• Agriculture


  • Design & Delivery


Empathy research
Design sprints
Workshop facilitation
User testing
UX design
Brief documentation

"When the project started, the initial scope was valued at $140 million. With Assurity’s assistance, we’ve developed a highly functional building for our people for $98.6 million.”

John O'Dea

Director, Infrastructure, Farms & Facilities



AgResearch’s current buildings have been around for more than 50 years. They will commence the construction of a new $98-million headquarters and research centre located on the Lincoln University campus in June 2021. A consistent challenge they faced was drawing out exactly what users needed, with the added consideration of a group of users who had a long list of requirements which had to fit into a finite budget. AgResearch decided to take a unique approach to the design of its new building, which put its people right at the centre of the project. It engaged Assurity Consulting to gather insights and deliver actionable results to guide the design by drawing on the needs, desires, and complexities of the people for whom the building is intended.


Assurity Consulting took a human-centred design approach to the challenge, engaging deeply with AgResearch staff members, shadowing scientists and other staff through their workdays, absorbing important insights, jobs-to-be-done, and the observations between what people say and do. This was supported with multiple workshopping sessions with a focus group, and then iterative sprints guiding in design of the eventual workspaces.

Outcomes achieved

  • Developed a relevant design brief for the project’s architects that explicitly represents the preferences, design principles and inputs of the AgResearch study group, including open plan working environments, and a ‘Serviced Apartment’ approach
  • Reduced the initial building scope value from $140 million to $98.6 million whilst meeting the functional needs of the AgResearch staff

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