If you emailed me recently, I apologise if I haven’t replied. My only excuse is that I turned off my phone and had a couple of weeks away, returning to a few hundred messages. Despite living in technology filled world, there is nothing quite like a digital holiday to cleanse the mind. While a full inbox could appear stressful, I am working with the theory that if it is important you will write to me again!
I thought you may like a quick update on significant NZTech event projects that are currently in development:
Mark your diary for 19-20 February for Digital Nations 2030. This Summit brings together leading digital governments and international thought leaders alongside local leaders to develop a digital vision. The Summit will be an excellent opportunity to learn which strategies are working overseas and how they can be adapted for our local economy. On day two, separate forums provide a deep dive into Future Education and Workforce, Future Health, Future Society, Future Productive Sectors and Future Finance.
With business as usual, I have been able to return some of my energy to the new Digital Technologies curricula due to be launched in 2018. This change, if well implemented, provides New Zealand’s education system with an opportunity to evolve.
On Saturday evening I was in Tauranga at an election party watching, no doubt like you, to learn what the next three years may hold. Last week Sarah Putt did an excellent job of reviewing the various parties tech policies against the industry’s tech manifesto. While there weren’t huge differences, National’s last minute announcement, to consider the creation of a national CTO role showed how worthwhile the constant engagement with any Government is. Hopefully Winston Peters will not take as long as previously to decide the future of the country. Either way we are in for some change.
Last week in Taipei, I listened to Alan Marcus, Head of Technology at the World Economic Forum as he provided an update on the Network Readiness Index as an important measure of digital readiness. According to their rankings, in 2016 New Zealand rated 17th in the world, quite good, but well behind digital leaders such as Singapore, USA, UK and Scandinavian countries. Measuring a range of economic, social and technology factors, the index is serving as a good proxy for what is important for a digital nation. I looking forward to the 2017 update due soon as he alluded to some changes and I hope New Zealand is moving the right direction on the list.
Last week I reported in from the ski field and this week I’m reporting from Taipei. I am at the Board meeting for the World Information Technology and Services Alliance followed by the World Congress on Information Technology where I’m flying the flag for New Zealand as a leading digital nation.
This is a little something I prepared earlier! Today as you read this, I should be enjoying the snow on the Remarkables. Last week, having visited local councils and tech ecosystems in Dunedin and Queenstown to excite them about Techweek, I scheduled a long weekend with my family.
This morning I had coffee with Colin MacDonald the GCIO and CEO of the Department of Internal Affairs. We met to discuss the role of the GCIO office in Government and ways to continue to improve the interaction between Government agencies and tech firms that help the Government acquire technology to deliver better public services. As Chair of the OECD Public Governance Working Party, Colin is a strong advocate for digital transformation across government alongside improved citizen experience. Check out a recent presentation he made to the OECD on the topic. Colin is currently working on new ways for Government to accelerate its digital transformation and I look forward to being able to debate them publicly soon.
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.