Our STEM Unleashed Programme puts an extra spark into classrooms by introducing challenges that cannot be solved without collaboration.

We help teachers transform classrooms into incredible incubators of awesome.


Our Teacher Innovation Programmes maximise the diversity of experiences in your team and help build the structures that support continuous educational innovation.

We help teachers create their own ideas rather than simply implement the ideas of others.


Perhaps you’re looking for an engaging speaker for your event?

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About us

In 2010 our founder Chris Clay began exploring approaches that would treat the diverse learners in a classroom as a knowledge ecosystem rather than a set of individuals. Following some startling results, STEM unleashed was created in order to support teachers to nurture vibrant knowledge building communities in their schools.

As our skills relating to knowledge building have developed so has our ability to apply this to professional learning. Working with a wide range of organisations we help teams of educators maximise the potential of diversity in order to make more sense of their contexts and seek out novel ways of overcoming challenges.

Our team have a vast wealth of experience in consultancy and research. As well as schools and Universities, we have worked with a range of NGOs, government departments and other organisations including The Smithsonian Institute, Singularity University, Microsoft, The New Zealand Council for Educational Research and Principals Australia.

Chris is also an accomplished public speaker who has delivered keynote talks at many international conferences as well as speaking on the TEDx stage and the Singularity UNZ Summit.

Teachers across the world are increasingly aware of the importance of high quality STEM education. Whilst the reasons for this are varied, it seems obvious that we need a focus around our natural world and developing new tools will allow us to cope with some of the ‘wicked’ problems we now face.

In response to this, STEM education has received a vast increase in investment which has resulted in more training, new resources and new competitions. Science and Technology education seems to have taken centre-stage!

“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them”

Albert Einstein

While we are finding ever more innovative ways to teach kids about STEM, we have less approaches focussed on teaching kids how to become more innovative. Much of the STEM resources and programmes that are widely used involve highly structured activities where students follow predetermined instructions in order to reach predetermined outcomes. While these structured experiences are valuable when guiding an exploration of specific concepts, they do not reflect the messy and divergent way these disciplines create and evaluate new knowledge and create innovative ideas.

If we are to help students learn to develop solutions to emerging wicked problems and be able to critique claims in the age of fake news - something else is required!

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants”

Sir Isaac Newton

STEM Unleashed is a programme that empowers teachers to overcome these challenges by learning to design tasks to help students build knowledge collaboratively; in the same way as scientists and open source technologists.

These tasks involve the setting of open-ended engineering challenges. Small groups of students are encouraged to develop their own solution whilst remaining connected to the work and learning of others. Whilst this allows a classroom collective to ideate and test far more ideas than any isolated group, our peer review process extends this by turning these different experiences into collective intelligence.

As teachers begin using our STEM Unleashed innovation cycle, they learn to guide students through the three stages outlined below. Each of these stages provide enough structure to guide practice whilst still providing enough student agency to support creativity and innovation.

Open exploration

At this stage students are free to tinker and explore as they seek to solve an engineering challenge. Teachers learn to create challenges that are complex enough that no isolated group can work through as many ideas as a network of collaborating groups. This creates an imperative for collaboration.

Claims and critique

Teachers learn to use our tried and tested “Peer Review Process” to help a classroom full of students focus their collective minds and make and critique claims.

Building collective understanding

The final stage involves supporting students as they seek to build consensus around ideas that are shared. This is where the collective determines which of the claims should be trusted and what new questions might have emerged.

Our programme are focussed on setting a low barrier to entry and a high ceiling of possibility. We make use of inexpensive materials, demand no prior knowledge and can cater to all levels of experience.

Why would you not want to Unleash STEM?

“STEM Unleashed really opened my eyes to getting away from science being ‘following a procedure’ to students actively exploring a scenario. This has transformed how I present science to my students”
— Bo Hensley, Howick Intermediate School


Our work is based around helping groups of educators form into a collaborative knowledge building community. This involves small groups or individuals working independently towards a coherent goal and staying closely connected with one another’s learning. Not only does this allow a group to ideate and test a greater number of ideas, but it also increases the tolerance of risk and the likelihood of success.

Our team have worked at the cutting edge of school-based innovation for more than a decade working alongside thousands of educators and organisations including The Smithsonian Institute, Microsoft, The Mind Lab by Unitec and Principals Australia as well as a large number of schools, universities, NGOs and government departments.

Our work in New Zealand has also involved supporting schools and clusters (kāhui ako) as they carry out an innovation project funded by The Ministry of Education’s “Teacher Led Innovation Fund”. Our first project was with Katikati Primary school and involved supporting a school community as they developed new practices to support the development of growth mindsets. This work was so successful it has now been scaled up to involve a cluster of schools across the Western Bay of Plenty.

All our work to support teacher-led innovation is bespoke and we bring in expertise from different areas as required.


Our founder Chris Clay is an accomplished public speaker who has spoken at a number of international conferences. As well as giving keynote talks at educational conferences, Chris has also presented at business conferences, a Singularity U Summit and TEDx Christchurch.

Chris speaks on a broad range of topics which include:

  • Educational innovation

  • STEM education

  • The future of education

  • Future studies in education

  • Thriving in the face of exponential change

  • Creating knowledge building communities to support innovation

Chris’ TEDx talk can be viewed below: