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A ‘world class’ NZ in 2029

A ‘world class’ NZ in 2029

Mini-multinationals could be a key to future prosperity, says IBM Forum keynote speaker.

Rod Oram, business journalist and professor of business at Unitec, presented a possible scenario for New Zealand in his keynote address at the IBM Insight Forum 2009 in Auckland on Thursday. “Twenty years from now, a Kiwi, Prof Min Te Tua, wins the Nobel prize for her work on M3 – based on her research on building small, entrepreneurial global companies,” he said, of his fictional scenario.

In Oram’s vision for this country there are 30 of these “mini-multinationals” in 2029, all based in New Zealand and listed in stock exchanges across the globe.

With his scenario, the rise of the mini-multinationals was facilitated by Min’s research, with the help of the Icehouse at the University of Auckland.

2029 also marks the year New Zealand joins the top of the OECD countries and Auckland ranks third in Fortune’s best global places to live and do business in, he states.

To achieve this, or something similar, Oram, says New Zealand needs to “think differently” and harness the talent, resources and uniqueness of the country and its people.

With this imagined research paper, presented by (the hypothetical) Min, Oram postulates on the M3 Centre attracting global attention.

Oram’s construction of Min’s fictional Nobel prize states that her work was “characterised by its intellectual rigours, its creativity, its practicality and its accessibility to people and above all, by its profound and fresh insights into the human relationships at the heart of economic and social progress”.

He went on to present a scenario of New Zealand recovering from the “global collapse of 2009 to 2012”, by providing “truly inspired products and services” that offer unique value born out of New Zealand’s background of using science, innovation and creativity.

For instance, he says New Zealand could become specialised commodity farmers for the world, concentrating on the “very high-end of the primary sector”, such as with lacto pharmaceuticals.

The country will also have to apply “very smart strategies for international markets”, with differing strategies for different markets.

Oram believes that with astute management skills, New Zealand could bring together people, technology and money to create a brighter future. At the same time, the country needs to work to develop the confidence and skills needed to collaborate with partners and customers across the world.

Change management imperatives

Change management and business transformation are key themes tackled in this year’s forum. Ross Pearce, IBM Global Business Service, says enterprises have to manage a range of changes that can not be stopped.

These top three changes are that the world is getting: smaller and flatter due to pervasive communications and connections; riskier with more complex systems and a rising gap between massive information databases and how to use them effectively; and smarter, with more interconnected and intelligent systems.

Pearce draws from the results of a global survey on change management in which he names four components of change. When combined, he says, they helped enterprises attain an 80 percent success rate in projects.

These are: real insights of the change management challenge; solid methods or consistent use of a set of tools or a change management framework across the organisation; skills and capability that include professional change managers who are sourced internally or externally; and the right investment. It is important to allocate sufficient financial resources to the change management efforts, says Pearce.

Dr Claire Barber, strategic engagement leader at IBM, spoke further on the challenge of “business transformation”.

She says successful business transformation requires more than a plan, it requires capability, a method and substantial investments.

Key features include having executive sponsorship, clear target outcomes and a realistic view of the costs and risks of the project.

She says executive sponsorship means having more than just your name listed in the steering committee. As with a boat, the steering committee sets the direction and she says a lot of the executive sponsors don’t do that. They act more like “traffic wardens of change”, or do crisis intervention.

“That is not executive sponsorship and will not let you achieve organisational transformation,” she says. “Transformation on paper is a waste.”

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