Idealog’s Guide to Tauranga — Made in Tauranga
Historically, Tauranga’s economy has been centred around horticulture and shipping. That’s changing quickly, but that industrial heritage has led to a booming maker culture.
Whether it’s finding a solution to heat damaged hair, intricately printed 3D metal boat components, or mulch-coated horticultural grounds, Tauranga is a breeding ground for great ideas.
Locus Research is a company helping to bring many of the Bay’s best ideas to life. It’s worked with companies all along the spectrum, from startups to multi-million dollar enterprises, to research and develop new products and services.
“The way that you find us described is a product development and innovation agency, but what that means is we care very deeply about creating things – a product or a service or a new way of thinking about what someone’s working on – that have real tangible outcomes for people. It’s about getting things through to reality,” CEO Dan Faris says.
Faris says the research process is hugely important to unlock the right information. A cross-functional team whose expertise ranges from science, to design, to tech, each bring a different lens to look at the challenges a company is facing. And he says there’s never a cookie-cutter approach.
“Innovation for innovation’s sake is meaningless to a certain degree. You’ve got to look at what’s going to move the wheel for a company and you’ve got to be thinking about a broad set of variables – what’s sustainable, dynamic? A lot of this lands on the user side of the spectrum, trends of the consumer industry,” Faris says.
Some of the products Locus Research has worked on include Inverse, the world’s first ice conditioning tool for hair that resembles a straightener, but moisturises, rather than damages, the hair follicles.
Hairstylist David Roe approached Locus to help him develop an ice-moisturising product, as his wife had found rinsing her curly hair with ice cold water made her curls more defined, as well as smooth and shiny to touch.
Locus partnered with AgResearch, conducting hair fibre studies and science trials before creating Inverse, which picked up a Best Design Award in 2015 and an Australian Good Design Award in 2016.
Locus is based out of Priority One’s Ignition co-working space in the CBD. And Faris says the team feels privileged to be a part of Tauranga’s ecosystem.
“We’ve got a lot of respect for people around the block, doing the hard yards to make their big audacious dreams a reality and we feel we’re right alongside them. We’re not in an isolated little hole, we’re part of a larger ecosystem. There’s a bit of buzz down here,” he says.
Check out the rest of the article in Idealog magazine Issue #65 and online here.