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Cassandra Ong

Helping create the next generation of Kiwi entrepreneurs...

For the students at Victoria University of Wellington business school it was a crash course in the skills they will need to thrive, innovate and prosper in their future careers.

ThinkPlace New Zealand Partner Jim Scully and Designer Cassandra Ong were on hand to deliver a masterclass about how the global design network’s unique methods can be used to map complex systems, enable innovation and open up new possibilities for entrepreneurship.

The class was the first practical lesson in an entrepreneurship course the students have been taking over the past few weeks.

As part of their assessment, the students are tasked with designing an eco-system map to understand and visualise entrepreneurship in the New Zealand capital. Those finished products will be judged as part of a design contest later in the course.

Understanding complex systems and designing policy, projects and programs that sit within that context is a key part of the ThinkPlace method. The pair drew on work, including a sucessful project that mapped and visualised the Australian innovation system.

“We provided them with some inspiration about how to go about mapping a complex system and its value for our clients,” Ong says.

Jim Scully
ThinkPlace NZ Partner Jim Scully shared his experiences with entrepreneurship and system mapping with the business school students.

Scully spoke about the experience of entrepreneurship in NZ, and the value of innovation and entrepreneurship – a set of skills and a mindset that needs to be sharpened and elevated for the challenges and opportunities that loom in the nation’s future.

The pair emphasised:

  • that you don’t have to be a trained graphic designer to visualise – visualisation is a process that starts off messy
  • the value of prototyping – making to understand
  • the importance of understanding your audience when mapping complex systems
  • the importance of understanding the scope of the system
  • the importance of involving others when mapping complex systems - to challenge, critique and add insights
  • how systems can be visualised in multiple ways – the framework should follow the data

Cassandra says:

“This was a great experience. The students were really engaged and were intrigued by the process of mapping asking questions like ‘what’s in and out of scope when you’re visualising complex systems’?

They were also really fascinated by how ThinkPlace works – the type of people we have and the work we do.”

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