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The Challenge of Growth

The Challenge of Growth

New Zealand exporters may feel their backs are to the wall, with a high exchange rate and military uncertainty posing significant threats. But expat innovator Neil Scott says there are great opportunities in the United States and elsewhere for high-value niche products from smart companies prepared to lift their sights.

Scott, a Canterbury University engineering graduate who heads the Archimedes Project at Stanford University in California, will be in New Zealand later in the month to give an address at the annual IPENZ conference in Hamilton and to speak at the first round of the Baycorp Advantage SmartNet workshops series 2003, to be held in the four main centres in early April.

Scott has a distinguished record as a technology futurist and has led the Archimedes Project work on human interface technologies. In 1997 Discover magazine named him one of the top five innovators in the United States in the field of computer hardware and electronics. Last year The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, California, made him one of 25 Laureates after nominations were received from 59 countries.

SmartNet co-ordinator, Christchurch-based Lyall Lukey, says that the SmartNet theme of The Challenge of Growth is timely in the light of the current debate about national growth. “Whatever the policy settings, sustained economic growth can only be achieved if a critical mass of individual New Zealand enterprises take on the challenge of taking a quantum step up," says Lukey.

“As the America's Cup demonstrated, the key to translating challenge into performance is the right mix of teamwork and technology based on experience and knowledge," he says.

Other speakers have been chosen to offer international perspectives on what is needed to make big performance gains. Brenda Tripp will focus on information management and performance support as key factors in achieving the speed and agility needed to compete globally. “Many organisations have recognised the importance of managing information as a corporate asset,” says Tripp, who is managing director of performance support company TACTICS Australasia. “But the power of information is not in the technology; it is in the content itself - how it is structured and managed."

John Martin, Ohio-based vice-president of global operations with international learning management systems provider Pathlore, says that while the promise of e-learning has been “over-hyped in some quarters, it has re-ignited discussion about investment in education and training as a strategic business issue”.

Major sponsor of the SmartNet workshops is Baycorp Advantage. Its managing director, Keith McLaughlin, says the SmartNet programme provides opportunities for other companies to tap into the “liberating potential” attitude that has helped drive Baycorp’s growth into a respected and successful supplier of business information and technology in the Asia Pacific region.

“Success in today's global marketplace is all about liberating potential,” says McLaughlin … “the idea that armed with the right business intelligence, every person could achieve more, for themselves, their customers and their company.”

The Baycorp Advantage SmartNet workshops series 2003 will be the sixth annual programme linking knowledge generators and innovators with entrepreneurs, policy makers and business service providers.

The series starts in Dunedin on April 1 and ends in Christchurch on April 4. For more information see the website

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