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Dean started out as a social enterprise researcher and then a market researcher in the financial services sector. He moved into various distribution strategy, business strategy, process improvement and channel development roles within some of NZ's leading banks.


He was responsible for researching, testing, evaluating and helping deploy a range of self-service innovations in the banking sector and shaping the wider customer service strategy.


Dean then worked for nearly four years with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) designing new services to help NZ businesses prepare for and respond to the challenges of international growth - specifically addressing needs for funding business growth and raising capital; understanding and leveraging digital technologies; winning tenders and forming go to market strategies.


Dean now works closely and collaboratively with teams to help them understand their customers and end users (current and future) and their unmet or poorly met needs. This is the platform to then help teams give shape to new value propositions - including human to human; human to digital and human to object. He believes in a learn by doing approach and "if it's not tested with end users, then it's not real yet."


Dean often works at the intersection between design thinking, lean and agile methods. His role includes shaping the vision for differentiated customer experiences; leading design sprints from early concept design through to market testing; then refining solutions and shaping delivery models.

Dean has also worked with public and private sector organisations to help them move beyond 'one off - project based' approaches to design, and implement a more structured and repeatable approach to customer focused innovation.


Dean helped co-design and deliver the internal service design function for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise from 2012 to 2015, as well as leading innovation programmes in BNZ's Direct Retailing team. He has provided training and coaching in customer research; creative problem solving; design thinking; innovation and business model design to internal company teams.

Dean's passion for innovation extends beyond his day job, and includes facilitating informal innovation networking events co-sponsored by Callaghan Innovation and various Regional Development Agencies. These meet ups help to inspire and educate NZ businesses on leading edge approaches to innovation. Dean is also an approved facilitator of IMP3rove Academy's international Innovation Benchmarking service, sponsored by Callaghan Innovation.

M: +64 21 913 422              T: 0800 677 444          E:


   Dean Donovan

   Programme Director

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