The CEO of New Zealand Government high-tech support agency Callaghan Innovation, Vic Crone says around half of New Zealand jobs will disappear in the next decade and unless these are replaced with high tech jobs, New Zealand’s economy will become “irrelevant”.
Her warnings have been published in the first of what Callaghan Innovation says will be regular annual reports on New Zealand business innovation to “accelerate conversation in New Zealand about innovation and investment in R&D” and “challenge New Zealand businesses to ride the technology wave.”
“Like every other country in the world, New Zealand faces a tsunami of technological change,” the report says. “How we successfully ride that wave is up to our business and industry sectors.”
Crone says technology rather than doubling or tripling the contribution of dairy or tourism to the economy is not the answer to New Zealand’s problems, given their respective demands on land, water and infrastructure, and their poor productivity returns.
“Tech is New Zealand’s third-biggest export sector, bringing in more than $16 billion a year in overall revenue,” she says, “What this sector needs to expand is more brains, more ideas and more capital to bring those ideas to market.”
Crone says it is not too late for New Zealand companies to ride the technology wave, provided they act bravely. “Let’s be bold, disrupt the disruptors by being future-focused, and embrace the opportunities this new era will bring to our country.”
Callaghan says the unifying theme of its first inCite, titled Into the Unknown, is ‘working in the niches’ - encouraging New Zealanders to disrupt the status quo by finding innovation opportunities in overlooked or underdeveloped areas of business.”
The publication draws on studies of science and innovation, New Zealand and international data, and Callaghan Innovation’s own insights about the impact of business spending on R&D.
It also includes case studies of up-and-coming (and often award-winning) tech businesses to demonstrate what success can look like. These include StretchSense, 8i, Goodnature, Production Machinery Limited and Wakatū Incorporation.
inCite also includes editorials from Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini professor Shaun Hendy and Animation Research Ltd’s Ian Taylor.