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Summer Lab breaks records

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The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Summer Lab programme has closed for 2018, breaking records to become New Zealand’s largest summer idea accelerator programme.  An astonishing 108 students participated, among them 15 students from Shantou University who travelled from China to join in the Summer Lab experience.

Over the course of Summer Lab student participants were given the ability to formulate, test and develop an idea for a venture. The diversity of ideas was representative of the mix of students who came from all faculties and disciplines.  Venture ideas included a luxury New Zealand skin care brand utilising New Zealand’s native plants, a social enterprise focused on mental health issues, an analytics platform to improve the performance of amateur sports people and a service that provides tailored meal plans based on the customer’s DNA.

Summer Lab participants appreciated that the programme balanced inspiration and the ability to nurture their fledgling ideas with the opportunity to develop tangible, practical skills to help make those ideas a reality.  Faculty of Science student Greta Holland says “It helped me realise what is really involved in starting a business.  You don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve experienced it”.

This is the third year that the University of Auckland has run Summer Lab and the excellent quality programme took a step up this year with the addition of new programme components and resources.  Summer Lab was this year hosted in the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s new innovation hub, Unleash Space.  This gave participants the ability to freely make prototypes of their products using the cutting-edge tools available in Unleash Space’s maker space.

Another new introduction was the inclusion of the LEGO® Serious Play® workshop.  This internationally accredited methodology is designed to enhance innovation and business performance.  Students raved about the session, and felt they grew in leaps as a team as a result of the conversations emerging during the workshop.

Summer Lab was facilitated by Lauren Peate, founder of Ally Skills, who has a wealth of knowledge from running similar programmes across the Middle East and Asia.  Lauren was enormously impressed by the energy, talent and ideas demonstrated in the University of Auckland’s Summer Lab programme.  “The teams tackled ambitious and meaningful problems– I feel more optimistic about the future knowing that the Summer Lab participants will be among those who are building it”.

Summer Lab participants at work in the LEGO® Serious Play® workshop

Summer Lab participants at work in the LEGO® Serious Play® workshop.

Summer Lab participants at work in the LEGO® Serious Play® workshop

Summer Lab participants at work in the LEGO® Serious Play® workshop.

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The Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s Summer Lab programme has closed for 2018, breaking records to become New Zealand’s largest summer idea accelerator programme.  An astonishing 108 students participated, among them 15 students from Shantou University who travelled from China to join in the Summer Lab experience.

Over the course of Summer Lab student participants were given the ability to formulate, test and develop an idea for a venture. The diversity of ideas was representative of the mix of students who came from all faculties and disciplines.  Venture ideas included a luxury New Zealand skin care brand utilising New Zealand’s native plants, a social enterprise focused on mental health issues, an analytics platform to improve the performance of amateur sports people and a service that provides tailored meal plans based on the customer’s DNA.

Summer Lab participants appreciated that the programme balanced inspiration and the ability to nurture their fledgling ideas with the opportunity to develop tangible, practical skills to help make those ideas a reality.  Faculty of Science student Greta Holland says “It helped me realise what is really involved in starting a business.  You don’t know what you don’t know until you’ve experienced it”.

This is the third year that the University of Auckland has run Summer Lab and the excellent quality programme took a step up this year with the addition of new programme components and resources.  Summer Lab was this year hosted in the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship’s new innovation hub, Unleash Space.  This gave participants the ability to freely make prototypes of their products using the cutting-edge tools available in Unleash Space’s maker space.

Another new introduction was the inclusion of the LEGO® Serious Play® workshop.  This internationally accredited methodology is designed to enhance innovation and business performance.  Students raved about the session, and felt they grew in leaps as a team as a result of the conversations emerging during the workshop.

Summer Lab was facilitated by Lauren Peate, founder of Ally Skills, who has a wealth of knowledge from running similar programmes across the Middle East and Asia.  Lauren was enormously impressed by the energy, talent and ideas demonstrated in the University of Auckland’s Summer Lab programme.  “The teams tackled ambitious and meaningful problems– I feel more optimistic about the future knowing that the Summer Lab participants will be among those who are building it”.


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