Experience Week: the recap

Fostering the human-centred design community

Experience Week was founded by Springloadwheretofromhere?, 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 already exist.

Happenings from the week

The first Experience Week has wrapped up. Over the week we saw all types rally to New Zealand’s creative capital, in celebration of human-centred design.

Day one of Experience Week kicked off with Design Sprints from each of the founding partners.




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 at 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.


Springload used the human-centred design process to deliver a proof of concept of emerging tech. Their Human-Centred Design Sprint with ACC was focussed 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 they 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 Springload 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 heart”. They broke down a number of key issues at the crossroad of people and technology.

Creative HQ

Creative HQ ran three design sprints simultaneously with NZEI, Kiwinet 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




Scattered throughout the week were a variety of additional events, achieving similar discoveries and successes. Here’s a quick recap:

  • 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.
  • Gary Bolles from Singularity U 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.
  • Akina 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 Akina 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 plays in creating meaningful relationships in product, service, 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.




Watch this space

From delivering multiple successful prototypes to shaping human rights policies – and “breaking people’s minds”, Experience Week 2018 was a great success.

It brought together a community of creators, innovators, and leaders who are passionate about human-centred design.

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