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HRINZ Conference 2004 Shifting the Thinking
HRINZ Conference 2004 Shifting the Thinking
next practice in people management

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concurrent workshops  (fringe)

F8 Modifying the Pattern on our Woven Pathway:
the Formway story

Paul Mather, Director Innovative Manufacturing, Wellington Institute of Technology

Reflections on a journey to unlock the full potential of its people in one of New Zealand’s exemplar design enabled companies.

Formway was a company, which grew rapidly during the eight years Paul worked for it. This was the period in which Formway became a complex, rapidly changing entity competing in a global market place.

To take up the opportunities that arose they had to throw the rulebook out the window just as they were having to put in place structured systems and processes such as quality, health & safety and environmental management systems.

This presentation will discuss the tensions and disturbances created by these conflicting needs.
It will then look at the impact of these tensions and disturbances on their culture and how they developed a new model for innovation, and the strategically focused capability development programme they were developing to support this model.

Paul believes that their journey will provide you with challenges to consider as you reflect on the issues surrounding the role of HR as agents of change.

Session Indicator




All levels

Grunt Factor: 

Hard business




Presentation 70%; Q&A 20%; forum 10%



Paul Mather has a Diploma in Industrial Design from Wellington Polytechnic and a Post Graduate Diploma in Business & Administration from Massey University.

After having finally given into the teaching genes in the blood and heeding the comments of an early boss & mentor that “ you will only ever be an average designer, but will become a very good developer of people “, Paul took up an opportunity in 1996 to work with Formway Furniture.

Formway is a New Zealand owned, Wellington based designer, manufacturer and retailer of international award winning commercial furniture and Paul was part of the team responsible for the development of the company’s processes and systems.

As Quality Engineer and then Group Development Officer, Paul took the lead in the creation of an in house strategic capability development programme.

He has recently moved to the Wellington Institute of Technology as Director, Innovative Manufacturing to further this work.

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