Of all the many interesting insights from David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson’s new book No. 8 Recharged, there was one that stood out to me: a lot of New Zealand’s early immigrants happened to be second sons. First sons had the benefit of succession, whereas those who weren’t so fortunate had to forge their own paths. The Māori explorers who travelled to New Zealand across vast oceans and transported their ideas to their new home also exhibited that pioneering, innovative mindset. These founding mythologies seem to gel well with our romantic notion of national identity. We like to think of ourselves as risk-takers, industrious tinkerers and good ol’ Kiwi battlers. And, in many ways, that’s true. I often talk about our strange combination of pride and self-doubt. This strange brew means we’ve always been a fairly welcoming place, but we often seem to require foreign endorsement (this is clearly evidenced in the common question to tourists: ‘are you enjoying your stay? Do you like it here? I really hope you’re enjoying your stay. Please tell me you like it here’). But as the world has changed, so has New Zealand. That inferiority complex feels like it’s dissipating and we now seem to have much more confidence in our country, our culture, our achievements and our businesses. And while we’re still reasonably humble and often seem to struggle to sell the amazing things we're making, the world appears to be paying more attention to us.
We write about innovation constantly at Idealog, but we also want to do innovative things. And we’re particularly proud of this issue, which includes a few new sections and an interesting experiment we've conducted with the support of Chorus and the expertise of One Fat Sheep. Together, we’ve created an augmented reality experience on the cover and, while enjoyable on its own, it also serves as an interactive contents page and a way to link the stories in print with our digital channels. So download the Idealog AR app, scan the cover, have a hoon and see what’s inside the Innovation Issue.
Another new initiative, Idealog and Accenture’s Most Creative People, is an amazing and inspiring collection of New Zealanders who are pushing the boundaries of business and showing the transformative power of creativity. And we had a hell of a lot of fun putting it together.
As per usual, the winners of the New Zealand Innovation Awards give me hope that everything will be just fine; our new Idealog Urban section focuses on some of the best thinking – and execution – in urban design and development and gives me hope that our cities will get much better; and Liam Malone, who is on a mission to change the world of prosthetics and is embracing technology and mindfulness to get there is a prime example of the kind of confidence New Zealanders now exude and gives me hope that there are plenty more big thinkers and high-achievers where he came from.
Our belief is that if companies (and countries) hope to keep growing and/or solve their numerous problems, the big ideas are unlikely to come from bean counters trying to cut costs. They’ll come from those who think differently, break rules and create change – much like the people on the following pages.
We feel we have an important role to play when it comes to inspiration; to keep telling the positive stories of those who have started something, in the hope they might inspire others to start their own somethings. But we also see a role for education. Running a business is tough. Many will fail and those that succeed will face an array of growing pains. Increasingly, we’ve been focusing on these realities, from dealing with failure to finding finance to looking after mental health. And we’ve made mental health something of a subtheme in this issue and aimed to provide some helpfulp – and occasionallyy humorous – advice.
Everyone needs to find their own equilibrium. Hopefully we’ve found ours with this issue.