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Fonterra Delivers Message At Innovation Festival

Fonterra Calls For Innovation With A Purpose At Auckland Launch Of Innovation Festival

New Zealand’s biggest-ever celebration of Kiwi innovation and entrepreneurship gets underway in Auckland

Auckland, 2 May 2005 – The 2005 NZ Innovation Festival launched at the Auckland Town Hall today, with speakers calling for “innovation with a purpose” to create value for the well being of New Zealanders.

Speaking at the launch Bob Major, Director of Innovation & Marketing, Fonterra, said that people think of innovation as a good idea, but that is only the start. Discipline is key.

“At Fonterra innovation is always aimed at the customer - it’s all very well having a good idea, but someone has to buy it.”

Mr Major said that with powerful forces shaping the global dairy market today, Fonterra has had to respond with a more innovative approach. The company spends around $100 million per year on research and development, making it the largest funder of R&D in the country outside of the Government. Fonterra has also established six business incubators, like innovation clusters, covering different product areas such as beverages.

Major said Fonterra’s innovation pipeline is designed to create “winners”, and then moves these ideas to the rest of the company for commercialisation.

“Innovation with a purpose is working for us and I am confident it will work for New Zealand,” Major said.

Also speaking at the launch, Alan Sinclair, CEO, CGNZ, alluded to his Scottish heritage in keeping with the Festival theme – “building a culture of innovation” – and to reinforce the point that practical creativity will capture value for the benefits of New Zealand’s economy.

Mr Sinclair said Scots were famous for some major inventions, including antibiotics and the phone, but they hadn’t benefited to the fullest degree they could have from these innovative creations. He said it was important for New Zealand’s future that Government and industry work to together to avoid a similar outcome in this country.

Calls for collaboration were echoed by Vincent Heeringa, former publisher of Unlimited and Director of HB Media, who opened the launch with the Festival idea “united we stand”, to generate a bigger constituency for innovation.

“If you talk to anyone in business you’ll hear that it’s just not good enough to have a bunch of fierce individualists. Teams that have succeeded have built a culture of innovation versus a culture of fierce individualism,” Heeringa said.

Also at the launch, Minister for Auckland Issues and Associate Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage, Hon. Judith Tizard, said that there are bright prospects for innovative Kiwis.

“Who would have thought that ten, twenty years ago, being a musician or a fashion designer was a viable career in New Zealand?

“Innovation, branding, smart marketing and smart people have made it possible, and that is what I believe underlies the growing strength of our economy.”

The two-week nation-wide Innovation Festival showcases more than 120 innovation events and exhibits, in sectors ranging from film, fashion and gaming, to environmental science, biocommerce and agri-technology.

It has attracted the support of influential business leaders, such as Ralph Norris, CEO of Air New Zealand, and Hugh Burrett, CEO of ASB, as well as Government leaders.


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