Summer Experience Design Internship – 2017/18.

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DNA has always had a deep curiosity about how to improve the experiences people have every day. We undertake research into many of the physical and digital interactions that people encounter on a daily basis and then work alongside organisations to help them deliver products, services and systems that are simpler, easier, faster and fairer.

Identifying three challenges.

Like many New Zealanders, we have seen that there are many people – in some of the most vulnerable communities across the country who are in need of access to better help and support.

We have also observed many organisations trying to support these communities who also seemed to need help to better navigate the challenges of the social sector.
Lastly, as an established design consultancy, we have always seen a high demand to deliver a practical experience to students in order for them to be better prepared to work in the industry.

An internship is born.

In response to these challenges, we set out to find the best most feasible way possible to address all three. The solution was to pilot an intern programme that would support graduate designers getting into the industry with an experience of a project aimed at exploring new ways we could potentially understand and address some of the big challenges we see within some New Zealand communities.

The programme is evolving.

To date, we have completed three internship cycles – based out of the DNA Auckland offices – and have trialled different structures and models in order to balance the needs of the programme whilst delivering the best outcomes for the interns. 

The first cycle was with one intern over ten weeks, the second with three interns over five weeks during the summer, and most recently with three interns over four weeks during the Winter. 

Across each iteration, the design brief has evolved; from a focus on leaders working at the intersection of business, government and the social sector; to understanding the tools used by community support organisations and how they are effective.

We continue to optimise the delivery of the internship with constant feedback from each intern – with their insight and prototypes used to help frame up the brief for each subsequent internship.

Programme results.

We have learnt a considerable amount about how various organisations are attempting to help and support many at-risk communities throughout Auckland. Through these organisations, we have also learnt a lot about the needs of the communities they are trying to support. Based upon this understanding – which is only the tip of the iceberg – we have identified some key opportunities that the intern programme will continue to look at – and ultimately produce solutions we can share.

Results for the interns.

Feedback has been encouraging from the interns experiencing the program, who love engaging in real-world challenges with commercial design methods.

All of the recent internship graduates were able to find jobs within two weeks of the conclusion of the programme (and they each enjoyed a little support from our team as references). They are going into really interesting roles in design and are keen to stay in contact. The internship is providing confidence in their design skills while continuing to hone in on new ways DNA can contribute to the systemic social challenges of NZ through the insight we are discovering.

Summer Experience Design Internship – 2017/18.

Applications close on 27 November for the latest Summer internship.