Saatchi & Saatchi partners with Media Design School in Wynyard innovation precinct

Press Release – Joint Media Statement
The Media Design School has partnered with Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand to launch a new graduate school focusing on digital innovation, The Media Design Graduate School (The Graduate School), in Auckland.

The Graduate School has also been announced as an anchor tenant in the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct, a mixed use living and working space currently being developed by Waterfront Auckland. The precinct is specifically designed to foster collaboration and entrepreneurship, and accelerate the growth of high-tech ideas into commercial success.

The Graduate School will take possession of its location on the corner of Halsey St and Madden St at the end of this year. The building will be re-skinned by renowned Auckland architects RTA Studio.

The school will offer a one-year full time Master of Interaction Design* from February 2014. Applications for the master’s degree are expected to be open from June 2013.

The collaboration will see Saatchi & Saatchi actively engaging with students at The Graduate School including supporting student learning through live briefs, lectures and mentoring.

Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand CEO Nicky Bell says: “We believe that this collaboration will be hugely beneficial to both the next generation of our industry’s talent and to our agency.”

“Our Saatchi & Saatchi team are a spirited, talented and ambitious collective of people. We’ve actively broken down historical hierarchical structures in favour of a more open, collaborative environment, so the opportunity to expand our population of creative thinkers by partnering with the Media Design School makes perfect sense to us. We are excited to engage in the school and will certainly benefit from the ‘reverse mentoring’ this new generation of students will give us in return.”

Frances Valintine, CEO of the Media Design School, says: “We see Auckland as the creative capital of the Asia Pacific, so we felt it was an obvious choice for The Graduate School.”

“The Graduate School will be a dynamic physical space located here in the Innovation Precinct. The real magic will happen when we bring students together to study and research as a collective community, developing concepts that have both commercial and social value.”

“This collaboration will enrich our bright young talent’s learning through direct exposure to the dynamic folks at Saatchi & Saatchi and the perspective only an international curriculum can provide.”

The Media Design School is part of the Laureate International Universities network, and the curriculum programme for the Master of Interaction Design will be based on a similar programme offered by Laureate affiliate the Domus Academy in Milan.

*The degree is currently being assessed for approval by NZQA.

About Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand
Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand is part of the global Saatchi & Saatchi network, which includes 140 offices in 76 countries and over 6,500 staff. The world-renowned agency was founded in London in 1970 and is headquartered in New York.

Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand has been identified by global chief executive Kevin Roberts as having a special role within the network, similar to a global research and development lab. The office has a reputation for its industry-leading creativity, particularly in unleashing new ideas through innovative partnerships. Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand is headed by CEO Nicky Bell, Executive Creative Director, Antonio Navas and Director of Strategy, Murray Streets.
About Media Design School
Media Design School was an early pioneer in creative technology education, providing New Zealand’s first tertiary qualifications in ‘new media’ in 1998. Since inception, Media Design School has sought out intelligence, gained opinion, and embraced the potential of technology and how it could benefit media industries and the new generation working within them.

The school’s founding mission to be pioneering and future-focused has nurtured a bold education philosophy that inspires student creativity and innovation. This boundary-pushing culture has been supported by the integration of subject experts in new and emerging digital technologies, including advertising, interactive, film and design. Faculty and students are encouraged to facilitate and collaborate with designers and developers who are at the frontier of contemporary digital practices.

Press Release – Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development
Auckland’s epicentre for innovation is to be the new home for the region’s first digital design graduate school borne out of a ground-breaking business collaboration.

A partnership between advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand and Media Design School, will establish the Media Design Graduate School offering a Master of Interaction Design*.

The graduate school is perfectly poised to showcase Auckland’s renown innovation capabilities to the world from its new premises in the innovation precinct at Wynyard Quarter on the city’s waterfront. Mayor Len Brown says the new tenant perfectly encapsulates the Council’s vision for the ICT and digital innovation precinct.

“I congratulate Saatchi’s and Media Design School on their choice of a new home for this exciting venture. The development of the Media Design Graduate School is an excellent fit with the precinct and the calibre of businesses and talent it will attract,” says Mayor Len Brown.

Auckland has over 6700 ICT and digital businesses, employing more than 31,000 people and contributing around $4 billion to the region’s GDP.

“The graduate school will accelerate growth in Auckland’s already high performing digital sector by providing a hotbed of talent for the future. Already 55 per cent of New Zealand’s ICT GDP is produced right here. The ICT sector is fast growing and tipped to be the country’s second largest foreign exchange earner by 2020,” says Mayor Len Brown.

The Auckland Plan and Economic Development Strategy set ambitious targets for Auckland’s economic growth – 6 per cent growth in exports, 5 per cent real GDP growth and a 2 per cent increase in productivity every year.

“The innovation precinct is critical to achieving the region’s economic growth goals. It will also help boost Auckland’s ranking from fifth currently to the innovation capital of the Asia Pacific region,” says Mayor Len Brown.

“Last year, 17 Auckland based businesses made the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 list for the Asia Pacific region. Auckland is also home to seven of the country’s top 10 companies in the Technology Investment Network (TIN) index.”

Innovation precincts are designed to nurture new ideas, support established companies research and development, and link multinational businesses and smaller ventures through collaborative partnerships.

Internationally, like-minded businesses are pooling together to learn and collaborate, creating a fertile environment where innovative ideas become commercial opportunities.

Auckland is using innovation hubs, like in Wynyard Quarter, to accelerate the region’s economic growth in priority sectors. The FoodBowl in Manukau and a virtual Health Innovation Hub are already proving beneficial.

* The degree is currently being assessed for approval by NZQA.

Auckland’s innovation status

Auckland was recently named as one of the Asia Pacific region’s most innovative cities in a new report, beating major centres such as Tokyo, Seoul and Taipei. The Most Innovative Cities in Asia Pacific report was prepared by Singaporean consulting firm Solidiance. The report examined six links between what a city has to offer and the amount of talent that relocates to that city. The links are:

• the availability of a skilled talent base;

• a strong higher education system;

• the liveability of a city and environmental sustainability;

• technological advancement; and

• government regulations that support financial freedom and global integration.

Auckland ranked fifth in the survey, beating a number of major Asian cities. Singapore was named as the most innovative, followed by Sydney, Melbourne and Hong Kong.
Background on the Wynyard Quarter Innovation Precinct

The Innovation Precinct is a purpose-built ICT and digital media hub that brings together innovative entrepreneurs, multi-national companies, as well as research and development intensive organisations. It provides the focus, resources, connections and opportunities to launch high-tech business for success on the global stage.

Located in Wynyard Quarter on Auckland’s waterfront, 48,000m2 of space is being developed to attract new and emerging ICT and digital media businesses, alongside more established companies, with the aim of rapidly growing the local ICT sector and building on the success and growth already achieved by smart NZ high-tech companies.

The precinct will provide budding entrepreneurs with the ideal fertile environment in which to start-up, with stylish workspaces and close proximity to business, financial and legal advice. It is a place where like-minded and complementary high-tech companies can work alongside one another, collaborate and create new and exciting opportunities.

The precinct is made possible through the investment of Auckland Council’s economic growth and waterfront development agencies, Auckland Tourism Events and Economic Development (ATEED) and Waterfront Auckland, the support of central government and the participation of leading New Zealand companies.

Initial focus for the precinct’s development is a block of gritty, industrial buildings on the corners of Halsey and Pakenham streets, with the first refurbishment work set to begin later this year on the character full, 90 year old John Lysaght Building. The refurbishment is funded as part of Auckland Council’s commitment to heritage infrastructure and the balance of the precinct will provide opportunities for private sector investment.