Companies we love: Z Energy

Tell us about Z Energy.

Where to start?  Lots of you will know our official sounding line – “Z is a Kiwi transport fuel company, supplying fuel to nearly half the market. We’re locally operated with a network of around 200 Z Stations…. “ but, that’s not all that we do.  What you mightn’t know is that we’re also a bunch of 500-odd Kiwis that are dedicated to solving what matters for a moving world – that’s our company purpose.  In addition, we have a set of three organisational values – Stand out | Tu Kaha; Speak Up | Tu Maia; & Side By Side | Tu Kotahi.  Both are used as a guide for our team in whatever we are doing each day… and I better not forget that we sell some awesome pies too!


What are you doing to design with humans in mind everyday?

I try to observe our customers or work at Z Station as often as I can.  Understanding the experience that our customers and staff have every day is where you can find golden insights and I believe that opens you up to think of some really impactful How Might We… statements.


This year, you’re once again joining MOD as a venue partner. Why are you supporting MOD? Why do you think human-centred design is important? 

Side by Side | Tu Kotahi, one of our organisational values, is why we are supporting MOD and sharing our venue and experience.  The value can be described as “we believe learning and growing together delivers unlimited potential” – and that’s not just limited to our own people.  We’re all about sharing with our communities, because we fundamentally believe that if our communities are successful, then so is Z.  To us, that’s just a core part of being a world-class kiwi company.


If you had to boil all your knowledge of Human Centre Design into three core principles, what would they be.

    1. Everyone loves their own solution, but instead try to fall in love the problem you’re trying to solve.
    2. Don’t restrict yourself, or others – there are more than enough people out there to reality check you when it’s needed.
    3. Physically go and observe your real users in their real environment – you can’t do HCD from behind a desk!

What is something that you have learnt that you can’t read in a book?

You learn nothing from not trying it in the first place. You learn quite a bit from getting it right.  You learn the most when you get it wrong.

If you could change one thing about the industry what would it be?

I’m going to say 2 things

  1. I would have us all use reusable post-its.
  2. I would change the perception about there being barriers to entry – anyone can be a designer if they want to be.