The positive power of a good idea

Otago Polytechnic Bachelor of Design (Product) third-year learners Emily Mackenzie and Angus Lewry are great believers in the positive power of a good idea. 

Involved in this week’s “Debrief” exhibition, which celebrated the vibrance and vision of final-year learners studying Product Design (as well as Communication Design and Fashion Design), the duo say the programme has opened their eyes to a broad range of possibilities. 

Although it’s difficult to highlight any one aspect of the Product Design programme, they believe Otago Polytechnic’s generous Intellectual Property policy has empowered them, giving the learners the confidence to fully explore their ideas in the knowledge they hold the rights to their creations. 

“It means we don’t hold back when we bring an idea to the table. It’s a good feeling. And the feedback and help we get from our awesome lecturers helps, too. 

“We enjoy the flexibility of our teachers, who allow us to really explore our creativity. In addition, we are challenged to be human-centred, to put the user first. 

“There is also a strong focus on collaboration, both within our classes, but also with industry.” 

As an example of industry engagement, Angus and Emily have spent a day a week as paid interns at a Dunedin engineering firm, where they have helped establish a sub-brand, Janet Joseph. 

A result of a Callahan Innovation grant, the internships have provided the pair with a broad range of opportunities to develop their technical skills and interpersonal abilities. 

The Janet Joseph brand has a range of products on offer, including upcycled industrial lighting fixtures, unique lighting designs, and outdoor braziers. 

“It has a range of products, including upcycled industrial lighting fixtures, unique lighting designs, and braziers. 

“We well as designing some of these elements, we have been involved in content creation, social media and marketing for Janet Joseph. 

“Within our roles outside of class, we have had a lot of freedom to offer our ideas to the market, receive critical feedback and help develop the brand.”