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Digital Nations 2030: five key points

Posted: 10 April 2018
What can New Zealand do to be prepared for the most disruptive years in history? We've gathered some key points from the Digital Nations gathering in New Zealand earlier this year.

At the Digital Nations 2030 summit in February, over 550 business leaders, policy makers and technology experts from 18 different countries heard that the next five years may be the most disruptive ever. Attendees were tasked with preparing every level of society for this technology-driven change.


1. NZ is a digital leader but we have a big job ahead

New Zealand is currently a leader in the Digital Evolution Index, ranking as a stand out country for digital success and noted as exceptional even within the ‘stand out’ group, alongside the UAE and Singapore.

However, as Frances Valintine put it, the next five years will see colossal change. As a nation, we must pick up the pace and adapt accordingly.


2. Don’t freak out - we're not facing the end of jobs for humans

There was resounding agreement that technology disruption is not going to destroy the job market. Instead, we will see different skills in demand, some jobs eliminated or transformed, and new jobs created.

This means though that we need a radical and swift change in our approach to education and upskilling. A recent Digital Skills Forum report said New Zealand should be hearing alarm bells because the country is seeing more tech jobs being created than the combined number of tech students graduating and tech visas granted.


3. Be curious and play with new technology

Things like personal 3D printers, robotic vacuum cleaners and the sharing economy will transform our lifestyles and the way we work. Leaders in business and government need to embrace technology and new innovations in their work and private lives.

Our Chief Executive, Vic Crone, urged that along with healthy pragmatism, leaders must have a curious attitude, trialling and getting comfortable with these innovations. It creates a deeper understanding of how to apply them to business products and services, industry value chains, or in government services.

Vic Crone at Digital Nations


4. NZ’s new Chief Technology Officer position will be crucial

There was concrete support for a new national Chief Technology Officer role which would provide visionary leadership and direction to help prepare us for the changes ahead.

Our General Manager of Strategy, Impact and Insights, Rosalie Nelson, suggested an important part of the role will be fostering a culture of innovation. This includes helping us recognise that we need to take risks to be successful, and although this may lead to failure sometimes, we can continually speed up the subsequent learning and recovery.


5. There is a wealth of opportunity for our productive sectors

Vic Crone noted that the convergence of technologies we’re seeing poses significant threats and opportunities for our key productive sectors. Data and AI-driven smart crop forecasting, automated manufacturing bots and smart machine learning cameras; and consumer-driven collection models, are examples of how these opportunities are being seized. Her key message was that we all need to prepare for this disruption in order to thrive.


About Callaghan Innovation

Callaghan Innovation is New Zealand’s innovation agency, activating innovation and helping organisations grow faster for a better New Zealand.

We play a lead role in the country’s innovation ecosystem, connecting businesses to the networks, capability and co-funding they need to make their ideas happen and thrive. Our 400 or so staff include more than 200 of New Zealand’s leading scientists and engineers, dedicated to solving tough technical problems for our customers.

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