New Zealand has spent a decade looking for the fast track back to the top half of the OECD. So here are seven top ideas for where this country goes next and how our businesses might succeed on a global scale

My management study only extended to a few papers; it never amounted to a diploma, worse luck. But one thing I learnt was that management speak was a pile of... gobbledygook, sprinkled with a few diamonds.

One of my favourites was 'always hire people smarter than you'. It was the mantra of one CEO or another - I can't remember who - but the line stuck because it spoke of never resting on your laurels and suggested a practical humility.

There was a fair bit of management wisdom on display during Q+A's Innovation Special this past Sunday, so I thought it worthwhile jotting it down. We were discussing how we can grow smart businesses in this country, and the people who have done just that offered some great insights, both about business and about New Zealand.

1:  New Zealanders are great inventors, but pretty rubbish at marketing and selling an idea. The old number eight fencing wire mentality is alive and well, yet we lack the marketing smarts. Or as BioMatters CEO Candace Kinser put it, when she arrived from the US she was amazed at the number of great ideas generated, but equally amazed at how few of them came to fruition and were turned into multi-national companies. She put it down to a "false fear" around the borders of this country; in other words, we're too timid and think too small. Time to get out and get selling.

This is the start of my post at To continue reading, click here. But feel free to add comments and debate below.

Comments (8)

by stuart munro on July 14, 2011
stuart munro

It's a curious thing,the way New Zealand plummets down the OECD rankings, but it does seem to be happening consistently, the descent is firm trend, or as Shewart would have it, a stable system. Now the curious thing about statistically stable systems is that they prove to be remarkably resistant to exhortation. Telling people to change within the parameters of a stable system rarely achieves anything, besides providing a layer of deniability when external people come looking for an explanation for persistant failure.

We will know when New Zealand is taking its perennial economic problems seriously, because there will be a series of interventions designed to achieve ends like lowering unemployment, supporting new enterprises, and breaking the traditional and woefully inefficient monopolies. No sign of any of these things yet. I guess, as usual, we may surmise that New Zealand's leadership are the usual morally bankrupt self-serving parasitic rabble. And improved economic outcomes... won't be happening in New Zealand any time soon.

by Petone on July 15, 2011

"fast track back to the top half of the OECD"..

Do you mean by access to education or to health care, or quality of water in rivers, or reduced poverty or obesity?

by Tim Watkin on July 16, 2011
Tim Watkin

Petone, I - and they - are talking about GDP measures; ie growth. There's little to suggest we're going to improve those final three any time soon, but from memory we still do well in most education and health measures, don't we?

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