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NZTech Update – Digital inclusion for a digital economy

The first half of Minister Curran’s Digital Economy and Inclusion Advisory Group was announced on Friday.  From 318 applicants, for the 15 seat advisory board, the Minister has selected a stellar line up so far, with Frances Valintine as Chair, and Potaua Biasiny-Tule, Jordan Carter, Kaila Colbin, Brenda Leeuwenberg, Rohan MacMahon, Victoria MacLennan, and Chris O’Connell making the first eight.  If the remaining seven are in a similar league we can be confident the Minister will be receiving excellent advice.  Hopefully, the group will be able to provide clear direction for the paused appointment of a CTO.  This role remains critical, responsible for transitioning advice into an actionable national digital strategy.  The breadth of this challenge cannot be exaggerated, as the digital economy is a discussion about our future economy!  As our primary export industries begin to discuss the threats of substitute proteins and other technologies, the AI Forum has been assessing the impact of AI on society and the economy.

Rod Oram’s analysis of a recent study by Beef + Lamb NZ concerning the potential impact of substitute proteins is well worth a read.  While they are thinking about the future, like Rod, I also feel there is a lack of appreciation for the speed the changes are occurring.

On a positive note, the workshop last week with tech and industry leaders from across New Zealand to help the National Science Challenge – Science for Technological Innovation stream was a success.  Aligning New Zealand’s investment in deep, long term science, with some of these future challenges is a great way to keep us at the forefront of innovation.

Tomorrow, I will be in Wellington at the debrief for the Digital Nation 2030 Summit.  With 550 attendees, plus 648 live streaming, 819 live poll responses and thousands of tweets we have decided to collate the discussion themes into a major report.  Once published, this should provide an excellent resource for the Advisory Board and the new CTO as they design a digital strategy.

Ngā mihi
Graeme Muller

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Save the date for FinTechNZ’s next InsurTech meetup on 5 April in Auckland.  Meanwhile, brokers need to innovate and take risks says FinTechNZ’s James Brown.

Save the date for the 2018 Canterbury Tech Summit on 12 September.  Missed TechWomen’s When Diversity Counts event?  Kat Kolich shares the highlights here.

Connect with experts at Payments NZ’s The Point 2018 in Auckland, 26-27 June.  Early bird registrations close 30 March.


Learn about Advanced Materials for floating concrete, windows that generate electricity and unbreakable ceramics.  Check out Callagahan’s guide to Advanced Materials.

Duke University and Business.Govt.NZ are consulting to better understand small business access to finance.  In Auckland this week, they would like to meet business owners.  Please contact Yuri to schedule a meeting.

Would you like to showcase your brand or product? A limited number of exhibition space is available at Techweek’18 headline events;  10 Billion Mouths, The Fourth Revolution or Creative Realities.


Don’t forget to register for #AIDay18 on 28 March in Auckland.  The following day, take a deep dive into tech platforms and methodology using AI.  Check out all the workshops here.

The Edmund Hillary Fellowship is now accepting cohort 3 applications until 20 April.  EHF’s Yoseph Ayele says Blockchain is the next Internet, read about its opportunities for New Zealand.

Register for 2018 Hi-Tech Awards entrant events in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington on 28 March.  Save these dates; Alumni event 24 May and the Gala Dinner 25 May.

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