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28 Apr 2016

Wanaka's "Aspiring Conversations"

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Clients and friends of the firm joined us for a day of thinking during the Festival of Colour’s “aspiring conversations”.

As Silver Sponsor, Murray & Co and its guests joined two fascinating sessions: “Creativity and innovation drive prosperity” which had Sir Ray Avery and Kate Smaje exploring how creativity and innovation work within organisations and for New Zealand as a nation. Sir Ray is a former street kid turned scientist – the low-cost medical devices invented in his garage make a difference to the world’s most vulnerable. Kate Smaje is a Director in the London office of McKinsey & Company as well as a member of their Global Operating Committee, which overseas digital and technology for the firm.

During that session, from Ray Avery, we learned that New Zealand is one of the most creative countries in the world, but that we are deficient in letting others know this. For example, we have the world-leading technology in fruit-sorting. Who knew that? He emphasised that New Zealand’s challenge is mostly to do with developing effective branding and scaling once the invention has been created.

Kate Smaje shared three key points for corporates wanting to innovate, grow and succeed: (i) “blow oxygen” into people that have ideas – meaning, in spite of job titles and positions in a company, if you see someone with creativity then foster them as they are your future; (ii) as a large business, don’t play the defence game; go on the offensive before someone else disrupts your company; and (iii) there is nothing more empowering than an inspirational leader who can create a long term vision and bring people with them.

We also enjoyed a session entitled: “The New Zealand Project” which had Max Harris argue that we need the same drive upon which New Zealand was founded for this country now in order to forge ahead in current difficult global times. Max is a Rhodes Scholar who became a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford in 2014. He’s only 27, and has helped set up criminal justice group Just Speak and Law for Change, and also worked as a consultant for UNDP in New York. His book The New Zealand Project will be published this year.

David Farr, editor of Kiwblog, having previously worked in Parliament and served two National Party Prime Ministers and a Director for Curia Market Research, was also a panellist – together with Bill English, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, with Catherine Ryan from Radio New Zealand facilitating that session.

How refreshing it was to hear forward-thinking bright people talk about global issues affecting the next generation here in NZ and all over the world. It reminded us all to keep thinking expansively – and not to get too mired in the every day stuff!

We look forward to next year’s conversations scheduled for 4-9 April 2017. If you would be interested in joining us next year for some of those conversations, please email clare@murrays.co.nz.