The Ministry of Social Development, one of New Zealand’s largest government departments, supports a significant number of New Zealanders at critical points in their lives. As an organisation, MSD has a very clear purpose, but in a changing world, the way it helps New Zealanders to be safe, strong and independent needed to evolve. Over the last 12 months MSD had been working and developing a new strategy based around doing things differently to make a bigger difference in people’s lives. The change was underpinned by three key desired shifts to better achieve the organisation’s purpose. We were asked to develop visual language and imagery that made these shifts meaningful for all staff. Ultimately we wanted to help MSD to further connect and empower its staff by providing context to this desired change. And in time, to help a committed workforce to connect with their personal belief in what they do and who they work for everyday - New Zealanders.
In order to truly understand the challenges MSD staff experience day to day, we held a series of co-creation workshops. These interactive sessions were designed to get staff talking about the present versus the future state. And talk they did! We gathered a range of critical insights from people at all levels of MSD that provided the rationale and platform for our design. We listened, we created, we tested, we changed, we re-tested until we reached the final visual solution for Te Pae Tawhiti - Our Future.
It was important that the design reflected and connected with all New Zealanders, so having a cultural perspective was really important. MSD worked closely with us to ensure the visual cues underpinning the design were aligned to internal work already underway, to bring a bicultural approach to the new strategy. Flax is at the heart of the concept and features in each of the Shift motifs: A woman and child wearing a Korowhai symbolises Mana Manaaki; the Kete symbolises a greater focus on partnership (Kotahitanga) and a Kōmako (Bellbird) represents regeneration of New Zealand’s social and economic conditions (Kia Takatu Tatou).
MSD Leaders are running a series of engagement workshops with their staff to help them understand the shifts required and the imagery forms a core part of this. Change will take time, but the commitment and passion of the MSD team is clearly visible. The future looks positive.
“It was really important that the process was a collaborative one, and included staff from all parts of MSD. Ocean did a fantastic job in hosting co-design sessions, which were fun and thought provoking and helped staff to really get to the heart of what they wanted to see. The end result is stunning and captured the essence of what we wanted to convey. It’s been well received, encouraging people to engage with the shifts in a new and different way.” - Suzanne Sherris, Communications Lead for Te Pae Tawhiti – Our Future
“The results of the co design were amazing, the imagery that resulted exceeded expectations. The process was perhaps not one that is often used, where it was based on a whakatauaki and on the telling of stories. The team at Ocean listened, questioned, researched and created beautiful images that support the work ahead for the organization. Each image used has a history, a link across all of them that together make a foundation that helps to engage people in discussion and planning, that engages people in the way forward. A great process to be involved in.”- Ann Dysart, Manager, Community, Partnerships and Programmes