Category: Blog

The New Zealand Food Innovation Network (NZFIN) is an accessible, national network of science and technology resources created to support the growth and development of New Zealand food & beverage business of all sizes. At Socius we have been working with them to create concise and meaningful case studies for publication on their website. Here are a couple of examples.

The Apple Press NZ

The Apple Press – The Foodbowl Hawke’s Bay Goodness

The FoodBowl is always happy to assist local companies, but the best feeling of all is when the development done at The FoodBowl leads to a massive economic win for a region and for New Zealand. “The Apple Press” is a new Hawke’s Bay beverage brand that produces the world’s best apple juice and does it sustainably utilising the leftover “ugly fruit” that does not make export grade.

The Apple Press (previously operating under the company name Apollo Foods) has built a state-of-the-art beverage processing facility in Hawke’s Bay to enable development of apple based beverages for NZ & export markets. Before the plant was commissioned, they needed to show they had a great product, one worth investing in and so came to The FoodBowl in 2014 to refine and test their juice processes and formulations. They needed to justify the business case for the new facility and be ready to go as soon as the plant was ready.

Sally Gallagher, Head of Innovation & Strategy at The Apple Press, says “Our FoodBowl experience was very positive, the people there were so helpful; all expectations were met. Without The FoodBowl, we wouldn’t be here today with this product. How else could we have tested it?”

The Apple Press uses fruit not “pretty enough” for export. Sally says the concept was “let’s make our juice look and taste like an apple” (with no preservatives or additives).

Job creation is already considerable – three employees have become 40 in only 18 months. Sales turnover, although domestic only, has grown rapidly to >$500K since launch in April 2018. Export interest is high from a range of markets, and all going well there may even be a container on the water before Christmas.

A chilled juice shelf life is generally 40-60 days, but The Apple Press process can increase this substantially. Thanks to the perfecting of an aseptic filling technique, there is no contamination from pathogens. It means a shelf life of 9 months, chilled for the Apple Press juice range.

Food development is never without challenges: some variants were too acidic, others had colours that weren’t consumer-friendly enough. But there was shining success with Braeburn, Royal Gala and JazzTM – apples in a bottle. A run of 500 bottles at The FoodBowl has become 10,000 bottles an hour in Hawke’s Bay. (The plant capacity is circa. 50 million bottles per year). Finding the right investors who shared the same vision was also a challenge that took nearly a year to secure.

Operational investment has been big, with the capital investment circa. $20 million, supported by Callaghan Innovation from the project outset. New Zealand’s unwanted (but delicious) apples have become sought-after beverage SKUs in Foodstuffs and Progressive supermarkets.

This venture is poised to become a major export winner for New Zealand, and it all began at The FoodBowl.


Supreme Health – Foodbowl

Sometimes great discoveries are just out of reach without quite the right technology to realise their potential. That’s why Supreme Health’s CEO Kerry Paul turned to The FoodBowl, with its state-of-the-art freeze-drying facilities. Kerry founded Supreme Health in 2017. Already its products can be found throughout New Zealand and he is exporting into Asia. What he’s working on in The FoodBowl could be the Next Big Thing.

Supreme Health - Foodbowl

We know what antioxidants do; they take on the free radicals in our bodies that cause us health problems: accelerated ageing and a weakened immune system. It is a literal life crisis, albeit an invisible one, and to save us we need mighty molecules, the antioxidants. There is none mightier than the one at the front of the alphabet – Astaxanthin.

Astaxanthin can take on (absorb) 19 different free radicals at the same time, maintaining its own stability by redistributing its own electrons; it’s fat and water soluble (so it’s active throughout the body). It can cross the blood/brain and blood-retinal barriers. It can penetrate the cell membrane, protecting a cell’s interior structures.

Best of all, astaxanthin is ours. Kerry’s team harvest it from green algae in some of the purest water on earth – the South Island’s high-country lakes, rivers and streams. Astaxanthin has superpowers where other antioxidants merely have abilities. It is 6000 times stronger than Vitamin C, 3000 times stronger than Resveratol, more than 500 times more effective than Vitamin E or the catechins in green tea.

But, you have to extract the astaxanthin from the algae, and it must be rigorously tested. Supreme Health harvests the algae strain Haematococcus pluvialis and encourages it to produce red Astaxanthin (AstaNZ™) in a controlled environment.

Supreme Health has used The FoodBowl before with other product development. Kerry Paul says “The FoodBowl provides the ideal stepping stone to get you started at the right level. With anything larger in terms of a development facility, you run the risk of losing your IP and producing too much product in the early stages before your market has been tested. The great thing about The FoodBowl is that production and development aren’t at an industrial scale.”

With astaxanthin there are so many possible products to develop, and each one can be tried and tailor-made. “The FoodBowl people are helpful as well as knowledgeable, says Kerry. “It’s a great facility.”

The development of astaxanthin is six months in, and when the product goes to market in its final forms, it has the potential to become a significant export earner for New Zealand.


Pleasure to help out in the making of this video for the 2019 World Economic Forum.

Our Prime Minister was most obliging and a pleasure to deal with.

Check it out!

A prince, a president and a supermodel unite to call for bolder steps towards inclusion. Inclusive Voices brings together world leaders, celebrities and changemakers to share alternative opinions on what could and should be done to secure inclusion and equality for all by 2030. Hear their full stories.

Source: KPMG YouTube

Former television presenter Mary Lambie did it. Former rugby player Eric Rush still does. But how do you know if owning a franchise will work for you?

Mary Lambie was a Subway owner.

Mary Lambie was a Subway owner.

First up, how do you start?

There are hundreds of options available. Becoming a business owner can be as simple as shelling out the amount on the price tag. Some franchise systems require you to work in the business first, or to meet certain criteria.

A scan of listings reveals a wide range of business types and prices. There is a Fastways courier business for sale for $7500, an Asian food takeaway for $225,000, a “global sandwich franchise” that looks suspiciously like a Subway for $340,000 and a Facebook marketing franchise for $3500.

But how can you tell if you are investing in a booming business, or just buying yourself a poorly paid job?

There are no sure-fire winners

Westpac national franchise manager Daniel Cloete said, while you were more likely to be successful owning Albany Pak’n Save than a cleaning business for sale for a couple of thousand dollars, there were no guarantees.

He said, with any system, 5 per cent to 30 per cent of franchisees operated at the bottom end of the “success curve”. That could be because they were in the wrong location, the franchise model was not a good fit, or the owners struck problems.

Those were the ones that were often on the market as resales, he said. “You could have good ones in a franchise making millions and others barely breaking even.”

He said there were some franchise models on which the bank would not have lost money in the last 30 years and they tended to have some key things in common.

“There are 600-plus franchise systems in New Zealand. We regularly fund 150 of those and there are opportunities in 30 or so, in dollar terms.”

Philip Morrison, of Franchise Accountants, said how much people could expect to make from a franchise was “the million-dollar question”. “Although the answer is unlikely to be ‘a million dollars’. The real question is ‘how much money can I take out of the business without damaging it?’ A one-man-and-a-van franchise is likely to produce a different result from a large restaurant employing 50 staff.”

While financial success is likelier in a big brand, it comes at a price. McDonald’s requires individuals to have at least $1.2 million in “unencumbered funds”. It also has a franchise fee of $75,000 – plus the cost of the equipment in the business, if it’s new, or the value of an existing business.

What’s the product?

Lambie owned Subway outlets and Rush is in the supermarket trade.

Simon Lord, of, said for any business to succeed, it had to provide a product or service that people wanted, at a price they would pay and which delivered a profit to the owner after all the costs were paid.

“New Zealand has a small population and if a product only appeals to a niche market then it may not work here – even if it is successful overseas. But be aware that new niches are developing all the time: concepts such as Mexicali Fresh or Noodle Canteen would probably not have worked 15 years ago but changing demographics and new eating habits have made them viable now.”

Eric Rush has a New World franchise

Eric Rush has a New World franchise.

What is the franchisor offering?

Cloete said the best franchises had a franchisor (the business that owns the overall brand and franchise model) that was focused on the ongoing development of the brand, concept and business model. It needed to continue to invest in its systems to remain competitive.

“You can have ones that have been quite successful but over time become less competitive.”

Those that are focused on selling franchises to new franchisees, rather than ensuring the success of their existing ones, tend to strike trouble first.

Lord said most franchises had some form of ongoing support but the best ones “go beyond basic in-store consultations”.

“Good franchises have always had a policy of re-investing in their businesses through product research, systems upgrades, adoption of new technology and other forms of support and marketing,” he said.

“Similarly, they insist upon franchisees upgrading their own premises or systems on a regular basis. If they do this well, it pays off – franchises that reinvested during the economic downturn, for example, now find themselves in a very strong position with increased market share and improved relationships with both customers and franchisees.”

If you fancy owning a McDonalds, you'd better have some cash in the bank

If you fancy owning a McDonalds, you’d better have some cash in the bank.

What has been others’ experience?

The franchisor will probably give you lots of sales projections based on its business model and experience in other locations. This is not a guarantee of how the business will perform. If it’s an existing franchise, you can ask for a copy of the financial statements from the current owner.

If it is a new one, talk to other franchisees in the system about their experience, and find other small businesses in a similar position to yours. You need to get an accurate idea of costs.

Cloete said it was important not to get caught out on things such as rent. “If the system average is rent of 8 per cent to 12 per cent [of revenue] an you buy something at 23 per cent, that difference comes straight off your bottom line and makes it more difficult to profit.”

How much do you have to pay in future?

Franchisors will take a fee on an ongoing basis – it is common for a percentage of sales to be taken each year as a franchise fee, and to pay a marketing levy.”

“Ongoing fees, sometimes called royalties, management fees or licence fees, are separate to and additional to the upfront franchise fee you paid at the beginning. As the name suggests, they are payable on a regular basis – often weekly or monthly – throughout the term of the franchise agreement,” Morrison said.

“There is no ‘standard’ rate; fees vary according to the services which they pay for. Potential franchisees should avoid choosing a franchise based on lowest fees alone, as an under-funded franchisor may struggle to deliver on support and system improvements.”

Check what happens if your sales slump. In a downturn, would a flat fee remain constant, or could you negotiate it?

Stuff is the media partner for Small Business Month, supported by CAANZ.

Article source:

Source: ADAM DUDDING – Last updated 06:59, September 21 2018

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern videos

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrives in Wellington, and back to work leading the country, with daughter Neve and partner Clarke Gayford in August.

Clarke Gayford says Barack Obama has a “lovely soft nose”, Malcolm Turnbull is “really quite personable” – and he’s not yet decided if he’ll hang out with Melania Trump when he’s in New York next week.

Speaking at an on-stage Q&A in Auckland on Thursday night, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s partner also said since his family had become the focus of intense media scrutiny, he’d deleted all the news apps from his smartphone, “because you get so frustrated by some of the stuff that comes out”.

Gayford was in conversation with former TV presenter Mary Lambie, in front of around 100 attendees at an event organised by the Public Relations Institute, PRINZ. Despite a rumour that Gayford was paid $20,000 for the appearance, he said he’d in fact received nothing more than a jar of chutney for his troubles: Lambie and Gayford are neighbours in Point Chevalier, Auckland.

This was a cosy chat rather than a hard-ball interrogation, and included Gayford’s narration of slideshow snaps of some of the famous folk he’s met since Ardern became PM last October – the Queen, musicians Ed Sheeran and Paul McCartney and Obama to name a few.

But alongside the smooth anecdotes about being a stay-at-home dad to three-month-old daughter Neve, and self-deprecating jokes about competing with cabinet papers for Ardern’s attention, Gayford also offered a stern critique of the current media environment. He said though journalists do their best, the analytics behind modern digital media mean outrageous opinions earn more clicks than facts do, and correcting errors by journalists can be “a game of whack-a-mole”.

Clarke Gayford reveals a few secrets

Clarke Gayford reveals a few secrets about prime ministerial family life, during a Q&A in Auckland on Thursday.

Gayford said he was glad to have already been a TV presenter and radio host, as otherwise the sudden attention “would have been bloody overwhelming – I feel sorry for some people who’ve been thrust into that, like a rabbit in the headlight”.

Mostly, though, he seemed rather chuffed to have stumbled into a strange and exciting new world via Ardern’s extraordinarily swift elevation from opposition MP to party leader to prime minister.

Such as getting to meet former US President Barack Obama.

“He was really lovely. He was asking questions about Māori culture and about New Zealand. He was an inquisitive, curious human being.

“We had to hongi him, and I was one of the first ones up and I was pretty nervous – and he’d only done one before either. Lovely soft nose!”

Clarke Gayford in the media

Clarke Gayford with partner and child in Wellington, on Ardern’s return to work after six weeks’ maternity leave. In New York next week, it’ll be Gayford who’s carrying the baby.

Gayford said though he’d met high-profile people through his work in music television, interviewees often have their guard up. But when meeting world leaders and the like in private, that filter disappears a lot, “and you get a much better judge of character”.

He sounds almost a little surprised by his impression of former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy, whom they met soon after Ardern became PM.

“He was actually really quite personable in a one-on-one setting, and Lucy was great as well. We got on really well with them […] It was interesting the way he talked, versus how some of the policy and politics line up.”

(Gayford was being vague, but the issues on which the current governments of Australia and New Zealand really don’t see eye-to-eye include the rights of Kiwi expats in New Zealand, and the status of refugees on Nauru and Manus Island.)

Barack Obama wonderful man, inquisitive mind, lovely soft nose

Barack Obama: wonderful man, inquisitive mind, lovely soft nose, according to Clarke Gayford.

On Saturday, Ardern, Gayford and Neve will fly to New York for the United Nations General Assembly. There, Ardern has 40-odd scheduled events in seven days, plus three major media appearances: the Late Show with Stephen Colbert, the Today Show, and a longer interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.

Gayford said he reckons Kiwis still don’t quite realise the phenomenal scale of the international interest in Ardern. When they travelled to the UK for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting there were around 70 media requests for Ardern. For the New York trip, Gayford said, Ardern’s staff had lost count of the number, but it would have been in the hundreds.

In New York, Gayford will mostly focus on looking after Neve, but he told Lambie that only that morning he’d received a very special invitation all of his own.

“I was in the office and one of the guys said, ‘Oh Clarke – we’ve got a couple of invites for you.”

He reached for his phone.

“I’ll read it. It’s pretty funny. I sent it to a few friends and said, ‘You will not believe this invite I just got.”

Gayford, Ardern, and a very famous Queen of England

Gayford, Ardern, and a very famous new chum.

He found the file on his phone.

“It has the United States crest on the top and it says, ‘Mrs Melania Trump requests the pleasure of your company for a reception on the occasion of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly’.

“She must be doing it for all the the spouses.”

“Tea and scones with Melania,” said Lambie.

Clarke Gayford's got his invitation to meet Melania Trump

Gayford’s got his invitation to meet Melania Trump in New York along with the other leaders’ spouses, but he’s not sure if he’ll have time.

“Yeah,” said Gayford. “Tea and scones with Melania. I don’t know quite where it is. I’ll see if we have time.”

How will you get there, asked Lambie. Jump in an Uber?

“We’ve actually got our own Secret Service detail assigned to us,” said Gayford, in a tone that suggested he found this both ludicrous and kind-of cool.

“So I’ll just ask them. Take me to Melania’s!”


CEOs, executives, managers, academics, professionals – do you need help with that upcoming TV or radio interview? Do you need a column written or a speech sparkled? Maybe your personal presentations are an area you want to polish? Do you want to become the go-to media person in your area of expertise?

Become a better presenter

Seasoned broadcaster and journalist Mary Lambie – from Socius Media – has proven solutions and high-level testimonials. Mary has had 25 year’ experience in broadcast media, hosting her own radio and TV shows and writing for magazines and newspapers.

Mary knows what it takes to be an impressive media performer and how you can be your absolute, confident best on stage or in internal presentations. She can coach you confidentially, to enhance the ways you look, and sound, and to deliver key messages expertly.

Mary writes and appears regularly in NZ media (television, radio, magazines), and for the past four years has been coaching executives from some of our biggest corporates. She knows what it takes to stand out in the media clutter, and to improve confidence and cut-through in the boardroom.

Phone or email for an initial, confidential talk about how Mary can help you.

Contact Mary Lambie

Send a message using the form below

This from Mary Lambie’s Facebook feed. Media Coverage verdict. TV3 hands down. Duncan Garner Linda Clark Paddy Gower just excellent. Dynamic, intelligent and relevant.

And then came this response…

TV3 2017 Election Media Coverage

Duncan Garner replies to Jane Wrightson… @janewrightson

Hi Jane, I agree it’s not ideal to interrupt, but sometimes you have little or no choice because in the middle of someone else saying something, the EP and Director scream in your earpiece to ‘interrupt’ and get to a location ‘now’, now you do it as gently as possible but it has to happen as something is happening or someone has arrived, it’s part of the rock and roll nature of a 5 hour seat of your pants broadcast.

I did it to Paddy and Lisa and Lisa did it to us. It’s a night where it can happen and does happen and should happen at times. I have no idea why you choose to single out my interruptions. Maybe I made more but that can happen to – it’s live.

I’ve run into a million experts over the years as no doubt you have on this business and I can’t believe how many people are waiting in the wings to do this easy job. And with so much retained political knowledge too. Indeed, last night I was told to interupt more than I did but I couldn’t find a way to do it without stuffing some good flow so I delayed a couple of crosses to keep it smooth. I’m sad that you could only post one comment about our coverage and it was negative.

I thought our team was on the whole, outstanding. My mentor and first boss Linda Clark is the most astonishing journalist and person anyone will meet. Sharp as ever, Linda taught me this game and I spent 7 years learning from her and working with her. I hold her in the highest regard – daylight exists between her and the rest. She taught me three things: work ethic, accuracy and high standards. It’s in my DNA I can’t forget her tutelage.

I was and still remain immensely grateful to her. I consider myself lucky to have had her as my boss, and consider her my friend and someone I can go to for counsel and advice. And I see there are comments here about how good it is to see women on the panel etc. Just for the record I regard Linda, Trish and Lisa as the sharpest minds around.

Whenever the make up of panels and election nights are discussed I always ask if not demand that those 3 are the first three people we choose. My email records prove that. For me it’s not about their gender, they’re just the best, most articulate and brightest with the most knowledge. I just wanted to have my say and I was so pleased 3 also won the crucial 25-54 ratings on the night.

People had a choice and they voted with their remotes. Not everything was perfect, but 5 hours live, Im proud of what we did and achieved and hope our team will focus on the positive things, they did so much right. I’m proud of them all. And grateful for their hard work in the studio, the control room and field. I’m sure you saw that too Jane but I just wanted to give you a fuller picture, because as I’ve learned in broadcasting and politics, not all is as it seems.

In fact it rarely is and usually the opposite. And it’s likely there are many other factors in the background that need an explanation or hidden from public view. To Mary Lambie thanks for your kind words. Decades of hard grafting, day-in, day-out political journalism and knowledge was around the table at 3 last night – that’s what I wanted in our show. And I’m pretty sure we got it. Thanks for watching Jane and appreciate the chance to respond. Kind regards Duncan Garner

If we were looking after Aaron this is what we would have advised… For the record Aaron Smith is not a client of ours.

If we were engaged to media manage him out of the mess he found himself last year the first thing we would have said to him is tell the full truth and nothing but the full truth right at the time the media come to know about the Christchurch Airport toilet liaison.

aaron smith sex scandal nz

We would have said to Aaron it might be painful, unnerving, embarrassing and possibly feel unnecessary to reveal all the facts but when it comes to reputation management you have to play the long game.

We would have said to Aaron – if you don’t declare the full story there is a 99.9 percent chance you will eventually be found out and your reputation will be dragged through the mud once more.

Aaron didn’t reveal all the facts and this is why he is embroiled in scandal two.

We would have also said to Aaron that under no circumstances is he to leave any sort of digital footprint regarding the scandal. When you read the attached link you will learn he was texting ‘ the woman’ with suggestions on how to best cover up what actually went on.

That was completely stupid and it will be the thing that buries him.

Aaron – engaging competent, proven media managers in this sort of crisis situation would have been money very well spent.

Contact Mary Lambie

Send a message using the form below

Picture this. Please suspend your disbelief for 5 minutes and come on a trip into the future of Auckland with me. Imagine for a few minutes that we are right here at the Pullman hotel, but the year is no longer 2017 it is 2030. This is a story of our future, all of our futures, told through the lens of current trends and data. This is the story of where we are heading if we keep doing what we are doing now, until 2030. This is Auckland in 2030. This is the Tale of Two cities

Back in 2017….and the infamous Charles Dickens quote “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.”

It makes me think what if we had chosen another path…Most of you came here today in driverless cars and on the rapid transport light rail that was announced as an election sweetener late in 2017. Most of our key workers, teachers, nurses, administrators, policemen and women shared the train with you but they came in from further out on the lines from Helensville, Pokeno, Whangarei
We will still live in a naturally beautiful city – with enviable natural resources of harbours, beaches and bush. We got that part right and learned to look after it.

The population of Auckland is now over 2 million or about 40% of the NZ population.
The city has its new Convention Centre, many new high grade hotels, a modern skyline featuring new residential apartments and office towers. (6) We go about our business as kiwis as best we can, but there is something niggling us, gnawing away at us, something is deeply not quite right because we believe in fair play, and looking out for each other. As communities, and people, something is just not right.

Still we have plenty of great things to distract us from that, As the holders of the Americas cup we have continued to develop a world class urban environment reshaped with people oriented streetscapes, laneways, public squares, and parks. Were even gearing up to defend the Rugby World Cup men’s and women’s again next year right here in Auckland.

Mobile technology means we can do anything, anywhere with tiny devices, many of you are wearing google glasses and livestreaming this event to your network via LinkedinLive from all parts of the country.

Medical advancements, robotics and Artificial intelligence have meant the loss of many jobs, but have also created many other new opportunities. I have a bionic eye.

However, the one issue which has changed little is housing. The industry has become more fragmented and there remains no overall leadership on the issue of housing
The game playing and finger pointing between the local and central government has continued to the detriment of the city.

Oops there it is. That’s the thing that is bugging us all. It’s housing. It is the fact that in 2017 we realised we had broken the social contract we had with our people. We said to each other that if we worked hard, educated and looked after our children, paid our taxes and joined in to kiwi life we could expect a safe dry secure affordable house to live in. A place to call home.

We believed that was important in 2017. We knew it was important because we knew then that housing isn’t just about shelter from the wind and rain. Safe secure affordable housing is irrefutably directly related to better health and education outcomes, better justice outcomes, better economic outcomes and better communities.

Unfortunately despite our knowledge of why housing is important, in 2017 we did not decide to make changes or a plan to address the Auckland Housing Crisis. So this is where we have got to.

Since 2017 we continued to deliver the housing supply at the same rates so we will have gone from a shortage of 35,000 houses in 2017 to over 130,000 short today. Ghettos unlike anything we have ever seen in New Zealand have become embarrassingly common.. We can no longer say we are looking after those of us who are most in need. We are not.

Two Hamiltons’ worth of housing development needed to be crammed into Auckland by 2030 – said the CEO of Auckland Transport – David Warburton in 2017. But we didn’t listen.

Core Logic estimates the average Auckland house price is now nearly $3m– an astonishing 19 times the average household income. This affordability ratio has taken Auckland off the chart by international standards.

Home Ownership has continued to drop and now less than half of Aucklanders own their own home. We are seeing widespread evidence of the decay of communities that is associated with declining ownership rates.

Homelessness has escalated and the need for social housing and other support services increased dramatically. There are now 500,000 households in Auckland who cannot afford even the median rent. This is up from 120,000 in 2017.

The impact on communities has been huge. Communities have been decimated and the gap between the haves and the have nots has increased. On one side – we see more gated communities and the need for security, while others struggle. Auckland is becoming more like cities overseas we never wanted to be. People who came here to escape failing violent cities, are now leaving.

We have a shortage of key workers in Auckland – our teachers, our nurses, our police. We are even starting to see in Auckland what San Francisco experienced in 2015 where critical key workers lived in mobile RV’s outside their place of work. Watch your step on the way out the Princes Street exit here at the Hotel, there are some homeless people living in that doorway today.

Back to the present
So we have a choice as a city.
Do we continue an incremental growth strategy or does it take a bold and innovative approach to achieving some big targets?
Does it consider an alternative “out-of-the-box” leadership approach?
Do we as Aucklanders choose to take bold, ambitious and innovative actions?

Innovation and The Challenge it presents

If we want to solve these challenging social sector issues, then we need expanded support in a fundamentally new way for organisations that create scalable, sustainable and systems-changing solutions and results.

Imagine for a moment the results that could be in achieved if we approached solving our housing crisis with a similar approach to that adopted by Team New Zealand in the latest America’s Cup win. They were about a clear vision, a fantastic and passionate team, leading edge technology and boat design as well as a culture of innovative and disruptive thinking. In this campaign, New Zealand maintained its reputation for innovation by replacing the grinders who traditionally adjusted sails and the boom using hand-operated winches with four ‘cyclors’ riding stationary bicycles. This fundamental change created a 30% improved outcome.

What’s the equivalent of “that” in the Auckland Housing and how could it be achieved?

Innovation is a way of thinking. It is not about doing an old thing in a new way, it is about creating a new way to do something new, or a new way to do something better.

It does not accept the status quo; it recognises there may be a better way and is open to making it a reality.

Challenges for People:

However, this also creates the greatest challenge for many people and that is many people are uncomfortable with ‘new’. We’re uncomfortable with new processes, new approaches. We uncomfortable with that with which we are not familiar – whether that is technology, social media, disciplined planning, time to communicate, measuring results, holding ourselves accountable or stepping up and showing bold leadership.

Challenges for organisations:

The existing players in any sector have resources, processes, partners, and business models designed to support the status quo. This makes it difficult and unappealing for them to challenge the prevailing way of doing things. Organizations are set up to support their existing business models.

Because implementing a simpler, less expensive, more accessible product or service could sabotage their current offerings, it’s almost impossible for them to disrupt themselves. This is the reason why many disruptive innovations come from outside the ranks of the established players.

Continuing the America’s Cup analogy, I understand that all the syndicates had looked at the new technology of ‘cyclors’ at some stage but no one else had adopted it. The reason was that the grinders are one of the highest paid members of an America’s Cup team – and in other syndicates they didn’t support this new innovation. Team NZ back in 2013 only had a team of 4, so it had a blank canvas with only one question – how can they win?

Auckland is at a cross-roads. However the future is not pre-ordained. We have an opportunity to choose it. This is the tale of two cities. You get to choose.

We all have the ability to take action today which will help shape the future. The key is in the commitment to the process.


The Reputation Reality 2017 survey interviewed 146 business leaders in New Zealand and Australia.

The furore over the case of convicted fraudster Joanne Harrison is a salient reminder of how integrity is seen as the No 1 thing driving corporate reputation, according to a new survey.

Ms Harrison was jailed after stealing $725,000 from her employer, the Ministry of Transport, to pay off her credit card bills and mortgage. The government has since been forced to apologise to the whistleblowers who were bundled out of the organisation after raising concerns about her behaviour.

The latest SenateSHJ survey on reputation and risk shows company leaders lack confidence in their ability to handle a crisis, despite facing more risk than ever before.

Some 96% say corporate reputation is one of their primary assets, up from 50% in 2006, and 60% of respondents say reputational risks have increased in the past three years.

The survey found 38% of respondents identified employee conduct as a major trigger for reputational risk, replacing health and safety which was the key concern last year.

Senate SHJ NZ general manager Raphael Hilbron says the Harrison case shows what an impact questions of integrity can have on an organisation.

“In our survey, some of the respondents pointed to the 7/11 crisis in Australia last year where there was essentially a corporate cover up of a wages crisis and people not being treated fairly and the heart of that issue was integrity,” he says.

The survey shows that, while 90% of organisations in New Zealand and Australia are actively managing their reputations, only a third of New Zealand companies and a quarter of Australian businesses say they feel confident of managing plans in a crisis situation.

Activism, the outrage economy (where people take to social media to rapidly express what are often knee-jerk responses to something they have seen), and social media in general are proving to be significant challenges for organisations to cope with, Mr Hilbron says.

This year crises like those faced by United Airlines and British Airways have spotlighted the speed at which reputational damage can occur. Tellingly, only 41% of respondents feel confident with managing social and digital media in the event of a crisis, compared to 70% with managing traditional media.

Fake news is another area of concern that has emerged in the past year, even though it is a label that is often used to discredit legitimate news, he says.

“People are wondering what sources they can trust and, interestingly enough, other surveys have pointed to the fact people trust their neighbours a lot now: ‘the people I see that are like me are who I trust more than traditional authority figures’ now.”

The survey shows that, while respondents take view reputation as a key asset and key risk, they’re not backing that up in terms of the investment and attention paid to it. Only 40% have invested in crisis simulation training, down 2% on last year. Customer surveys and social media monitoring are the key tools used to manage reputation.

“Staff engagement is absolutely critical; having a plan and testing that plan regularly to make sure that you’re across all the issues that could affect your organisation and have the ability to manage it,” Mr Hilbron says.

“I heard a quote the other day that every boxer knows that the plan goes straight out of the window the minute you get punched in the face and I think most organisations know that so you have to test the plan.”


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