About to embark on the second year of a Bachelor of Design (Product) at Otago Polytechnic, Harry Wager says all his expectations of the programme have been surpassed.
Harry moved from Christchurch to Dunedin at the start of 2018 specifically to study Product Design at Otago Polytechnic.
“My mum actually discovered the programme. I then had a look online and was really attracted by the mix of practical, hands-on learning as well as the theory, the thinking involved.
“I came down and was given a tour of Otago Polytechnic’s facilities. I fell in love with the place. Seeing the workshops and the learning spaces . . . it all fell into place.“I had high expectations and the experience has surpassed all those. The programme is great.”
Harry says it is difficult to single out any one aspect of the Product Design programme.
He enjoys all the course content and the flexibility of teaching that allows learners to bring their creativity to a wide range of projects.
“That makes you even more motivated, because it’s all about your ideas and the process of fully exploring an idea from inception to completion.
“But you have to be prepared to drop an idea. The lecturers are very supportive and inspiring but also very honest in their critiques.
“And you need that rigour. Constructive feedback is great, because it challenges you to think, to evolve and to be a better designer.”
Harry says a focus on communication and collaboration is to be celebrated, too.
“Design is all about how to communicate ideas, so it’s really important to develop those interpersonal skills in order to work with others.
“It is very much about human-centred design. In short, putting the user first. You are designing for the user, not for yourself.”
A competitive runner and a keen surfer, Harry enjoys the outdoors. In fact, he aims to combine his passion for long-distance running with his passion for Product Design.
“I’m keen to design range of ‘soft’ goods. For example, I designed a running belt last year.
“One of the main reasons I chose to study Product Design was to start my own business and the programme at Otago Polytechnic does give you the tools to do that.”