In early March 2018 about 190 talented and passionate people from New Zealand, Australia, USA, Taiwan and other awesome places, met in Northland to discuss key topics impacting the future of NZ and beyond.
We discussed how to store data in DNA; how to & if it ethical to bring the Moa bird back; how to capture Co2 with seaweed; autonomous sailing boats; how to give power to the severely handicapped by using their brainwaves to control devices/ communicate with the outside world; how to bring sustainable products and services to consumers; how to potentially control artificial intelligence and big data analytics algorithms; how to commericalize applied science and turn ideas into sellable products; how mobile/ digital devices are changing the way how families interact and what to do about it; how to use digital media to not just consume but to co-create … and many more amazing, sometimes hugely controversial topics.
From this list you can see that the topics ranged from ‘doing no evil’ to ‘doing good’ and ‘doing it sustainably’… The weekend gave me a lot of comfort that Kiwis have their heads screwed on, are understanding what is impacting their and other peoples’ lifes and more importantly that there are a lot of smart people doing something about making all of our lifes better.
Sometimes it pays not to be at the core, innovation often comes from the edges, not the center. I think Aotearoa is very well positioned to take a leadership role in many important things for modern society. And we are naturally very much endowed with a beautiful, scarcely populated land, wonderful rivers, mountains, over 15,000 of stunning coastline. We are a net producer of food, only 20% of the rainwater falling is used by us, and over 85% of our electricity is from renewable sources. We are no longer dominated by the ‘tyranny of distance’. Being on the edge is slowly turning into a competitive advantage – we now need to get the message out to other Kiwis, inspire and motivate them to participate and change the world to a better place – despite all the negativity about the leaders in America, China, Philippines, North Korea, Venezuela, Congo …
Kiwis can and should become role models for modern global citizens. Let’s spread the word and vote with our feet and our positive actions.
Whangarei: 5th of March 2018