If you ask the average local person in Asia what they know about New Zealand, it’s very likely that the answer will include tourism, education, dairy, beef and lamb, high quality food products and other primary exports. It is highly unlikely that technology innovation or digital products would be mentioned, even though we have thousands of world class tech companies in this country.
Last week, I enjoyed a brisk South Island day in Christchurch catching up with the local Canterbury Tech team about Techweek and the upcoming Canterbury Tech Summit. The summit has a stellar line up of local and international speakers delving into strategy and leadership, AI, Bitcoin and tech exports. It’s definitely worth the trip but get in quick for the final few tickets.
Earlier this year NZTech’s Techweek team did an amazing job creating a platform bringing together 287 independent tech and innovation events across 24 towns and cities, reaching tens of thousands of people. Techweek is used to inspire the next generation into being innovative with technology, build tech capability of our SME’s, develop capability of our next world leading tech firms and showcase our best innovations to the world.
It was a great feeling to head out of town last week and recharge the batteries in Queenstown. Nothing like some fresh snow and a GoPro.
Technology has connected nations, dissolved borders, encouraged empathy across great divides, and yet, the technology industry itself is still sorely lacking in diversity. Our industry is built on data. Yet the data of diversity tells a sad story.
In recent months, I have become very conscious of the gendered language I use, in particular, ‘hey guys’ or ‘thanks guys, great meeting’. My six year old daughter constantly mirrors this language and every time I hear her say ‘hey guys’ it gives me that fingernails down the blackboard feeling! The word ‘guys’ can make women feel left out, yet most of us are conditioned to default to this kind of language. On a daily basis, often without even realising, we are using gendered language and as a result, inherent gender bias.
Not surprisingly, I received plenty of feedback from last week’s ‘rant‘. It has helped create a robust national discussion on whether or not there is a skills shortage and thankfully more responses to the Digital Skills Survey. We now have 72 responses from companies, however we need at least another 100 to be able to help influence policy decisions on digital education, immigration and investment in skills development. So, if your firm hasn’t responded please take 20 minutes this week to provide your valuable input here.
I don’t want to start your week with a gripe, but I am incredibly frustrated and I feel like sharing it with someone! I keep hearing from tech firms in New Zealand that there is a real shortage of talent, that they have so many open roles and struggle to fill them. I keep hearing that someone needs to fix this. However, I am beginning to get the feeling that the issue might not be as big as everyone is making out…
Kia Ora Readers
After joining the NZTech board last year, a big focus of mine has been working closer within the New Zealand tech startup space to identify and support the gaps however I can.