Can we, and how do we ‘supe up’ our innovation ecosystem? – (The NZ Institute)

Can New Zealand develop a high performing innovation ecosystem that grows many more high value international businesses?

That’s one of 10 key issues that The New Zealand Institute’s spotlighted in its report about requirements for the country’s long term success.

Director Rick Boven says the challenge is to develop strategies and policies that guide and support the question that’s been put.

Naturally, this can’t be carried out in isolation from ‘us’, and there’s another nine issues in the report that sit alongside, and would need to concurrently occur to drive such a high performing innovation ecosystem.

Boven’s essentially talking about how do we produce a ‘suped up engine’ to drive economic prosperity.

Leaving those other nine issues (but being clear none can happen in isolation from the others), the institute makes some telling observations about innovation as it stands in the kiwi context. We have a huge chasm to leap.

Innovation drives economic prosperity in advanced economies, and the most prosperous small advanced economies export high value differentiated goods and services Boven says.

We have some strong points; adequate tertiary participation, sound universities, quality scientific institutions and inventiveness. There’s also a growing export sector based on technology and innovation.

But, and these are big buts, our innovation ecosystem is not performing as well as other nations’.
• Business R&D is one-third of the OECD average
• There are shortages of talent, capital, knowledge and connections for internationalizing business
• Week, but developing governance of innovation
• Small size and distance makes internationalization more difficult, but NZ provides less support than competing countries

Boven makes the point that we have many opportunities to grow high value exports, but also important obstacles.

Part of the institute’s role is to create debate based on factual information, rather than fluffy talk.

He’d love to hear some good ideas. Elizabeth Connor made a comment yesterday that the use of social media is one way to debate these issues.


About sticknz

sticK is by Peter Kerr, a writer for hire. I have a broad science and technology background and interest, with an original degree in agricultural science. My writing speciality is making the complex understandable. I am available for outside consultancy work, and for general discussions of converting a good idea into something positive
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3 Responses to Can we, and how do we ‘supe up’ our innovation ecosystem? – (The NZ Institute)

  1. Pingback: » Can we, and how do we ‘supe up’ our innovation ecosystem?

  2. G2 says:

    While Mr. Boven appears to have good credentials in this area, they are somewhat undermined by a massive failure he has direct responsibility for- Wellington Drive Technologies (WDT), whose board he chairs.
    Mr Boven bemoans the lack of “availability of capital for international expansion” for companies requiring over $ 2 million to achieve that expansion. My tendency is to agree with him wholeheartedly – but examining WDT makes one re-evaluate that.
    WDT has a great product – energy efficient motors that may be retrofitted into existing appliances (commercial refrigerators being a principal application), resulting in massive increase in energy efficiency and a 6 month payback time for the retrofit. Truly this is technology whose time has come you would think, and you’d be right! WDT moved manufacture offshore where it was cheaper, uses “industry standard” components, and has targeted market leaders like Coke distributors. They now dominate their markets, and have been in the “Tin 100” for years, showing stellar growth in turnover as they rocket to “world domination” in the niche they have created fro themselves.
    But can they turn a profit? No. After 27 years working towards their current position, their business model has not enabled them to sell these wonderful motors for more than it costs them to build them. A rather fundamental error which the management team appears to have not the slightest clue how to rectify. So their business expands on the money “donated” by shareholders, and WDT digs their hole deeper and deeper.
    They have eaten not $ 2 million, not $ 10 million, but by the end of this fiscal year they will have burned $ 80 million of investors finds, most of that from “mum & dad” kiwis who were told just months ago there would be no further cash issues – and since then, WDT has announced two of them. WDT has made call after call after call on shareholders, who have been repeatedly misled by promises of profitability just-out-of-reach, for a decade now.
    WDTs will be a great business one day – once a multi-national who actually knows how to run a business buys it cheap either on market for a penny a share (nearly there now – their shares have lost 80% of their value in 5 months), or at a fire-sale, once the receivers are called in.
    Nobody could accuse WDT shareholders of failing to support the company with fresh capital year after year after year. It is the CEO Ross Green and the Chair Rick Boven who have failed to deliver on their commitments. And with Mr. Bovens reputation, one would think that if anyone could stop the rot, it would have been he….
    Mr. Bovens quest for establishing tax-based incentives that protect the to encourage investment seem sensible – but when his own company, who by definition has access to the necessary skills and connections, fails so dismally, its hard to take his advice seriously……

  3. Pingback: Quick high-tech sector review a precursor to R&D changes? | sticK – science, technology, innovation & commercialisation KNOWLEDGE

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