Fresh from a visit to IBM’s ‘World of Watson’ event in Las Vegas, the recently appointed deputy chair of the New Zealand Technology Industry Association (NZTech), Rachel Kelly, has called for New Zealand to accelerate its adoption of advanced technologies, or wave goodbye to the “the great Kiwi Lifestyle.”
Kelly - a director of director of business consultancy SparkTank - said: “For such a relatively small and nimble country, I believe New Zealand is underperforming in the adoption of specific types of modern technologies. Part of this stems from our cultural aversion to risk but if we aren’t open to fail, we will not grow.”
She said she saw “some advances in technology that are driving other countries to succeed and putting New Zealand at risk of being left behind,” but gave no indication as to what specifically she had seen or heard at World of Watson that had led to her conclusions.
She added: “We need to cultivate the idea that professional collaboration and the use of smarter tools enhances the Kiwi lifestyle that we all know and love. If New Zealand fails to realise this, there is no way we can compete with markets that work much longer hours than we do with subsequent sacrifices to the family unit.”
She said she wanted to see the Waikato region lead the way in applying large-scale smart city technologies. “This region offers one of the best lifestyles in the country – to retain that and grow on a worldwide stage, we need to work smarter than any other city.”
She added that achievement of these goals would require a shakeup at the top echelons of New Zealand companies. “We also need a different kind of leader to step up, using the latest technologies as tools to forge stronger paths for their companies.”
Kelly said she also had a role advising “a dedicated group of technology advisor specialists funded by both Government and private organisations where advisors in each major city work with the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and NZ Trade and Enterprises (NZTE) to offer a more aggressive tech exposure and execution strategy for New Zealand.”