Idealog - - FRONT PAGE - Elly Strang Ed­i­tor

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.

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