New Year, new team, renewed focus on the mahi


New Year, new team, renewed focus on the mahi

January 27, 2021 | 6 min read

The operating model co-design team will meet face-to-face in Wellington in early February to get their teeth into how they will help tackle the biggest collective challenge Te Pūkenga has this year – how to reimagine the teaching and learning of vocational education.  

The co-design team will work closely and collaboratively over the next couple of months using a design-led thinking process to come up with an initial concept of the future operating model service design. The process the team will use ensures the very people the outcomes will impact play a core role in thinking, testing and deciding.

There will be approximately 20 people in the co-design team, including people drawn from the original Mobilising the New World workstreams, ākonga/learners who have participated in our Ākonga at the Centre research, Te Tiriti partners and a range of employers and independent thinkers who we hope can challenge and extend the ideation process.  The co-design team will be facilitated by specialist members of the co-design project team.  

“We’ve worked really hard to pull together what I consider to be a very high calibre and diverse group of people for our co-design team,” says Merran Davis, Te Pūkenga Deputy Chief Executive of Transformation and Transition and co-design project sponsor.

 “I’m really looking forward to meeting them all face-to-face in Wellington in a couple of weeks. We’ll spend the day getting to know each other, building a strong collective understanding of the project and the outcomes, how the team will be able to contribute to the co-design process and how we’ll all work together.”

The co-design team will do most of its work virtually but will meet face-to-face for a further four wānanga over the next couple of months. The face-to-face wānanga will also provide an opportunity to focus in on specific topics, and it’s likely that a range of other specialists and subject matter experts will also be invited to attend too.   

“The design-led thinking process, by its very nature, is quite organic. I think that’s why it produces great outcomes, but it does mean that we can’t be too prescriptive in our initial approach. So, while I know we’ll need to host a range of further face-to-face meetings, at this stage I can’t predict exactly what topics we’ll need to focus in on at each  wānanga,” says Max Adler, EY service design lead for the operating model project.

“That’s the strength of the design-led thinking process. We take a flexible approach and focus in on what eventually becomes the areas the team identifies as critical or particularly challenging.” 

The co-design team will be able to draw on the insight and expertise from a range of other sources too. They will have the outcomes of the Ākonga at the Centre research and the Employer Voice research as well as a whole bunch of experts convened into Reference Groups, operating on a virtual engagement platform.

Members of reference groups will be the testers and reflectors for the co-design team. They will help by providing thoughts, ideas and feedback. There will be a continual flow of ideas and feedback between the co-design team and the reference groups.

Reference Groups will be formed in the next few weeks, with invitations going out to a wide range of existing internal groups such as network staff, Board members, unions, and learners already in the system, as well as external groups such as employers, career advisors and other people involved in supporting learners, subject matter experts in education agencies, and many other community groupings. Invitations to join a reference group via an online engagement platform will be sent out soon.

“We know there is a lot of interest in this project. We’ve got a once-in-a-generation opportunity to design a teaching and learning system that’s simple to understand and navigate, responsive to the needs of learners and employers, delivers equitable access and outcomes for all learners, and is flexible enough to change as the future develops – to help New Zealand thrive in the future. And, as I have said before, we can’t get it wrong!” says Merran.

“Over the next few months, as we co-design an initial future operating model service design, much of the mahi will be going on behind the scenes. I’m committed to providing regular updates and information on our website so that everyone can stay up to date with our progress.”

“It’s important we do keep everyone updated because by June we’ll be heading out around the motu to engage extensively on our initial service design, and that’s when it will be really important to get as much feedback as possible from a wide range of people. That feedback will help us finalise the future operating model, that we’ll then consult on more formally before we give our final proposal to the Minister of Education to consider,” says Merran.