant clothing and sleepwear under the brands Merino Kids, Pure Cotton Kids and Hum Baby. Amie Design products are sold in 50 boutique baby stores in Australasia, Europe and the United Kingdom and group revenue has increased 750 per cent over the past two years.

AuCom Electronics
Christchurch based AuCom Electronics specialises in the design and manufacture of soft starters, which protect and control electric motors on heavy machinery. Since the company introduced design strategies in 2005, sales have increased 60 per cent and AuCom soft starters are now exported to 70 countries. Brand partners include Toshiba, Electronica Santerbo of Italy and Danish company, Danfoss.

Established in 1886 and once a traditional bathroom products company, Methven has transformed itself through design into a luxury shower and tapware company, with an international reputation for its water saving shower technology. Since listing on the New Zealand Stock Exchange in 2004, Methven has had an unbroken record of profit growth.

Wellington based phil&teds produce the world’s original inline baby buggy and have expanded their nursery product range to include the only travel cot in the world that’s lighter than the baby, car seats, and clip-on highchairs. Exports make up 95 per cent of their business, which are sold in 2000 retail outlets in 45 countries.

Auckland based Sonar6 are the makers of the world’s only graphics-based HR management software. Launched in 2006, it has been named as a Top Ten HR Product of the year by Human Resources Executive magazine. Sonar6 is used by 50 New Zealand companies as well as companies in India, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States, where the company recently secure L’Oreal as a customer.

Winegrowers of Ara
A multidisciplinary team of architects, designers and winemakers has literally designed a global wine business from the ground up. The team, which includes winemaker, Dr Damian Martin, have established a land brand or “state of viniculture” in Marlborough. Established in 2001, Winegrowers of Ara is a community of winegrowers who live a shared vision: to harness the extraordinary promise of the land and produce wines that are unique expressions of their origin. More than 1.6 million vines have already produced 20,000 cases of sauvignon blanc and pinot noir wine.

Harnessing the power of the internet, Wellington based Xero has designed an online accounting system that provides its customers easy access to their most up-to-date financial figures, anytime they need it and from anywhere in the world. Xero has been designed to remove complexity, automate common tasks and clarify financial information, making information digestible for both accounting experts and non experts alike. Listed on the NZX in 2007, Xero was recently named as a winner in UseIT.Com’s “10 Best Application User Interfaces of 2008.”


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