The rise of automation innovation: Insights from 2023’s first Design and Innovation Meetup

Four photos showcasing the Design and Innovation Meetup event, including the two presenters giving presentations on robotics and automation innovation, Priority One's Shane Stuart opening the event, and attendees seated and engaged in listening to the presentations.

The Bay of Plenty Design and Innovation Meetup kicked off 2023 with the first session for the year: “The Humans Are Dead (!?): Design at the Interface of Robots, People and New Products”. The Meetup attracted over 30 local innovators, hosted at Priority One’s office.

The Meetup featured expert presenters: Firstly Carl Menary, Senior Industrial Designer at Robotics Plus, a world-leading robotics company based in the Western Bay. Carl highlighted some of the exciting products being developed by Robotics Plus and how they are transforming primary sector value chains with their robotics and autonomous machines; and secondly Nick Pickering, a Lecturer at the University of Waikato. Nick gave an overview of his career with industry in projects ranging from aircraft to software, and the e-bin project, a collaboration between the University and Zespri focussed on automating kiwifruit harvesting, that won the 2022 Fieldays Innovation Awards for Prototyping.

Nick and Carl sparked a wide-ranging discussion with plenty of contribution from the audience. Themes emerged around the impact of robotics on developing new approaches to creating products and services, and how they will change as technology like AI becomes more widespread in the future.

The Design and Innovation Meetup provides a space for innovators and creators to connect, share experiences and hear from experts. It happens every two months, with the next session scheduled for Tuesday 02 May 2023. Come along for some inspiration, networking and collaboration!

For more information and the latest on what’s happening in the BOP D&I Meetup community, join the official Meetup page here, or contact Shane Stuart at:

Three photos showing attendees of the Design and Innovation Meetup networking and socializing over food and drinks at the beginning and end of the event.
Networking over nibbles and drinks at the Design and Innovation Meetup