As Tauranga approaches the third annual Groundswell Festival, we thought it timely to reflect on the decade-long journey to build a groundswell – from an ambitious vision, to the evolving reality we face today.
In this blog, we share nine key insights we’ve learnt from initiatives that led to the creation of New Zealand’s first Festival of Innovation, and our role in them.
As a brand agency that began life here in the Bay 15 years ago, it’s been our privilege to play a part in the transformative change our region has been through, and to be able to partner with some of the inspirational leaders driving this change.
Since 2004, our vision has always been ‘to create the future of the Bay of Plenty’. For selfish reasons, we wanted to partner with existing and attract exciting, product-based businesses here, so we could do the type of work we love in the region we call home. While there is still so much potential to realise, we’re proud see the Bay establishing itself as New Zealand’s leading innovation hub, with help from many of our strategic partners.
Bay of Connections is pivotal in connecting the wider Bay of Plenty under a robust regional growth strategy with clear steps to achieve our ambitious targets. We worked with them over 10 years from 2008, to design and develop the Bay of Connections brand, and help write and design strategies for a number of key sectors including Energy, Forestry, Logistics, Aquaculture and Māori Economic Development.
We’ve been on an eye-opening journey with the visionaries at Priority One for over a decade, partnering with them in the aim of fostering a culture of innovation. In addition to collaborating on numerous initiatives, we’ve worked closely on articulating their story and brand identity as they’ve evolved from a focus on economic development, to creating a thriving, sustainable innovation ecosystem.
Instep was borne out of the desire to bridge the gap between education and employment. It was this focus on understanding the needs of both students and their future employers that provided the inspiration to create something that hasn’t been done in New Zealand before. We worked with them on their brand and the establishment of an awards programme for local secondary students.
10 years ago, we partnered with Priority One to create and run the Young Innovator Awards – as a way of inspiring innovative thinking in the minds of tomorrow’s leaders and entrepreneurs. A decade later, Young Innovator Awards has gone from strength to strength – evolving from a student competition into an enriching awards programme. For the last five years we’ve provided an internship to winning innovators for a week in the studio to take them on a branding journey and show them how to take their concept to market.
As the Young Innovator Awards grew in stature, we were able to attract some world-class judges to help us out. With Kiwi icons such as Sir Ray Avery, Mark Pennington and creatives from Apple, Nike and NASA, we soon realised that these judges had a lot to offer the wider business community – culminating in the ‘Innovation Forum’ sessions, which have now become a highlight of the Groundswell schedule.
Our region is fortunate to have some of the most progressive educators in the country. We’ve learnt a lot while branding a number of local schools and tertiary providers, who are actively developing experiences that will shape the opportunities our students have in the future.
Canvas is a reimagining of the Western Bay at Work careers expo. We developed the brand to be more student-centric, reflecting a redesigned exhibition that showcased clear career pathways in an approachable and engaging way. The name ‘canvas’ was developed to remind students that they can design their own future in any way they want.
Groundswell, as we know it today, builds upon the momentum of many initiatives over the last 10 years. We developed the brand identity system, drawing on our knowledge of the many elements that have come together over time to create a region that champions innovation.
WOODS partners with clients to develop effective brands, using design thinking,
creative and marketing strategies to continually innovate, diversify and connect with customers.