NEWS & ARTICLES
It’s no secret, I enjoy being busy! This morning I am in Wellington catching up with MBIE and then Minister Wood. I am looking forward to chatting about the CTO role, amongst other things. Then, I have the privilege of presenting to the Future of Work Tripartite Forum who already have a significant work programme. I am sharing insights into the impact of exponential technology change, digital skills shortages and the AI Forum’s research on automation’s impact on jobs.
Tuesday starts with Digital Identity New Zealand’s establishment board meeting as this new entity gears up to launch. This new tech association brings together experts in digital identity, multiple government agencies, tech firms and academics to help fast track safe and effective approaches to digital identity for all New Zealanders. Earlier this year, at the Digital Nations Summit the number one call for action across all workstreams was the need for digital identity.
Last week, I had an interesting experience that drove home to me the need to consider more than just computers and the ability to teach digital technology.
Last week at the launch of the 14th edition of the TIN100 report, which analyses the largest New Zealand hi-tech exporting companies, it was great to catch up with everyone and hear about so many fast growing tech firms.
The team at TIN have been doing a wonderful job of surveying tech firms over the past decade, allowing us to follow the progress of the sector and a bunch of very talented people. Highlights included revenue growth of the top 200 firms by 11%, employee numbers up by 4.7%, profitability rose by 38%, and international revenues (or as TIN like to call them, exports) were up by 12.4%. Read more in the free Snapshot report.
I am looking forward to joining the TIN100 team on Wednesday in Auckland to hear how the top 200 tech exporters have progressed during the past 12 months. It’s fantastic to see the TIN100 team also in Wellington and then in Christchurch to share the great news.
According to a preview, New Zealand’s top 200 tech companies have achieved 38 percent profitability growth in the last year alone, which is the fastest rise since the report first started tracking movement in 2005. Additionally, the stock prices for the largest ten listed TIN100 companies by market capitalisation have risen 57.3 percent in the past year. I can’t wait to find out more!
Last week, at the NZTech Cyber Security Summit I hosted a leader’s workshop on how to enable better information sharing so that we can all learn from the experiences of those that have been attacked. There are all sorts of reputational risks for firms to disclose they have been hacked, but the value from sharing this information is enormous. The answer seems to be encouraging more organisations to share with CERT, the relatively new Government agency that aggregates this information. In a recent global analysis, the average cost of a data breach was $3.8 million. As more firms share data with CERT in New Zealand, the real costs of poor security practices will become more apparent. I believe that ensuring all firms are cyber secure is nationally important, so cybersecurity remains an area that NZTech continues to work closely with the Government and our membership.
I hope you enjoy the short week.
Strengthen connections in digital health at the HiNZ Conference, 21-23 November in Wellington. Join the AI Forum at the 31st Australasian Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence 11-14 December in Wellington.
Last week was particularly busy. It began with the Board meeting for the relaunched Blockchain Association and finished with Blockworks, which is the best blockchain event I have ever attended.
During the week I also attended the Board meeting for BIOTechNZ and later listened to Minister Parker share his extensive biotech experience and hopes for biotech in New Zealand. As a country we are on the cusp of a biotech production surge.
The week also included a meeting with major participants in the FoodTech space as some of the major food producers, food innovation networks, universities and local/central governments came together to start building a strong, national ecosystem.
Momentum is also building in Wellington with GovTech. I met with a burgeoning group who are creating an inclusive, neutral group for GovTech, however there are still more critical stakeholders needed around the table. By working together with a Government that has proven its desire to be agile and do things differently we can collaborate to improve the way technology is procured and help agencies design innovative new services for citizens. Ideally, we can also sell some of these offerings into the rapidly growing $600 billion GovTech market.
With initiatives like the Lightning Lab GovTech Accelerator, the new Government Marketplace and service innovation labs it is clear there is desire to do something better throughout the New Zealand Government and tech sector. However, occasionally we still see procurement processes or RFP’s that resemble times of old. IT Professionals, NZRise and NZTech continue to work in close partnership with DIA’s GCDO team and the MBIE procurement team to improve the efficiencies and fairness of the system. Please remember, we can only address what we are told about, so if you come across something that isn’t working well, make sure you let us know.
This week’s highlight will be the Cyber Security Summit in Wellington that we are hosting with our event partner Conferenz. The recent CERT report shows that cyber threats are continuing to grow, so the conference brings the experts together to share best practice. I hope to see you there.
Join the AI Forum’s Connect event on 30 October in Dunedin. Learn more about the AI Forum’s 2019 research project and how you can be involved, Towards Our Intelligent Future: New Zealand’s AI Roadmap.
Attend Leveraging Spatial Data for New Zealand Agriculture on 8 November in Hamilton. Attend the Geospatial Careers Symposium on 17 November in Auckland. Join SIBA for The Diversity Agenda on 24 October in Wellington.
CanterburyTech are currently recruiting for a General Manager. The Techweek team are also hiring! They are currently recruiting for a Community Coordinator, Festival Coordinator and a Project Administrator.
Last week I found myself passing through several regional towns as I headed to Taupo to present at a conference. Some like Matamata, Rotorua and Taupo were vibrant and busy with tourists. Others, like Tokoroa, are showing the signs of tougher times with peeling paint and shops shut along the main road. You have to visit regional New Zealand to really appreciate why the provincial growth fund is so important.
This weekend, I reviewed the preliminary results from the recent Internship Survey as part of the Digital Skills Forum work to address the ongoing skills challenges we all face. With 500 responses the survey provides a statistically significant sample size which will allow the Digital Skills Forum members (NZTech, IT Professionals, NZRise, MBIE, DIA, Ministry of Education and TEC) to use it to develop real solutions.
Last week’s update on the CTO role got a few people excited! I guess my frustration came through strong as I spent most of last Monday dealing with media, including a good chat on RadioNZ and NewstalkZB. As the week progressed, I had feedback from multiple people, including many who applied for the CTO role, offering support to get on with the development of a national strategy.
On Thursday, the NZTech Board strategy planning day looked forward for the next three to five years. We considered the future of NZTech and the potential role it can play in helping make New Zealand more prosperous. Discussion included the Chief Technology Advisor role and we formed the opinion that the Government is still a critical component. So while we do plan to push ahead and develop a national technology strategy, we will work hard to do this with Government.
Over the past few years, NZTech and the Government have been collaborating incredibly well. With MBIE’s support we have been able to grow Techweek to help inspire more people about the potential of technology and showcase our best technology to the world. The collaboration has extended to working with NZ Story and NZTE to develop the Upstarters campaign promoting New Zealand tech to the world. We have also collaborated with the Ministry of Education on digital technology in the school curricula, plus work with the Digital Skills Forum and the inclusion of digital as a core tenant of the trade agenda. It is our intention to build on this collaboration and help align our energies on this important subject.
After consideration, it seems like a good option for the Government to appoint a Chief Technology Advisor as a partner with the Chief Science Advisor. Place them together, with resourcing, allowing them to determine who does what in areas of crossover. NZTech could collaborate with this partnership to help provide breadth and depth of information.
If you reached out last week and I haven’t replied yet, please bear with me as I work through everyone’s messages. Thank you for your support and I look forward to our continued work to help make New Zealand more prosperous underpinned by technology.
PS: Next month, the Blockworks conference showcases practical applications of Blockchain technology. We have secured a $100 discount for NZTech members. Use this promo code: NZTECH-Guests.
FinTechNZ invites you to InsurTech’s Transforming Customer Engagement in the Digital Age on 4 October in Auckland. Request an invitation to the Blockchain South 2018 Leadership Summit and the Singapore FinTech Festival.
Last week, FinTechNZ’s James Brown commented on Amazon’s move into India’s insurance market and its likely ripple effect in New Zealand. Attend the New Zealand FinTech Summit on 29 November in Auckland.
With over 700 incidents in the last quarter, New Zealand is facing a growing number of cyber incidents as reported in CERT’s latest quarterly update. CERT’s Cyber Smart Week is 8-12 October. Check out their new resources and become an official partner.
Register your interest for Callaghan’s delegation to SaaStr’19 in San Jose. Applications for NASA internships and New Zealand Space Agency scholarships close 12 October. Entries for #TechRocketshipANZ close 23 November.
Why does something that should be so simple turn out to be so hard? Four years is a long time to wait for a New Zealand Government to establish a high level technology advisory role. A lot happens in the tech world in four years; New Zealand firms have sent rockets to space, developed autonomous vehicles and put faces to artificial intelligence. The pace of technology change presents enormous opportunities for New Zealand’s future, yet the Government lacks a trusted advisor to help them navigate the path.
During NZTech’s 2017 AGM panel discussion with MP’s, the idea of a CTO or tech advisor for the Government was first mooted by Rod Drury. NZTech’s then CEO, Candace Kinser, picked up the idea and developed it into a core pillar of NZTech’s 2014 Technology Policy Platforms. The recommendation was for, ‘the creation of a Chief Technology Advisor reporting directly to the Prime Minister to provide advice on the strategic use of technology across government and throughout society’. Unfortunately, no party backed the concept in 2014.
However, great ideas don’t just roll over and disappear. During the early months of 2017 NZTech, IT Professionals and InternetNZ brought together a collective of 20 leading technology groups to develop the Tech Manifesto for the 2017 election. The call was put out for a Ministry of the Future, a pseudo-agency bringing Government and the private sector together, led by a Chief Technology Advisor. The proposed focus, positioning New Zealand and all Government agencies and society to take the best advantage of a technologically enabled future.
Both parties eventually indicated support for some form of CTO role. Labour’s ICT manifesto stated that they ‘recognise the strategic importance of digitisation and will appoint a CTO to ensure that digital development is planned to achieve the best national outcomes’. It looked like things would rocket along as the Cabinet approved the role by early December 2017. The two aborted recruitment processes have been well blogged about by tech leaders who all have something to contribute to helping define New Zealand’s digital strategy. Check out the personal experiences of Vaughan Rowsell and Dan Khan.
Last week, the speculation was finally over when we found out what was happening with the New Zealand Chief Technology Officer role when Derek Handley shared an update on LinkedIn. Having been offered the role, signed the contract and relocated his family from the US, he arrived back in New Zealand to find out that the role had been canned. What a shocker! My sympathy goes out to Derek, who is the victim of an incredibly poor process.
Now, I don’t think we should wait for the Government anymore. Let’s just get on with it! In the past three years, NZTech has managed to bring together a national Tech Alliance and support 21 tech communities without any Government funding to do so. Now representing over 800 organisations throughout New Zealand, from tech firms, startups and high tech manufacturers to universities, Government agencies and large corporations like banks, insurance companies, agri-businesses and an airline. Across these 21 tech associations many are already starting work on national strategies. The AI Forum has over 100 people voluntarily helping drive working groups, including the development of a national AI strategy.
So guess what I am pitching at the NZTech strategy and planning day this Thursday? Let’s bring together the people who cared enough to apply to be New Zealand’s CTO. Let’s develop our own Ministry of the Future and collectively start developing a national digital/tech strategy for New Zealand.
Let me know what you think and are you up for it?
Callaghan are leading a Kiwi delegation to SaaStr Annual 2019 in San Jose. Register by 8 October. Applications for NASA internships and New Zealand Space Agency scholarships close 12 October. Early bird tickets are available for evokeAG , 19-20 February, 2019 in Melbourne.
- Agritech (8)
- AI Forum (29)
- Business Resources (3)
- Canterbury Tech (2)
- Careers in Technology (15)
- Cloud computing (2)
- EdTech (18)
- Events (25)
- FinTech (56)
- Industry News (118)
- Media Release (163)
- NZ IoT Alliance (17)
- NZTech News (158)
- NZTech Newsletter (102)
- ShadowTech (15)
- Skills & Talent (40)
- TechLeaders (3)
- Techweek (7)
- TechWomen (44)
- Uncategorized (1)
- Working with Government (17)