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Project NZ: #theBIGshift conference

Project NZ: #theBIGshift conference to launch global business innovation campaign in New Zealand

Leading international business innovators and entrepreneurs will gather in Auckland in September for the launch of a new global business innovation campaign in New Zealand.

Project NZ: #theBIGshift, the Sustainable Business Network’s 2014 conference, will take place at AUT Business School, Auckland, from 17-18 September. It will see the launch in New Zealand of #theBIGshift, a new approach to business innovation which is already used by global brands such as Nike, Unilever and Marks & Spencer.

“#theBIGshift approach was created by our UK partner Forum for the Future, one of the world’s leading sustainability organisations,” says CEO of the Sustainable Business Network Rachel Brown.

“We are thrilled that the architect of #theBIGshift, Stephanie Draper, Deputy CEO of Forum for the Future, will be coming to our conference to launch the campaign in New Zealand.”

#theBIGshift approach identifies simple, practical steps to bring about a big shift in the way we do business for a more sustainable future. It is already used by leading organisations in different sectors around the world. This will be the first time it has been used in New Zealand.

In addition to Stephanie Draper, speakers at Project NZ: #theBIGshift include Derek Handley, who was Founding CEO and now Entrepreneur in Residence at the B Team; conference moderator Bernard Hickey, independent economic and financial commentator; and pioneering Kiwi innovators and entrepreneurs such as Akina Foundation’s Chief Executive Alex Hannant.

The programme for the conference, which was created collaboratively with international advisors, adopts a practical, hands-on format.
“It incorporates a number of choices, so attendees can tailor the conference to match their individual interests. There are also plenty of opportunities to rub shoulders with experts and network,” says Rachel.

The conference includes hot spot conversations, master classes and workshops, in addition to key notes speeches. The topics are focused around four work streams the Sustainable Business Network has identified as being critical to New Zealand business, which are adopting #theBIGshift approach: smart transport, embedding social value into business models, the circular economy, and restoring New Zealand’s food systems.

“We already know about existing opportunities and solutions, but the challenge is making them a reality. It’s about turning these pioneering practices into a tipping point and introducing speed and scale. At Project NZ: #theBIGshift you can find out how leading business innovators are doing this, so you can apply their insights to your own business,” says Rachel.

A limited number of early bird tickets are now on sale until 4 July, or until they are sold out.

Further information about Project NZ: #theBIGshift is available on the Sustainable Business Network’s website:

The Sustainable Business Network would like to thank our conference partners, which include Air New Zealand, official carrier for Project NZ: #theBIGshift; AUT Business School; Forum for the Future; PE International and many others.

Further information about speakers

· Stephanie Draper, Deputy CEO and Executive Director Asia, leads Forum for the Future’s work on the best ways to create big change. An expert in collaborative processes, change and sustainable development, Stephanie focuses on system-wide change projects, bringing together diverse players focused on creative solutions to difficult challenges.

She will share with conference attendees how Forum for the Future’s global partners, including Unilever and Nike, are leading the way in sustainable business, and how SBN and its members can do the same.
· Derek Handley, entrepreneur, investor and author, is currently designing and leading a new venture with The B Team, and is also Adjunct Executive Professor at AUT University; Chair and Co-founder of NZX-listed Snakk Media; and a director at Sky Television.

· Bernard Hickey will draw on his 25 years experience as a journalist, editor and publisher for Reuters, the FT Group, Fairfax Media and to moderate the conference.

· Alex Hannant, Chief Executive of the Akina Foundation, focuses on the design and delivery of cross-sector engagement, enterprise and social innovation. He aims to accelerate transition to a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive New Zealand through the development of talent, partnerships and social enterprise.

Further information about #theBIGshift
#theBIGshift is based around the concept of System Innovation, which is a set of actions that shift a system – a city, a sector, an economy – onto a more sustainable path.

Both the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) and Forum for the Future believe that many of the systems we rely on – such as food, transport and energy systems – aren’t working. We need to change these systems to make them more resilient, more equitable and able to continue into the future. We need to find practical ways to address this – which is where #theBIGshift will help.

Project NZ: #theBIGshift will apply #theBIGshift to four key areas, which SBN has identified as critical for system innovation in New Zealand:

· Accelerating Smart Transport in NZ
· Embedding Social Value into Business Models
· Accelerating the Circular Economy in NZ
· Restoring NZ’s Food System


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