NZ needs to move faster in embracing technology

Photo: SparkTank director, Rachel Kelly

A leading Kiwi tech expert has slammed New Zealand’s slow progress to embrace technology.

Rachel Kelly, deputy chair of NZTech and director of Waikato business growth company SparkTank, says New Zealand is lagging behind other countries in technology adoption.

“Yes, we are slowly ramping up. Yes, we are hearing about more success in the news, but it's our every day businesses that aren't staying with the times, let alone ahead of the curve.

“I know we have so much potential, but we are our own worst enemy.  New Zealand has so much potential. I’ve been disappointed. As a Kiwi living and working in California for nine years, you get this sense that companies are in a constant battle – working almost tirelessly to stay five steps ahead of the competitor.

“Only in the last 16 months have I been hearing NZ companies talk about business intelligence, open data sharing and analytics. Our biggest problem is our culture. We have a culture of apathy and risk aversion. The apathy and risk aversion is not serving us.

“For example, what if secondary and tertiary school students were guided by their teachers to design their own online learning programmes based on key knowledge requirements for a technology subject?

“This would shift the students into active learning which has shown to increase knowledge gain to 50 percent compared to 12 percent by students in traditional, lecture-based classes. The teachers can, in-turn, learn from the very digital natives they are trying to teach.

“As the tech industry needs change, the key knowledge requirements change and are again submitted to the open New Zealand market. The previously-designed online programmes are cross-examined against the new requirements and adapted by the students again, if needed.

“Regarding the government: there are arms of the government where they are trying to innovate. However, government wasn’t built for speed. It was built for scale.

“If we, New Zealand, became early adopters as well as empowered our young people to work at crafting technology to solve every-day problems, we could see our tech sector grow from being our third biggest export to our number one export.”

Kelly will present her staunch tech views on a TV1 documentary, What Next, tonight.

 

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