Ministry of Education

Co-designing the future of education

Jacinda Ardern at MOE summit
Who we worked with

Ministry of Education

What we did together

2-day summit

Key skills


The goal? To create transformational change in the education sector, Creative HQ and partner Openfield created Kōrero Mātauranga – the most inclusive and diverse education conversation ever to be held in New Zealand.

In late 2017, the New Zealand Labour Party formed a coalition government and quickly set about the planning and implementation of transformational change across multiple portfolios. Education was one of these target portfolios, led by incoming Minister Chris Hipkins.

The Labour-led government wasn’t going to be satisfied by a small, minor update. They wanted a transformational, thirty-year strategy that would impact multiple generations and create an inclusive modern learning environment – an environment with engaged learners whose learning experience met their individual needs.

“Changing nothing is not an option. Pupils will always be cheaper to fund than prisoners and patients


How we did it

Kōrero Mātauranga was born to help the government bring together everyone to solve a challenge. The Ministry hosted two summits: one in Christchurch, one in Auckland. 1600 people attended. Students, teachers, parents, employers, Māori, Pasifika, children and young people, and people with disabilities and learning support needs, junior teachers in small rural schools, young people on probation and small employers were all invited to have their voices heard. 

To get the best possible results, we relied on three core principles that informed every aspect of the summit design process.

Co-design at all levels

The future of education needed to involve all citizens. For that level of co-design to happen, the summits themselves required a high-level of co-design from a diverse group of people that represented multiple perspectives across the education sector.

A Design Council, made up of twelve representatives from across the sector, was formed to create a shared sense of ownership over the process. Over six co-design workshops, the Council developed a baseline of shared understanding of the context and challenges and a shared vision for outcomes.

We developed engagement pathways with multiple touchpoints to enable engagement with stakeholder groups. The groups we focused on for this work were Māori, disability groups, businesses, parents and students.

A balance of content and experience

The summits had to create a holistic experience that enabled authentic, inclusive and enjoyable conversations while also producing a tangible outcome that would inform the education reform.

Over 40 local and international speakers contributed to each summit. We framed the thinking through videos and articles and had a group of 50 representatives that contributed to our thinking during the co-design process. Finally, we deployed a digital solution that allowed us to manage the inputs and outputs of the conversations taking place and ensure full traceability of an idea surfaced at any time.

Creating a space where people felt safe to express their views and emotions was vital to fostering authentic dialogue. Making the physical space and collaborative journey work for the energy and movement of people, as well as the rhythm and pace of the mahi was a top consideration.

Participant centricity

The scale and importance of the Summits required robust pre-planning and impeccable execution – all delivered within a seven-week timeframe. However, we needed to preserve a high degree of situational awareness and operational flexibility, before and during the events, to ensure that participant feedback was heard, analysed and used in real-time – this meant we could course-correct as the process unfolded.

A robust operational backbone was designed to deliver a seamless experience throughout the two days. Our process was designed to enrich the main programme with multiple possibilities for participants to engage and contribute in meaningful, bespoke ways.

The result

Since the summits, the Ministry of Education has engaged Creative HQ to embed co-design into several projects. This summit:

  • Was one of the most significant co-design projects ever undertaken by the New Zealand government. 
  • Over 1,000 documented possibilities, ideas and principles synthesised into directional priorities to form the foundation of the future system.
  • A set of core shared values to frame the next steps of the conversation.

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