Ruth Richardson whips up recipe for innovation
Former finance minister Ruth Richardson says a turning point has been reached on cashing in on Kiwi inventiveness.
And change is in the wind, she says, with a new consortium of taxpayer-funded research institutions called KiwiNet, which she chairs.
A new kid on the block, KiwiNet is helping transform New Zealand’s “self-defeating isolationist behaviour”.
In an article for today’s print edition of the National Business Review, Ms Richardson says government relationships with the private sector have been dysfunctional, leading to poor commercialisation of research.
The country’s innovation conveyer belt, propelling dreams and discovery out of the R&D department and into commercial opportunities in large markets, is in need of repair, at best.
New Zealand doesn’t lack for dreams, Ms Richardson says, but turning ideas into value has not become a rich vein for New Zealand.
Homegrown success at “doing” has been patchy and too often when the business promise becomes apparent, the prize and the talent are whipped off overseas.
Ms Richardson cites two companies she is involved with, Synlait Milk and the New Zealand Merino Company, alongside the Icebreaker clothing company, as innovation “rock stars” whose examples needed to be followed.
To read more of Ms Richardson’s thoughts on the changing mood and method for innovation, see today’s National Business Review print edition.