TechLeaders prioritise our digital future

Ahead of the 2020 General Election, New Zealand’s TechLeaders are urging all political parties to prioritise our digital future.  The TechLeaders Executive have published their manifesto outlining specific areas that we believe the next Government must focus on.

Today, we are increasingly reliant on technology to access information, learn, shop, work and connect with family and friends.  To be a globally competitive, balanced society, New Zealand needs to strengthen its digital foundations.  Emerging technology continues to disrupt existing business models and we must innovate now for our future.    

Government has an important leadership role to play in building a flexible, resilient, safe and trusted digital technology platform that is accessible to all.

Key technology opportunities for New Zealand include;

  1. Trust in our data
  2. Growing economic productivity
  3. Redefining the workplace
  4. Upskilling the nation
  5. Providing access to the best talent

Regardless of September’s election results, the next Government must embrace the key opportunities through technology focused policy in each of these areas. 

The TechLeaders Executive is a not-for-profit association of senior technology leaders, influencing positive economic and social change.  Its purpose is to provide a platform for cross-sector collaboration to actively contribute to the prosperity of New Zealand underpinned by technology.  TechLeaders is a member of the New Zealand Tech Alliance.

Meet our TechLeaders and read the 2020 Manifesto here.

Meet the TechLeader – Liz Gosling

Name: Liz Gosling

Role and organisation: Chief Information Officer, AUT

Tell us briefly what your role involves: I’m responsible for all of the technology provision for AUT’s 30,000 staff and students. I lead a team of 140 people, a providing a wide range of technology services , including 6,500 + desktop and laptop computers, IT and digital plans, networking, audio visual services, innovation, contracts and software licensing, customer relationships and support services, as well as the development teams and infrastructure.  We manage the balance between reliability and innovation, and enable AUT to fulfill its mission of “Great Graduates”.

What impact will technology have for all New Zealanders?  Technology has already had a big impact on the lives of New Zealanders.    A great many of us use apps to help manage our lives; from internet banking to finding our way to places, keeping in touch with our friends and families overseas via video calling, and accessing news, films and music.   Looking forward, I hope that the positive impact of technology will enhance and support our more remote rural communities, and allow them to access the best education, health and specialist services.  

What set you on the path to becoming a leader?  I worked for some great leaders and some poor ones; and learnt from both.  The great leaders showed me how you can lead people, and the poor ones taught me what not to do.  It is vital to be authentic, and the only person you can be is you, so bring your whole self to work.

What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned?  Listen to the team.  No one person can ever have all the answers, but if a group of bright minds with diverse perspectives come together, many problems can be solved. 

How do you motivate your team?  Within AUT, we are all motivated by what our organisation delivers – a brighter future for our students.  That’s a great advantage!  

What inspires you? Knowing that the work we do at AUT makes a difference to our society.

Favourite productivity tip?  Don’t procrastinate; sometimes getting started on things that you don’t much like to do is the hardest thing.   Sort out your priorities and then start with the most important thing.  Deal with email in allotted time slots, not all the time and then apply do, dump or delegate to each one.  

Connect with Liz on LinkedIN.

Companies must plan for the future of digital transformation

Auckland – The future of work is changing at a staggeringly fast rate as digital transformation, automation and artificial intelligence take over many jobs that were previously performed by people, TechLeaders NZ chairperson David Kennedy says.

While this will make some human-driven roles obsolete, it will also create new jobs that will require different skills. This digital disruption of work happens quickly, which means companies need to be able to move fast in order to keep pace.

“For many businesses, their current staff may not possess the new skills that are going to be required in the future, so they must consider how they will future-proof their workforce,” Kennedy says in a TechLeaders NZ discussion paper just released today.

“One way for companies to ensure they have an adaptable workforce is to adopt a capability framework as a way of measuring and managing their human resources. Capability frameworks focus on continuous learning and future potential.

“Technology leaders from some of New Zealand’s largest organisations have discussed how capability frameworks can enable organisations to keep up with changes.

“The rapid rise in technology is changing the nature of work for many businesses. While these technological developments lead to increased productivity for companies, organisations are now struggling with how to keep their staff employed, engaged and able to do the changing roles required of them.

“The challenge is for businesses to prepare a future workforce which is highly adaptable. This involves ensuring that there is the infrastructure in place for people to upskill on-demand, without major time commitments.

“In order for businesses to manage their future workforce, they need to understand the skills and capability possessed by their current employees, so they adapt them to meet their changing needs.”

Traditionally, competency frameworks have been the way in which many organisations structure and manage their human resources.

Competency frameworks based on a person’s current skills can be cumbersome and complicated. Comparatively, capability frameworks are about continuous learning and potential. Capability frameworks focus on what is someone capable of doing in the future and their ability to get certain outcomes.

The implications of an accelerated pace-of-change needs to be factored in. If a business is changing rapidly, they need to understand how that impacts their staff’s needs. With the half-life of a skill decreasing sharply, they need to have a strategy in place to future-proof their staff.
“We recommend the large organisations should create the CV of the future. They need to articulate what they think are going to be the most valuable skills and attributes their employees may need going forward,” Kennedy says.

This will provide guidance to employees looking to ready themselves for future changes and help attract new talent.

“TechLeaders recognise that there is a need for education providers to offer quick, online and flexible micro-courses to upskill people who are the already in the workforce.

“While NZQA is working to introduce more micro-credentials into the market, education providers should move rapidly to pilot micro-training that may not need full NZQA credentialing to provide value.

“It will be incumbent on large organisations to clearly articulate capability development areas needed to provide guidance to education partners,” he says.

TechLeaders are part of the large NZTech Alliance which consists of more than 20 tech associations that represent more than 800 organisations.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Tech Leaders already seeing impact of automation

Auckland – TechLeaders, a growing group of top executives from the country’s biggest companies and organisations, are backing the pioneering work of the Productivity Commission to try to better understand the impact of technology changes on the future of work in New Zealand.

Techleaders are part of the large NZ Tech Alliance which consists of more than 20 tech associations that represent more than 1000 Kiwi businesses and organisations.

David Kennedy, the TechLeaders chair, says the Productivity Commission was tasked by government to work out how New Zealand can manage the risks of fast-expanding tech changes and gauge the impact on the future of work and the workforce.

“The commission has launched an inquiry into tech change and the future of work in New Zealand, and last week released an issues paper seeking input on the future of the tech landscape for Kiwis,” he says.

“Having seen first-hand the impact that deploying new automation technologies can have on people’s jobs, we have pooled our collective thoughts to help develop best practice to minimise the impact.

“Last year TechLeaders created a simple set of digital principles for organisations working through digital transformation to remind them to put their people first. We believe that the changing landscape is creating a situation where companies must focus more on the human side of technology, both from a customer and employee standpoint.

“It is our strongly held belief that the prosperity of New Zealand is inextricably linked to how well our organisations embrace a digital future and how well they evolve.”

“We also know that skills needed by the work force are changing rapidly so getting the link between education and industry will be important, as will the ability of the education system to adapt and evolve faster.

“It is great to see the government taking this critical area so seriously with things like the Tripartite Forum and now this Productivity Commission study.

“As tech leaders, we are looking forward to supporting the Productivity Commission as it undertakes this work,” Kennedy says.

The TechLeaders form a comprehensive knowledge base from a cross section of New Zealand business, all of whom are actively involved in transforming their businesses, incorporating digital first approaches.

The TechLeaders’ executive is from organisations such as Auckland Transport, Downer, Fonterra, Fletcher Building and Westpac, which are at the tech coal face driving change.

For further information contact Make Lemonade editor-in-chief Kip Brook on 0275 030188.

Photo: David Kennedy

Be part of Scale-Up New Zealand

In April, Callaghan Innovation launches Scale-Up New Zealand, a free online platform with verified information on Aotearoa New Zealand’s vibrant innovation ecosystem.

Created from a model that is hugely successful overseas, Scale-Up New Zealand will make it faster and easier for ambitious businesses to find and connect with people and capital and other help they need to grow.  

Scale-Up New Zealand will showcase our innovative businesses, along with the investors, incubators, accelerators, multinationals and others who support or partner with them.  It will also create opportunities for investors and multinationals to connect with innovative New Zealand businesses.

The platform will increase the profile of your company to a local and global audience, and it will make it faster and easier for you to connect with investors, incubators, accelerators and companies you could potentially partner with.  You will be able to use the platform to ask for facilitated introductions to key people and create meaningful connections.

Scale-Up New Zealand will also allow you to conduct market research and validation.  For example, you can analyse other companies in your industry or those in your target market, look at historic funding round information and improve your understanding of market trends in the New Zealand innovation ecosystem.

Learn more and register to be part of Scale-Up New Zealand.