Innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic growth and are critical to delivering a prosperous society. Innovation-driven businesses typically grow quicker, employ more skilled staff and engage faster with international markets.
Auckland is already the innovation hub of New Zealand and home to the majority of the country’s entrepreneurial community. Yet, while great strides have been made over the past ten years, the city continues to face a number of challenges. Business investment in research and development is low by OECD standards – the equivalent of just 0.5% of GDP. And, as ATEED notes, Auckland’s strong entrepreneurial culture is hindered by a deficit of skills, capability constraints, and a lack of true collaboration.
In the second Ballot Box 2016 event, a panel of experts will examine what can be done to overcome these shortfalls. In particular, they will discuss how we can address the city's current talent void, and harness innovation to support Auckland's growth and help New Zealand to develop a high-wage, high-skills knowledge economy.
· Dr Mary Quin: Inaugural CEO of Callaghan Innovation – the crown agency established to accelerate the growth, scale, intensity, and success of innovation in New Zealand. She has over 30 years of international experience as an executive and director. In 2014, Dr Quin was named as one of the New Zealand Herald’s New Zealanders of the Year.
· Greg Cross: An experienced serial entrepreneur and technology nomad with a track record in building tech companies all over the world. Through his own venture development business, Cross Ventures, Greg has built companies including PowerbyProxi, the world’s leading wireless power company.
· Nick Shewring: Co-founder and Chief Entrepreneur at BizDojo, the co-working and collaboration network. A spatial design enthusiast and rebellious innovator.
· Wendy Kerr (Facilitator): An experienced general manager with global experience in technology and media start-ups. Wendy is the Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland Business School.
About The Ballot Box 2016
Auckland is undergoing a period of rapid transformation. And with the city projected to add a staggering 1 million people to its population by 2040, the pace of change is set to continue. Auckland is one of a handful of cities in the world that generate more than a third of their country's GDP. The well-being of Auckland and the rest of New Zealand are therefore inextricably linked.
The 2016 Local Elections offer an opportune time to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing Auckland and provide a forum to discuss the key issues which will shape its future.
Bringing together preeminent thinkers, the Ballot Box 2016 series will inform debate and challenge thinking. The Business School developed the public series, not to revisit the existing narrative around familiar issues, but to look beyond the three-year election cycle and encourage an informed conversation around some of the major challenges that lie ahead for New Zealand’s largest city. The series will consist of three separate events, each looking at an issue of critical importance to Auckland.