Spearhead project development process

Spearhead project development process diagram

Spearheads projects are developed in partnership with industry and Māori through Mission Labs. To form our Spearhead projects, we follow a ‘Mission Lab’ and ‘Mission Design’ process.

Together we develop high-level technology missions that will support the next step change in our economy, and opportunities New Zealand can exploit in the hi-tech sector over the next 10-20 years. Missions need to be sticky (relevant to NZ) and stretchy (5-10 years out). Our aim is to be as collaborative as possible, while continuing to learn and adapt as we go - this may mean at times this process evolves to get the best results. Here’s how it works…    

Stage 1 Mission Labs and mission identification

Mission Labs are facilitated events that bring together leaders from industry and Māori organisations to decide on high-level missions for SfTI to pursue. This is where we put high-level ideas to the test and make sure that they are broadly supported by industry and Māori.

Stage 2-4 Mission Design

Stage 2

From the Mission Labs we continue to work together through lots of consultation to fully scope the mission topic and identify the technological research that could support the mission, as well as gauge interest in the research community.

Stage 3

The next stage of Mission Design is to select and form best research teams to help us hone the mission toward a Spearhead project. This involves aligning researcher capabilities with our mission to build new cross-discipline, multi-organisational teams.

This process is not typical for New Zealand science. Instead of asking research teams to compete for funding, we pose a mission identified from the Mission Lab and then ask researchers for expressions of interest in being part of a Spearhead project team. This is a unique opportunity for researchers to bring their capability to the Mission Design workshop, not a specific project.

Stage 4

The researchers then work with the SfTI Leadership Team in a Spearhead planning workshop. The purpose of this workshop, and the post-workshop proposal development stage, is to refine the focus of the mission to form one brand new Spearhead project.

That can be a challenge for some – to work in a truly new, inter-disciplinary team, however SfTI is there to support the researchers through this journey.

Stage 5

From there we launch the Spearhead projects, after Board approval.

Check out our Spearhead projects here