Fostering the human-centred design community

We created Experience Week alongside our friends at wheretofromhere? and Creative HQ. The idea was to bring together people passionate about the human-side of technology and design. With no shortage of creative, innovative, and inspiring minds in New Zealand, we knew this event would be met with enthusiasm  – and we wondered why it didn’t exist already.

With days in the year counting down, and calendars quickly filling with festivities, we were running on a tight timeframe. We knew the time from confirming Experience Week to lining up presenters – and selling tickets – would be a challenge.

But event submissions and ticket purchases came flooding in. And events continued to be submitted (and sell out) right up until the Friday before Experience Week. Founders and contributors were equally thrilled.

Experience Week - Our Voice HRC

Happenings from the week

Day one of Experience Week kicked off with design sprints from each of the founding partners.


Our Human-Centred Design Sprint  with ACC was focused on understanding how users might interact with a voice assistant when addressing a non-urgent health problem.

Using a ‘Wizard of Oz’ testing technique at the early stages meant that we could user-test quickly. The technique reduces the need for development, in favour of using props to replicate the technology. After the intensive five days, a demo at the Experience Week Showcase revealed a working, refined prototype – exceeding the goals and expectations of both ourselves and ACC.

Later in the week, Springloaders Lauren (Experience Director) and Matt (Technical Director) gave an engaging presentation on Designing emerging technologies while keeping customers at the heart. They broke down a number of key issues at the crossroad of people and technology.

Experience Week Springload ACC Voice Sprint


The two-day design sprint from wheretofromhere?, Design and Facilitation Masterclass was a deep dive into co-design in large organisations. Described by participants as something that will “break your mind” but ultimately “explained complex topics extremely well”.

Philippe Coullomb (CEO of wheretofromhere?) was pleased to have run a number of Experience Week events. He saw it as a great chance to help define their offering, and promote their expertise in teaching human-centred design concepts.

Experience Week Design and Facilitation Philippe

Creative HQ

Creative HQ ran three design sprints simultaneously with NZEIKiwinet and Prepair NZ. During these sprints, the Creative HQ team worked with each company to develop and test a solution for their specific challenges.

We had an amazing week with the team from Creative HQ. A team of volunteers worked together full time to design, develop and test a prototype of a Prepair NZ digital workshop. We got lots of great feedback to work with. Time to make some tweaks and look and how we might create and roll out a final version!

Irene Wakefield

Prepair NZ

Experience Week CHQ Design Sprint

Who else, what else?

A variety of events were scattered throughout the week, achieving their own discoveries and successes.

  • The NZ Human Rights Commission  presented Our Voice: Loud and Proud an energetic and immersive conversation about how to enhance rights of disabled people, and accelerate change. The insights from the workshop were highly valuable and the Human Rights Commission will apply them toward shaping future policy. 
  • Singularity U's Gary Bolles gave a thought-provoking talk on the future of work and learning. He described the necessary steps towards transitioning to the ‘digital work economy’. The talk was so popular, that an additional event was arranged. That sold out too.
  • We Create Futures used a future-oriented card game as a catalyst to develop ideas, and get the creative juices flowing. Things from the Future was a combination of strategic foresight and design thinking.   
  • NZTA invited Wellingtonians to voice their thoughts around Wellington’s mobility and accessibility. Great Journeys for Wellington helped to shift the focus on how to build easy, safe, and connected journeys for Wellington.
  • Ākina Foundation  hosted two workshops. First Tim Jones (aka the Good Grow Guy) led an interactive session to take participants on a journey towards a Positive Mindset for Positive Impact. Later in the week, the Ākina team led a workshop to dive into the importance of impact measurement for organisations.
  • Maven Consulting’s workshop, Creating Social Good Through Engagement discussed the customer experience. It uncovered many ideas for improving customer engagement for organisations.
  • Empathy  taught us the value that empathy has in creating meaningful relationships in product, service, and experience design. Their workshop, Master the Art of Empathy, focussed on the importance of knowing what customers truly value. 
  • Dev Academy  hosted a workshop on Human Skills – helping us to sharpen up on the core skills needed to work and live effectively with other humans. 

Experience Week Gary Bolles Singularity U

Watch this space

From delivering multiple successful prototypes to shaping human rights policies – and “breaking people’s minds”. Experience Week 2018 will be remembered long into the future. It proved an event dedicated to a community of creators, innovators, and leaders who are passionate about human-centred design could not only exist but flourish. 

With a mission to bring the human element back to design, we’re excited to dive into Experience Week 2019 with even greater ambitions.  

Subscribe to the mailing list to be the first to hear about our plans for Experience Week 2019. We’ll be providing more information about getting involved and submitting your own event next year. 

Experience Week We Create Futures

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Let’s make the things that matter, better.