A coming of age
Ifirst had an inkling I might end up forging a career in magazines when I took an internship with Idealog in 2014. I was in my last year of university and after being shipped out to regional newspapers and covering many a dull council stoush, Idealog felt like a breath of fresh air. I was out talking to entrepreneurs and creatives and being inspired by progressive ideas that might change New Zealand, and even the world. Four years have passed and despite countless doom-and-gloom predictions, Idealog’s outlook remains the same. We’ve continued to explore the intersection between culture and business and champion the country ’s game-changers, and we’re optimistic about where all this might lead us. And this leads us to the theme of the Design Issue: identity.
Who are we as a people in 2018? What do we stand for, and what role does design play in this ever-evolving notion of ourselves? We reckon that if New Zealand was a person, it would be someone in their mid-20s, finally finding its authentic self and on the brink of change after a period of ‘experimentation, heavy drinking and regret’.
The similarities aren’t lost on me as I come full circle and step into the editor’s position at age 24, having shaken off the last remnants of my adolescence (and having conducted some in-depth research on my own alcohol tolerance).
It’s an exciting time to be a New Zealander as the country – and, specifically, the country ’s business community – starts to come of age. A 20-year New Zealand Attitudes and Values survey tracking how our national mindset is changing has found Kiwis are becoming less racist, less sexist, more serious about environmental issues and more eager to show our multicultural identity. In the current global climate, that’s an impressive combination.
While we didn’t get rid of the flag, our colonial ties are much looser now and we are looking at how to best express who we are and celebrate our unique identifiers, such as our Māoridom, which we’ve explored in-depth in More Than a Koru. Our new government has said it wants to measure success beyond just economics and is going to judge the social and environmental impact of different policies, too. After all, a society isn’t born. It’s made. We’ve made a pretty good one, judging by many of the international rankings. But things can always be improved, so we look at how New Zealand can design even better policy ideas in Who Are We?
Amidst this interesting cultural backdrop are the companies that aren’t just looking to make money – they ’re wanting to (and, in some cases, being forced to) play a role in society and do their bit to tackle the big, hairy issues facing citizens today, such as poverty or climate change.
We wanted to find out what design’s role is in solving some of these problems – and in helping to define our identity. According to Airbnb’s Jenny Arden, a designer’s superpower is their storytelling skills and their ability to rally together a group of people.
Now that New Zealand seems to have shaken off its inferiority complex, perhaps the role of design is to help us tell our story loudly and proudly, flaws and all.
That is something we have strived to do with the stories on the following pages. The design and business luminaries featured in this issue are all (mostly) positive in their outlook, too. And, as Simplicity ’s Sam Stubbs puts it, Idealog’s very existence is testament to that confidence: “Witness this magazine, dedicated to innovation, progress and optimism. It would have been unthinkable 20 years ago.”
We hope it leaves you feeling optimistic about the future, too.