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Jim Anderton's Better by Design Speech

Better by design

Jim Anderton gave a speech to the Design Leadership Group this evening to CEOs of up and coming NZ businesses, established businesses, designers, educators and media.

"I would like to start by thanking Jeremy Moon and colleagues on the Better by Design leadership group.

"They’ve contributed time and valuable coaching to develop and implement the Better By Design Programme.

"The goal of Better By Design is to build a programme that will be practically useful for New Zealand businesses.

"The Better by Design leadership group have built internationally successful design-led business.

"They know about the importance and techniques of using design in business.

"The experience of the leadership group includes some of our most notable design-led business success stories," Jim Anderton said.

Full Speech Below:

Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Economic Development

Better By Design launch

6.15PM Tuesday, 9 November 2004.
Level 1, Lower NZI Room,
Aotea Centre Auckland.

SPEECH NOTES

Acknowledgements:
Parliamentary colleague Steve Maharey, Jeremy Moon, Andrew Grant, Dame Cheryll Sotheran, Bruce Macintyre, Distinuguished guests

I would like to start by thanking Jeremy Moon and colleagues on the Better by Design leadership group.

They’ve contributed time and valuable coaching to develop and implement the Better By Design Programme.

The goal of Better By Design is to build a programme that will be practically useful for New Zealand businesses.

The Better by Design leadership group have built internationally successful design-led business.

They know about the importance and techniques of using design in business.

The experience of the leadership group includes some of our most notable design-led business success stories.

Icebreaker, Fisher & Paykel and Formway are all represented.

We can learn from their experiences, just as we can be inspired by their success.

We need to be successful at this.

We want to enjoy the living standards of other developed countries.

As Andrew Grant has shown, that means we need to produce and sell much more high-value, high-skill, high-tech products.

In particular we need to sell more products that rely on our unique skill and creativity.

Design is one of the most important expressions of that.

Not just styling, but design in every stage of production.

Design is the expression of innovation and creativity.

These are the most valuable characteristics in a global value chain.

For most of our economic history, our economy relied on the sun shining, the rain falling and the grass growing.

But other countries can grow grass too.

The advantage we have that they can never match is our unique creativity.

We’re small and a long way from the rest of the world.

While this can have drawbacks, it has also bred a culture of resourcefulness and innovation in New Zealand.

We’re used to having to work things out and having the freedom to try things.

We used to call this the ‘Number 8 wire’ mentality.

If the ‘Number 8 wire’ approach means ‘slap-dash’ and ‘she’ll be right’, then it’s not much use to us.

But if it means inventiveness and creative problem solving, then it is the raw material of design-led business.

Design-led innovation gives our businesses a process for creating products and services that consumers in global markets want to buy.

There are many examples to inspire other New Zealand creators.

Companies which have embraced design-led processes, and are profiting from it, are featured at this event.

Companies like Orca and Living Nature.

One of New Zealand’s greatest international commercial design success stories is Fisher & Paykel Appliance’s DishDrawer.

It came about because Mark Elmore and his design team regarded nothing as given in the design process.

They came up with a brilliant proposition - a drawer that washed dishes.

It was designed to look and perform as well or better than the best-in-class.

To that brilliant initial idea, Mark’s team added highly disciplined world-class design process.

They created a world-class product.

Today people all over the world are buying DishDrawers - proving that they got it right.

We need many more success like this.

Not just from companies we know like and Formway.

We also need lesser-known companies like OBO and Trimax to succeed on the same scale.

New Zealanders have always had good ideas.

Design is about expressing our ideas in a tangible and highly-marketable form.

I’ve previously challenged the New Zealand design industry to scatter the seeds of what ambition for New Zealand design.

We need to have a vision of New Zealand as a country known globally for our design and innovation.

I’m not just using empty words to cajole you.

The government has committed to working in partnership with the design industry.

Last year we published a design strategy, called 'Success by Design'.

It was put together by the industry group that preceded the Better by Design leadership group, the Design Taskforce, which was chaired by Ray LaBone.

‘Success by Design’ is a blueprint for making design a powerful force in our economy.

We have many advantages.

The Strategy recognises we have advantages like our education sector, our unique Maori heritage, and our unique ability to commercialise Pacific creativity.

These are starting points.

Harnessing the power of design will first require us to raise awareness of design issues among New Zealand businesses.

Devices like the brand we are here tonight to celebrate will help businesses see the power of design.

The message will be carried through the new website and a major design-in-business conference.

Dame Cheryll Sotheran from New Zealand Trade and Enterprise is leading the team implementing the programme.

She will outline the plans for the conference in a moment.

It will be a nationally significant event.

Raising awareness is important, but the design strategy identified another pillar of success to go alongside awareness.

It has to be easy for New Zealand businesses to understand and incorporate design in their business.

We need programmes to promote the use of design, and Dame Cheryll will outline progress in implementing them in a moment.

Alongside work with business, there is a much greater role for education in promoting the use of design.

When we teach aspiring young business people about what makes high value businesses successful, design needs to be a focus.

When young people contemplate a high-value, high-skill career that makes a difference to New Zealand, we want them to consider design.

The Tertiary Education Commission has responsibility for developing the education component of Better by Design.

My colleague, the Minister of Education Steve Maharey will outline what’s happening there.

The government is committed to increasing the use of world class design in New Zealand.

We’ve allocated $12.5 million over four years to implement the design strategy.

We need to work in partnership with the design industry, and with the wider business community to promote the use of design.

Since I first started raising design and creativity issues, I’ve been delighted with the willingness of New Zealand’s design community to come forward.

I suspect you knew the importance of the issue all along.

You were waiting for a government to come forward and play its role.

Let me give you one example of how important this is.

Last week my party, the Progressives, made a major announcement about our support for lowering the company tax rate

I think it’s the right time to do it.

But for all the fuss the announcement caused and the attention it earned, I would not rank tax rates at the same level of importance as developing the use of creativity in our business.

You have to have a product to sell before you start making profits and paying tax.

Design helps to define, to produce and to sell the product.

Unleashing and exporting more of our creativity is immensely important to New Zealand.

It has the potential to transform our industrial base.

Smart investment in design can produce an enormous return in jobs, and higher incomes.

That’s why the government is fully committed to playing our role.

We should set our ambitions high.

We should not accept limitations on what New Zealand can achieve.

The Design Taskforce found that truly successful export businesses have a vision and determination to be the best in the world.

The best businesses are risk takers.

They have passion and high levels of energy.

That is a model for all New Zealand.

We need as a nation to be truly ambitious.

We need to be fiercely determined to be better than any country.

We need to be prepared to accept failure on the way, and not punish those who try and fail.

I can assure you I share that vision.

I look forward to working with the industry to achieve it.

And I wish you well with Better By Design.

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