Harry Wager is on the move – again.
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.
Harry is about to complete his final year of study for a Bachelor of Design (Product) at Otago Polytechnic, graduating on Friday 11 December.
Yet it would be fair to say he also has his mind on other outcomes – in particular, a three-month paid internship with Wellington-based company Hunter’s Element, which Harry describes as a “dream summer job”.
Having moved from Christchurch to Dunedin at the start of 2018 specifically to study Product Design at Otago Polytechnic, Harry says all his expectations of the programme have been surpassed over the past three years.
“I had high expectations and the experience has surpassed all those. The programme is great.
“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.
“But you have to be prepared to drop an idea.”
Harry did exactly that in his final year.
A competitive long-distance runner and keen surfer, Harry ditched his designs for a running belt and pivoted to creating a prototype running vest constructed along sustainability principles.
“I realised that my original idea for a running belt didn’t offer enough points of difference from what is already in the market. It was tough to change as I’d spent a semester on the idea, but that’s a key point of the design process – being able to rigorously critique and discuss your own thoughts and ideas.
“So I’ve designed a running vest that uses mainly wool and is based on a fast-emerging technology – a 3D knitting technique that allows for more complex structures that you can’t achieve with more traditional ‘knit and sew’ techniques.”
Harry plans to further develop his business model, most likely when he returns to do Honours in Design at Otago Polytechnic in 2021.
In the meantime, Wellington awaits.
“I’m absolutely stoked with the internship at Hunter’s Element. They develop soft goods for the hunting market.
“I spent a week with them on an internship earlier in the year and really enjoyed it. I think they realise I can add some value to their operation.”