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Radical cross-sector collaboration unites red meat sector

The New Zealand red meat sector is a principal driver of New Zealand's economy and identity, with exports to 100+ countries worth over NZ$8 billion per annum. Beef and Lamb New Zealand (B+LNZ) represents New Zealand's sheep and beef farmers.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand
Community engagement and co-design, Human-centred innovation, Empathy research
Project Team
Leslie  Tergas's profile'
Jim Scully's profile'
D’Arcy Dalzell's profile'
Ben McCarthy's profile'
Rose Wu's profile'
Phillip Rubery's profile'

B+LNZ wanted to better understand how to help farmers get the most from export markets, and kicked off an independent review of market development activities to find out. This work surfaced a hunger and opportunity for future-focused collaboration; transformational sector growth; a price premium per kg for New Zealand red meat over the global competition; and future-proofing the sector to withstand future challenges through regulation, consumer needs, disruptive competition and change.

This focus drove a new market development strategy and action plan that B+LNZ led on behalf of the New Zealand red meat sector. ThinkPlace worked with B+L NZ to develop the strategy and action plan though radical cross-sector collaboration, with design thinking at its heart. We brought to the table the co-design of intent, strategy, and programmes to deliver on the strategy’s ambitious goals. 

Our co-design process generated engagement, collaboration, and energy not previously seen in the sector, linking B+LNZ, farmers, exporters/marketers, and other stakeholders including government. The resulting strategy and action plan has been adopted unanimously be the sector.

This work highlights the power of design thinking to transform dynamics and to align system players in a joint vision of a preferred and aspirational future. We also used design thinking to get people working together and to generate an ambitious viable plan of tangible activity to deliver this preferred future.

In nine months, the work shifted entrenched sector dynamics into productive collaboration, where all stakeholders have a part to play and can contribute not only their different currencies but their super powers as well.

What enabled this shift was a strong partnership with B+LNZ leadership to drive an uncompromised design thinking approach—empathetic understanding of the needs and aspirations of everyone in the system, rigorous co-design to generate new paradigms and solutions that would be a win-win for everyone in the sector, an iterative and prototyping approach, and a shift in focus from inside out (sector to market) to an outside-in approach (consumer to sector).

We are continuing our partnership as B+LNZ roll out the implementation phase of the work. 

<p>“Having representatives from all parts of the sector from all over the country shows a commitment to the process. It really does feel like the train is leaving the station and all the players are thinking they may as well be on it. The positivity of all involved in this process supports this thinking.”<br /> Farmer</p> <p> “This process, and its outcome, are fundamentally different for our sector. Together we are thinking about the long-term opportunities and issues for New Zealand red meat, and how we tackle these collectively. It’s a different mindset to what we’ve done before, it’s about investing for the future, not trying to reduce our costs of today.”<br /> Exporter/Marketer</p>