The Mind Lab disrupts its way to success

(Last Updated On: November 24, 2016)

The Mind Lab by Unitec is a unique collaboration between a public education provider and a specialist education lab. It is dedicated to enhancing digital literacy capability and the implementation of contemporary practice in the teaching profession, and is the first facility of its kind to adopt an intangible business model, writes Frances Valintine.


Business disruption is transforming the world around us at an incredible rate. Increasingly, we’re seeing organisations adopt new models in order to keep pace and in some cases, to survive.

New Zealand has had a long-held reputation as the provider of world-class education. However, with the incredible advancement of technology in the past few years, we’ve missed the opportunity to be a world leader in contemporary education. In order to catch up, we need to be looking at those sectors that have been agile and responsive to progress in the face of probable extinction. This will allow us to best understand social drivers of change in times of rapid advancement and disruption.


Embracing the best

To address the changing environments, I founded The Mind Lab in late 2013. The Mind Lab is transforming the education ecosystem from the current legacy model to become a contemporary sector that embraces the very best in technology, research and new knowledge. The aim is to prepare the next generation of New Zealanders for their future success.

We decided to take it one step further and build a wider community platform around our business and are now reaching out to teachers to decide on our next locations for postgraduate study. The crowd-sourced, community-driven nature of our campaign, Where to Next (, is the realisation of our commitment to being responsive to our audiences and true to our overarching vision.


Evolving from the physical

With this evolution of our business’s focus, we moved very rapidly from physical bricks to mortar teaching facilities, adopting an intangible business model with the addition of satellite labs operating in the existing facilities of NZ schools.


These host schools have become valued partners as well as learning hubs within the local community, where teachers from surrounding schools can access our postgraduate programme. In the first year of business, we had four physical labs across the country. By the end of our second year, we have added an additional 18 satellite sites.


Largest education facility

In three years since its launch, The Mind Lab by Unitec has become the largest education facility in the country with more sites and students than any other organisation. It has also launched New Zealand’s most significant and largest postgraduate programme with 2,200 educators who have completed or are completing this course.  


Post graduation: Frances celebrates with some of the March 2015 cohort

frances-screenshotFrances talking to Paul Henry last month on ‘How to future proof your job’


Frances Valintine is Founder of Tech Futures Lab and Founder and Chair of The Mind Lab by Unitec. She’s been a leader in the education of future technologies, digital impact and disruption for over two decades. Frances is an education futurist who currently works in New Zealand and internationally with individuals and organisations that are navigating and preparing for technological advances, disruption and innovation.

For more information about The Mind Lab by Unitec go to

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