Visionweek NZ 2020 – day one

Opportunity NZ

Today #visionweekNZ kicked off with interviews from 14 fantastic New Zealanders, sharing their ideas for the future of New Zealand.  The uplifting set of speakers spoke about the opportunity presented during and beyond the crisis and the unique position that New Zealand has to capitalise on these opportunities.  Below we summarise some of the points that stood out to us (with our trademark resilience spin added, of course).

Opportunity taking – The success of our health response, not least due to our ability to come together around a common cause, puts us in a strong position globally to be a leader and to pull investment toward us.  Rob Campbell asks, can we be a leader of a team of 5 billion?  We need to focus on strategies that leverage our strengths – renewable energies, food production, science and technology and our clean green image.  We also need to take the opportunity to address some of the underlying challenges and crises that we face as a nation – inequality, climate change, poverty; and support underlying societal needs of education, health, water, environment and research and development.

Forward looking – We need to embrace that we are recovering toward a new normal: a ‘reset’.  Stephen Tindall observes that COVID has allowed us to race forward into a digital age and we are seeing that working on line is very efficient with potential benefits to the environment, business productivity, and well being.  We need to learn these types of lessons and draw them into the future so we can meet visions like that of Peter Beck’s ‘prosperous, high productivity, high-wage, smart economy’.  Conversely we need to critically evaluate what of our past is no longer valuable.  In Shamubel Eaqub’s words we may need to let some ‘zombie businesses’ fail as we reimagine what our economy should look like.  While of course supporting those who need help with those impacts.

Values driven – NZ is typically good at being in the moment (think number eight wire mentality), and weaker at taking a long term approach.  At the same time, we have a window of opportunity while we are working as a team of 5 million, under effective leadership to come together and define our values and bake them into our recovery.  We need to balance the urgent need to keep people employed, while taking the time to get the investment decision right.  We want to ensure current and future generations are better off – not just financially but in terms of wellbeing.

Adapatability – The uncertainty ahead is clear and we need to be adaptable in our approach.  The government’s decision not to allocate a significant portion of the recovery stimulus is an example of this.  It is  recognition that we will need to respond and adapt as the global extent of the situation arises.

Kirsti Luke put it best, as she described how the future always has to involve stretch and improvement.  It is the essence of species evolution.  Without that we will die.

Learning – As part of vision week you can send in short videos sharing your vision for NZ.  One community idea that stood out to us was to create a “Learning society” that embraces and values holistic, whole of life learning.  We love this idea.  A learning culture builds an openness to new ideas, change, and diversity.

People – Kindness and community were mentioned today but much of the focus was on economic and governance response to COVID.  We’d love to see some more discussion in the coming days on the vision from a community perspective – not necessarily as receptors of economic activity and investment but as partners and collaborators.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s discussion…what’s your vision? #visionweekNZ

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