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Key Themes Of The Knowledge Wave Conference

Key Themes Of The Knowledge Wave Conference

30 May 2001

Dr John Hood
The University of Auckland


Participants from across the New Zealand community will be forging new strategies and proposals to lift the country’s economic and social performance at the Catching the Knowledge Wave conference, the Vice-Chancellor of The University of Auckland, Dr John Hood, said today.

“This will be no ordinary conference,” said Dr Hood. “It is a call to our roots as inventive, self-reliant people to create a new culture of creativity and innovation in our commercial and social life.”

Participants have been invited from a broad cross-section of New Zealand interests – government and Opposition politicians, the bureaucracy, the business community, academia, trade unions, and community organisations.

The conference will be addressed by local, international, and offshore New Zealand speakers, with contributors from 11 countries, including New Zealand, and the United Nations and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, all with differing experiences of knowledge-based economic transformations. Expert speakers will present case studies from seven countries: Ireland, Finland, Israel, Taiwan, Singapore, Australia, and Canada.

However, the creative core of the conference will occur among the 450 invited New Zealand participants in extended working sessions based on five themes: innovation and creativity; people and capability; sustainable economic strategies; entrepreneurship; and social cohesion and the knowledge divide.

“This is where the crucial task of defining uniquely New Zealand answers to New Zealand questions will occur,” said Dr Hood. “The theme sessions will debate the priority areas for action, and will be the primary mechanism for shaping ideas and strategies for the future.”

The University of Auckland has established a Knowledge Wave Think Tank to develop background papers to act as starting points for the theme sessions. Drawing on input from public policy experts, business groups, and the community, these papers will detail global trends, issues facing New Zealand, and point to possible paths forward.

Recommendations from each theme session will be presented towards the end of the conference ahead of the final conference session, which will formulate comprehensive strategies and seek consensus and commitment.

Conference Outline

The conference will begin with an assessment of New Zealand’s unique social, and cultural values, and our evolution as a nation. A series of sessions will then outline international trends in economic development, technology, culture, capital and labour flows, organisational change, and the potential for New Zealand if it maximises its strengths through a coherent strategy. Comparisons between New Zealand’s and other nations’ responses to these trends will be examined.

The importance of making the creation, dissemination, and use of knowledge a priority goal will be examined as a key element in national transition to a knowledge society. The relationship between economic prosperity and social well-being will also assessed in detail. The opportunities for growth and the problems of the “knowledge divide”, including access to learning and information technology, will be considered.

“The conference will conclude with sessions that seek consensus on ways forward and on how to gain commitment to further action,” said Dr Hood.


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