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First To Awaken, First To Think?

Aotearoa New Zealand: First To Awaken, First To Think?
A Symposium, March 8-9 2002, Wellington, New Zealand at (e)-vision

Wellington's digital media centre, (e)-vision is the host to a symposium in early March exploring the source of current and future value in New Zealand. First to Awaken, First to Think? will run March 8-9th at (e)-vision and includes international and New Zealand speakers "looking at ways to maximise the value of New Zealand culture, business, science and technology in the broadest sense", says Jan Bieringa, (e)-vision's director.

It is a symposium created to look at new forms of thinking required in a post-industrial economy, and to uncover New Zealand's 'value proposition', says Bieringa. Speakers and participants are drawn from scientific, business, cultural, government and academic communities.

"The way forward for New Zealand is through an integrated approach across these different communities rather than a tighter, 'silo approach' when examining New Zealand's future", says Bieringa. "This is a large discussion which we hope will inspire wider discussion and improved communication between disparate groups in New Zealand".

Keynote speaker is Michael Goldhaber, an analyst, writer, teacher and consultant on social, cultural and economic issues from California, who will be discussing the Attention Economy - a concept he originated- within the context of New Zealand. The Attention Economy theory posits attention as the ultimate measure of value.

"The way that New Zealand is perceived and New Zealanders perceive their value in the world is central to our ability to realise our ambitions in a new economy", says Bieringa.

Rather than looking for a single path forward for the New Zealand economy, the symposium will be examining the philosophies and culture underpinning New Zealand innovation, and broadly explore ways in which New Zealand can maximise the value of its cultural and scientific intellectual property.

Roger Blakeley, CEO of Porirua City Council, will be presenting his experience of Porirua and ways to support an innovative and inclusive culture at a local level.

Some speakers will touch on previously under-utilised New Zealand assets, says Bieringa. "For example, our geographic isolation can be an opportunity, and our cultural property is only partially tapped." Intellectual property architect Nick Gerritsen will speak on "improving innovation by increasing the information flow between capital and ideas", Bieringa says.

Other speakers include Dr Helen Anderson from MoRST, journalist Rod Oram, Dr David Skilling from Treasury, Peter Biggs, Managing Director of Clemenger BBDO and Chair of Creative New Zealand, and John Allen, Chief Executive Officer, Letters and Enterprises, NZ Post.

Papers from the symposium will be published on the (e)-vision website at and invited participants will be asked to be part of ongoing 'occasional conversations' after March.

First to Awaken, First to Think? is generously supported by The Royal Society and Industry New Zealand. For further information please contact Jan Bieringa or Melanie Hamilton at (e)-vision on 04 384 3550 or email, or

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