Have Your Say: Research and development tax incentive

You may be aware of the upcoming changes proposed by the Government in respect of a Research and Development Incentive Scheme, effective from 1 April 2019. Here is the link to the relevant documents released by the Government, including the original discussion document and documents on the transition from Callaghan Innovation Growth Grants. The key changes proposed are outlined at the bottom of this email.

The changes will have an impact on the cash flows of New Zealand start up and growth businesses and it is important that we provide feedback to ensure any changes are designed to achieve the objective of growing the R&D spend in New Zealand. We also envisage that any ambiguity and uncertainty will impact the ability of New Zealand entities to raise capital and have valuation implications.

EY has been working to ensure that the start-up and growth sector is adequately represented in the submission phase of the project. EY’s objective is demonstrate to the government that there is strong interest in the legislation changes from the sector by providing a strong response to their discussion documents. The deadline for submissions is 1 June 2018.

Canterbury Tech members may also with to prepare their own individual submission. EY has prepared a template submission that can easily be adapted by entities that covers what EY believes to be the main issues. The template is designed to be tailored by individual entities to fit their circumstances.

EY are running a couple of workshops that run through the changes in more detail and provides an opportunity to discuss any questions that you may have. These are held at EY offices in Auckland, but there will be an opportunity to dial in remotely.

These are proposed for:

–          Wednesday 23 May at 1pm

–          Tuesday 29 May at 10am

In addition EY is creating a database for future correspondence on R&D matters as they arise.

Our ask of you is: 

  1. Complete a submission. Feel free to use the attached template
  2. Circulate this email encouraging the entities you are associated with to also make a submission
  3. Respond to andrew.moorby@nz.ey.com if you would like to attend one of the sessions (and whether you will attend in person or remotely)
  4. Email andrew.moorby@nz.ey.com with contact details of any parties that would like to receive ongoing communications in respect of the R&D tax incentive scheme

Key aspects of the proposed changes:

–          Replacement of the Callaghan Growth grants with a tax credit of 12.5% based on eligible expenditure for entities doing R&D in New Zealand

–          To be eligible entities must:

o   Be located in New Zealand and be carrying out R&D in New Zealand

o   Satisfy the test of being in business

o   Claim R&D that relates to your business or intended business

o   Have control over R&D activities

o   Bear the financial risks of the R&D activities

o   Effectively own the results of the R&D

–          Minimum eligible R&D expenditure proposed at $100,000

–          R&D would be defined as:

o   Core activities: those conducted using scientific methods that are performed for the purposes of acquiring new knowledge or creating new or improved materials, products, devices, processes and services; and that intended to advance science or technology through the resolution of scientific or technological uncertainty

o   Support activities; those that are wholly or mainly for the purpose of, required for, and integral to, the performing of the activities defined as core activities

–          Provisions for some overseas R&D work

–          Specific defined expenditure is ineligible

–          Current proposals are that the tax credit will be not refundable; i.e. loss making companies will not receive a refund. The current R&D credit tax back for loss making entities will continue in the short term but may be reviewed as part of future policy work

David Winter | Senior Manager | Tax

Ernst & Young Limited

A conversation with David Carter, Chair of Canterbury Tech

In the leadup to Techweek ’18 Christchurch based Seeds Podcast caught up with David Carter about the origins of Canterbury Tech, the annual Tech Summit, what makes Canterbury unique and the future of tech here for the next generation.  This is an extract from a 50 minute podcast interview which also went into David’s early life in South Africa, getting into the tech industry, what makes a good manager and how you hire the right people to join a team.  You can access the interview in most podcast apps by searching for “Seeds” and it is also available at www.seeds.libsyn.com where there are more than 40 other interviews as well.

LISTEN HERE


Seeds Podcast: … so, I’d love to talk about Canterbury Tech now – when did you get involved in that?  Also, can you set the scene for what it is because there will be people listening who don’t live in New Zealand or who live in Auckland or Wellington or other places so maybe set the scene and how you got involved?

David Carter: Canterbury Tech started 15 or 16 years ago where it was a group … who would get together on a Friday – they were all software business owners – and they would just chew the cud and talk about their business problems and basically just support each other.  I think it was probably quite hard in those times they probably all felt like they were unique and facing unique problems but in fact, once they got together they really enjoyed it.  So they started to formalise that a bit more and they came up with the Cluster, came up with a constitution etc, started to have these meetings – monthly meetings and put a committee together all that sort of thing.  So, I got involved about 4 years ago … I had been running the local Microsoft .net user group and that was really my first foray into the whole community aspect of things.  I was invited to talk there and do a presentation and I went there and did this presentation and I was really nervous beforehand but I loved doing it – I really enjoyed it.  So when the user group leader stepped down he said, “do you want to do this”, so I said I would take it on and at the time there were about 50 members and over the next couple of years I grew it to about 500 members and I really enjoyed that building and growing the membership and interacting with the people it was really a lot of fun – it took me about 2 or 3 years to do.  So based on that I was invited to join the committee of Canterbury Tech about 4 years ago – and I was voted on to the Committee and spent two years on the Committee and then had the opportunity to run for Chair, which I did – once again pushing my boundaries, I had never been the Chair of anything, it was the first committee I had been on.  It was daunting, but my Father tells me, “you can always do more – you should always push yourself” – so that was my stretch challenge and I’ve loved it, it’s been a lot of fun over the last two years.

That’s great.  Michael Trengrove, I think he was Chair before you, I interviewed him about Code Club which is one of the things he is involved in – it was interesting talking with him … and one of the things in that interview if people want to listen in, we talked a bit about the Canterbury Tech event that you run every year, can you just explain a little about that as well?

Yea, I think you are referring to the Canterbury Tech Summit. Our remit is really to connect, grow and inspire Canterbury companies.  It used to be Software companies but now it is Tech companies as that line between technology and software has become blurred over time so we just opened up the membership more. So currently we have a couple of hundred corporate members and a couple of hundred individual members.  We cater for those members by having a monthly event which is typically at a company in Christchurch and we put on two speakers – a business and a technical speaker – and we have drinks and networking etc.  On top of that we have this annual event which is the largest technology event in the South Island.  That is run every year and we get speakers from all over the world. The idea is once again to inspire and try to help educate and give people an opportunity to network as well.  So that is every year at the Air Force Museum at the moment. We are kind of limited by venue size and space available at the moment so it is limited to about 800 people but we get world class speakers and we have a number of streams of those speakers throughout the day.

Yeah it is a great event – I have been the last two years and really enjoyed it.  Like you say, people flying in from all over the world flying in to present on their specialty area which is amazing.  So have you seen that event grow – like if we dial back to when you first started getting involved has it grown or pretty steady?

It has grown a wee bit, I think when I first came it was about 500 people and it has grown to about 800 people.  I think when we actually get the new centre online where we can host these types of events which is currently an events centre that is being built, we will then have to make the decision about whether we try to expand this to 2-3,000 people or do we keep it the size it is, but that is a decision we will have to make.

Oh, that’s good.  If I was talking to someone in a city or region who was involved in technology and promoting it, they would probably say that their region or their city was uniquely different and probably that it was world class.  I think, my feeling living here in Christchurch and Canterbury is that there is a lot happening.  Can you just set the scene in terms of the culture and what is going on from a business point of view?

Christchurch and Canterbury is the second largest tech sector in New Zealand now.  I try and get that into every conversation I have with someone now because I think it is so important and so amazing that we realise that.  You know, that we are ahead of Wellington that has traditionally had Xero and all the Government work – we are actually larger than them.  We have an amazing ecosystem – so we have really great grassroots support for entrepreneurs and innovators coming through and the City Council is all behind that and they want us to be seen as an innovation hub with the like of self-driving cars and flying taxis and all that sort of stuff.  Which is great.  I think from the perspective of putting Christchurch on the map it makes great press stories and so that is very, very important.  But it is not just about that innovation it is also that we have some very established companies in that mid to larger size – companies that have been around for many, many years and are world class leaders in what they do – we have companies doing amazing things all over the world.  I don’t think it is any coincidence that a lot of American companies have their software development headquarters in Christchurch and I think it is important to appreciate that.  Part of the reason is that we have got great tertiaries – we have got the University, we have got Ara, which is fantastic and also it is just a great place to live, and it is actually affordable, and it doesn’t take an hour to drive to work.  So we have got all these environmental and physical attributes on top of having great software companies with great jobs.  So I am very positive about Christchurch and where we are going to go.  We just need to tell the story…

So just in terms of telling that story can we dive a little bit deeper in terms of examples of companies that are based here that people may not even have realised?

A great example the other day was Telogis, and they have been sold to Verizon and they are Christchurch grown and bred. They did work around routing software for delivery companies and became a world leader in what they do.   Sold to Verizon and did remarkably well.  Sunguard was another example of a company which did financial software which was sold to FIS and various other companies over time.  But once again that was a home bred success story.  Companies like diligent board books who listed in the US and that was grown out of Canterbury.  Cequent Projects who were Leapfrog Geo, doing amazing stuff in the Geo space and they are going really well.  Companies like Orion Health in the medical space.  There are so many examples and there will be so many more that I don’t even know about – companies in people’s garages turning over hundreds of millions of dollars that we don’t even know about…

Staying under the radar.  I think it is fascinating and I love to trace the history of movements and how things start.  And I think in Christchurch – Canterbury – there is actually a legacy if you back even much further and I am thinking in particular about Sir Angus Tait and Tait Communications which has for decades has been a very large company and I think that it actually – because it has employed many people who have gone on to have their own start-ups.  It’s just fascinating think – I am researching his life which is why I have this special interest but he came back from World War II and had this special interest in radios and started to build these ways to communicate, you know, in taxis – and this is like disruptive technology of its day because there weren’t really handsets in taxis or ways of communicating and in the 1950s he is there pushing the boundaries based here in Christchurch.  Isn’t that fascinating you know, like literally 70 years ago he is working away and I just wonder if people like that – I am sure there are other examples – were kind of becoming models and setting the patterns for what we are now seeing, generations that have learned from people like that.

Absolutely.  And I think Kiwis are very good at disruption and thinking outside the square and coming up with new ways of approaching things.  And that is something that we need to get into our kids as well.  I really believe that the future of Christchurch and Canterbury is around Tech.  We are doing this pivot from being a typical agricultural based economy with farming, with dairy, with tourism – making use of our natural resources.  Unfortunately that is limited with what you can do there – it is not scalable.  So Tech is the obvious answer to that as a scalable future for Christchurch.  So I think we need to encourage our kids and more importantly their parents, to understand that, and to understand that Tech is I believe a way forward for them to have a prosperous future.  And Tech is not – there is this mind-set that Tech is about teenage boys sitting in a corner playing on a laptop.  That is not what it is, there are so many different avenues into Tech – there is the marketing of Tech, there is design, there is graphic design, yes there is programming, there is project management – there are so many different aspects to it that people can fit into.  We need to get that into schools and we really need to get kids and their parents understanding that.  And part of that is telling the story because even parents locally don’t know about these success stories and they don’t know that technology is this great pathway for their kids so that is part of the challenge.

Which is why something that I mentioned before like code club – teaching primary school kids to code.  That is kind of that mind-set shift isn’t it.

Oh absolutely, I actually went into my daughter’s school and taught code club for a semester because I wanted to get it into the school and no one was going to do it.  Unfortunately I discovered that I am not very well suited to teaching Children – I probably would have killed one of them if I had stayed much longer!

That would have been counterproductive!

So yea, I stopped that but I saw the results over the semester or two that I spent there – the kids picked it up so quickly and the loved it.  And their parents got it as well – and that is one of the most important things – they saw their kids programming and they went, “hey, my kid can do it”.


Seeds is a podcast which has more than 40 episodes released and a new one each Tuesday talking with inspiring people making a positive impact with their lives. You can access the interview in most podcast apps by searching for “Seeds” and it is also available at www.seeds.libsyn.com.

 

Showcasing New Zealand Tech

Join a group of New Zealand Tech Alliance communities to celebrate the launch of the AI Forum’s research report, Artificial Intelligence: Shaping a Future New Zealand. Executive Director, Ben Reid will discuss key highlights, including the potential impact and opportunities for New Zealand. FinTechNZ’s Executive Director, James Brown will discuss the growth of the FinTech space and what FinTechNZ are planning over the next year.

Plus,    hear the latest news from the IoT AllianceEdTechNZTechWomen and more. NZTech CEO, Graeme Muller will also share an update and explore the vision for New Zealand as a digital nation.

Date: Thursday 17th May
Time: 
5.00pm – 7.00pm
Location:  Canterbury Club Inc, 129 Cambridge Terrace, Christchurch

Chch tech brains team up to solve city’s challenges in hackathon

This article is supplied by LEW KAI PING from BIZEDGE, MARCH 20, 2018


Christchurch is one step closer to solutions for the city’s future challenges thanks to a 48-hour hackathon, hosted by Ministry of Awesome, which brought the best and brightest tech minds in Canterbury together at Epic Innovation Campus from March 16 to March 18.

Powered by Christchurch City Council and Canterbury Tech, over 50 tech workers and community volunteers participated in Future City Activator, with the youngest just 13 years old.

Together with leaders from the public sector they worked in groups under high pressure to create big ideas to some of the city’s most pressing social and environmental challenges.

Canterbury tech chairman David Carter says, “Events such as Future City Activator empowers members of our community to have a voice in the future of the city and participate in solving real-world problems that affect us all.”

During the hackathon, teams addressed five issues ranging from transport and housing to land, water, mental health and biodiversity.

Team WaiWatch was announced the overall winner for their innovative solution to the problem of inefficient and high volume residential water use which is the most per person in New Zealand.

WaiWatch suggested a mobile app and smart sensors on each of Christchurch’s household water meters for data collection – with the data being used by City Council and consumers to monitor their own water usage.

“WaiWatch takes Christchurch water monitoring into the 21st century,” Christchurch City Council sustainability principle advisor Tony Moore says.

“It is vital that we can accurately measure water use so we can better manage this precious resource for the future.”

“WaiWatch delivers an innovative, yet simple idea that has the potential to benefit every household and business in the region. Christchurch and Canterbury needs to watch its water.”

WaiWatch will now go through a formal application for potential funding from Christchurch City Council’s Innovation and Sustainability Fund to help bring their idea to life.

Other creative solutions included:

  • an online platform to put Cantabrians in touch with each other as a solution to social isolation
  • a mobile app that helps house owners locate and report on housing quality issues, such as drafts and mold, and easy to implement solutions
  • a mobile app that supports front line professionals to direct homeless people to the right services
  • a social bike transport platform to encourage bike usage amongst company employees
  • a platform that enables people to understand their carbon footprint and incentives them to choose greener transportation option
  • software to enable bike-sharing, gather data and keep the city free from ‘wandering’ bikes

The solutions demonstrate that Christchurch’s tech and innovation community is world class according to Ministry of Awesome CEO Marian Johnson.

“Christchurch is the second largest exporter of tech in New Zealand.

“Events like Future City Activator are a great way to get those powerful brains and this close-knit community working collaboratively to support the city they love,” Johnson says.

“The result of the hackathon are tangible ideas that can make a significant contribution to Christchurch.”

The five issues Future City Activator Addressed were:

Land and Water

  • Canterbury has the highest water use per person in NZ and a drying climate
  • Local rivers and streams are polluted

Biodiversity

  • New Zealand has lost most of its native plants and animals – we want to “restore the dawn chorus” (people need to plant for birds / biodiversity) and manage pests

Social Isolation

  • Canterbury has the highest youth suicide rate in the world because of high levels of social isolation and poor coverage of support services
  • Growing rates of social isolation especially for elderly – communities to be more connected

Transport Education

  • At 18 tonnes per person, NZ has one of the highest carbon footprints per person in the world
  • 65% of the cities’ carbon footprint is from transport despite cycleways and bus infrastructure – New Zealand needs to find ways to get we need to get people out of cars (bus, bike, walk or sharing)

Housing

  • Highest asthma rate in the world (poorly heated, cold damp homes)
  • Highest winter mortality rate in the world (1600 per year), 4 times the number of road deaths (old and young die in cold damp homes over winter)

Social Enterprise – in New Zealand & around the world.

Our monthly speaker blog series picks up on themes that were discussed at our Cluster networking events. This month Steven Moe shares his expertise in Social Enterprise. For your free copy of the Social Enterprise in New Zealand handbook, please contact Steven.


One of the interesting things about being involved in a relatively new sector like social enterprise is that there are often assumptions about what is being talked about. This article deconstructs one of the most commonly misunderstood points – what actually is a “social enterprise”?  In doing this there are a lot of concepts and ideas that will be thrown on to the table – some of them contradictory – but it is hoped that by doing this there will be a clearer understanding about the issues involved and that will foster better discussion and understanding.

The term “social enterprise” will likely have different meanings for different people, depending on the background and experience of the person hearing that term for the first time.  As one objective reference point outside of New Zealand, it is useful to see how the European Social Enterprise Law Association defined it in their paper, “Developing legal systems which support social enterprise growth”.  They said there were three key elements:

entrepreneurial dimension: engagement in continuous economic activity;
social dimension: primary and explicitly social purpose; and
governance dimension: mechanisms to ensure priority of social purpose.

They conclude that a good definition is: “an autonomous organisation that combines a social purpose with entrepreneurial activity“. It is interesting in this definition that there is no mention of the organisation being exclusively not for profit or for profit.

Canada has many similarities to New Zealand, so it is good to look at some of the thinking going on in that jurisdiction. The Canadian Community Economic Development Network includes a description on their website (https://ccednet-rcdec.ca).  It gives a slightly different angle with more of an emphasis on the non-profit nature:  “The term “social enterprise” is used to refer to business ventures operated by non-profits, whether they are societies, charities, or co-operatives. These businesses sell goods or provide services in the market for the purpose of creating a blended return on investment, both financial and social. Their profits are returned to the business or to a social purpose, rather than maximizing profits to shareholders.”  It goes on to say: “Others use a broader definition that includes privately owned ventures that have a very strong blended financial and socially responsible return on investment.

Closer to home, Akina (www.akina.org.nz) has been doing a great job and worked for years to promote social enterprises in New Zealand.  The definition they put forward on their website seems to focus more on a distinction between an entity which is “for profit” and one which is “for purpose”.  They summarise this down to: “Social enterprises are purpose-driven organisations that trade to deliver social and environmental impact”.

All these definitions are helpful and, focussing on the point of difference, it comes down to some part of the entity being involved in an aspect that is more than just the traditional goal of making money for shareholders. But there is clearly a spectrum ranging from “self focussed” to “other focussed” and it is worth asking at what point an organisation crosses over and can be given the label of a social enterprise.  For example, is there a certain percentage of “good” that they need to be involved in – and how is that defined?  How do you reconcile this focus on a “purpose” with the fact that simply providing employment for people is very important as that helps individuals provide for their families and communities to thrive.  Where is the cut-off point?

Turning to that idea of a spectrum on which different legal forms of entity sit, it can perhaps be described like this – with some overly broad characterisations thrown in as headings to make the point.

Really ‘good’
Not for profit – these are usually traditional charities and do not exist to create a profit but instead help disadvantaged or others.

‘Good’
Social enterprises – these have community purposes at their heart but operate as businesses and do make profits that support their purpose.

Pretty ‘good’
Businesses which donate – these are companies focus on profits but do set aside a proportion of their profits for some community purpose as well.

Not as ‘good’
Profit focussed companies – these have no charitable or community purpose (except perhaps a token gift to disaster relief from time to time).

Is such an analysis really fair? It seems to overly weight the “goodness” of some organisations over others.  There is a danger of going too far either way.  Obviously the above is a really crude analysis, but it has been done through certain lenses.  As mentioned above, the fact that an organisation offers employment to staff and contributes some product surely has immense positive value.  So the challenging point is perhaps to take these lenses off and not to think in these sorts of terms at all.  Instead, work out how to encourage all organisations to begin to take on board some of the concepts underlying social enterprise motivations.  Even a “for profit” company could switch its sourcing of products and services in order to help some social enterprises become economically viable.  How do you increase engagement with such companies, so it is not just left to “social enterprises” to be the ones who are seen to have some responsibility in this area?

One example of a label which some companies are applying for to show where they fit on the spectrum is “B Corporations”.  It is worth describing them in some detail as it is another dimension to consider.  The B stands for “Benefit” and it involves a certification system for companies which meet certain criteria that show they have a focus on more than just profits.  B Corporations are certified by B Lab which is a not for profit organisation. Probably the most famous example of a company which has done this is Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.  The B Corporation website says: “B Corps meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability, and aspire to use the power of markets to solve social and environmental problems”.  To learn more about this have a look here: http://www.bcorporation.net/

When I first became involved in this sector I was confused by the terms and concepts so I hope this article will help to explain some of the things to consider regarding what a “social enterprise” actually is. The great part is that this is a growing and evolving area so it is actually possible to be part of the debate and even shape what happens next.  In a New Zealand context it will be important to look at all the different definitions and discussions overseas and use that as a basis for constructive dialogue.  This article has provided an overview of some of the key issues with the purpose of enabling a more informed discussion.


Steven Moe is a Senior Associate at Parry Field and brings a different perspective having returned to NZ after 12 years overseas.  He loves working in the charitable sector as it can make a real impact for good for many people.  Steven studied at Canterbury University and spent more than a decade at international law firm Norton Rose Fulbright in Tokyo (4 years), London (3 years) and Sydney (4 years).  Before that he spent 3 years in Wellington at a national firm.  He recently spoke at the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand annual conference in Melbourne about Social Enterprises. For more info visit: https://changeforgood.parryfield.com

Chch Tech Stories: Orbica

This blog post is brought to you by Mark Denholm from The Talent Hive. Specialists in connecting IT & Engineering professionals with the right career opportunities. Christchurch’s tech sector is proud to be world class, connected and creative. The Talent Hive has been working on a blog series with a number of Tech employers in the region and we’re delighted to share those with you over the next few weeks.


First up is Orbica, New Zealand’s premiere location data intelligence consultants. Orbica take raw geo-location data and transform it into an asset. Mark spoke to top Orbicans Santosh (geospatial architect) and Kurt (CEO) about the future of satellite data.

How excited are you about 5G and what will it mean for Orbica?

K: It gives us access to more data, and it’s with data that the magic happens. It comes down to turning big data into big information. So, the Internet of Things – how do you actually use that within a business to improve operational efficiency at the executive level and get visibility over the operation?

Here’s how: pretty much all data is linked somewhere. If a data set hasn’t got coordinates or an address, you can normally reference it with a data set that does have that information. So, very little data in today’s world has no value. There’s always value by putting it on a map and unlocking its potential with map-based analytics and visualisation.

S: I’ve been a maps specialist for a long time. I love maps. I love looking at maps. Increasingly, what we’re seeing now is a more mainstream application of maps. Almost every app that you see out there has a map associated with it somewhere or other. It’s in front of people’s eyes. That’s generating a lot more interest in viewing data in a spatial format. And so that, for me, is pretty eye opening and inspiring compared to where we were 10-15 years ago, before Google Maps or any of these other things came out.

Are consumers wary of the monumental power of geo-targeting and other data-harnessing technology?

K: I think that what consumers may not realise is that everyone is using GIS – they’re using geo-spatial tech – it’s just not framed in that way. Our job is to take that data and make it useful, to put the tools and the power of the data in people’s hands, which is where we see the opportunity.

For us, data drives our business and determines what we can achieve for people. That’s exciting. We’re on an exponential data curve, which unlocks the opportunities for us to impart what we know to other people’s businesses and organisations.

Given how quickly technology advances and moves, is the industry being held back a little bit by a lack of regulation or an understanding of how the technology can be utilised? Are you finding projects are being held back or people aren’t doing things specifically because of the risk?

K: The regulation, probably not so much. Actually, it’s education. So, it’s educating people at bigger organisations and government organisations and big utility owners, people who are custodians of large data sets. It’s about opening this up and creating a data commons, almost.

The technology is there. Some of it’s a bit immature but it’s coming along fast. We just need to get the education and value across. For instance, look at address databases. There is no single address database that serves the purpose of all people who require that data.

Look at sales information for houses – most of that is hard to get. It’s locked up in big organisations like CoreLogic and overseas in many countries where geospatial data is open. At the moment, you basically can’t get the data here unless you’ve got millions of dollars to spend.

S: Opening up the data also increases the frequency of usage. So, if it’s open, more people are going to use it and more and more eyes looking at the data are going to find more faults, which is good. Data is always going to have faults. But more eyes looking at it automatically creates a QA/QC process of fixing it in feedback. Let’s fix the data!

For the general good of the technology and the progress of technologies, data needs to be open.

Is Orbica made for these times?

K: We’re trying to become the trusted advisors for imparting geographic knowledge to businesses. As a team, we keep scaling up.

We brought on an AI specialist. He has been with us for about five months and it’s been amazing. He brings a different skill set than the rest of the team and the combination is where the magic happens. You know, we’re used to data in a table, and we go, well, here’s a terabyte of data sitting in GIS format, what can you do?

It’s fascinating, and it’s unlocking very interesting discussions in the business. Within a few months, hopefully we can start to let people know what we’re doing in AI, once we’ve prototyped. We’re going to be different than our competitors and I’m super excited by what we’re seeing and what we can unlock.

Those new skills enable you to start asking more questions, questions that you wouldn’t have even thought of asking before, and that creates opportunity doesn’t it?

K: Yeah. I mean, the other guy that started recently, Andy, he’s got a Masters in Geophysics, and that’s fascinating in our world. He’s a GI specialist, he’s been on the GIS tools for a while, but he’s got a geophysical degree, which means he understands acoustic signals very well and that translates into an understanding of GPS signal. Couple this with his understanding of field data collection and it’s just augmenting the team. It’s an exciting place to be. It’s fantastic.

S: Right now, we are more of an IT company doing geography, whereas we would like to seen as a geography company using IT.

K: We want to develop and inspire geo-spatial champions, and internally we want to have geo-spatial thought leaders. We want to be on that cutting edge and known for “Hey, you guys are the guys that do amazing geography things and map things using all this cool stuff.”

At the moment, our perfect client is someone with a lot of data and they want to do stuff with that data, whether it’s management, analytics, collection or visualisation.

We work with them in a very agile way. We hop in there, we workshop. They go, “Hey, we’ve got some paypoints around the business, we’ve got these pockets of information, we keep collecting this data and dumping it in a database – we don’t know what to do with it.” Come in, let’s build some interesting rapport, let’s build some trust, let’s build an agile framework in which we operate, let’s see what we can do together. Let’s really innovate and push boundaries.

That’s our perfect client, and where that’s happened already this year, the outcomes have been very successful.

S: And it’s also part of engaging the research community. A lot of researchers out there are doing great research work, but again, it sits on the shelf in a library. How do we get that out? How do we make that useful for the community, and how do you make the community better with all this awesome research?

K: Commercially, there’s value to be gained from that amazing piece of work that sits on a dusty shelf at a university. That is bleeding edge, and we love to be there making the technology applicable and accessible to businesses that can take an amazing piece of research and actually implement it in some kind of cloud-based software platform that can deliver a tonne of value every day.

 

The agile career of today

Our monthly speaker blog series picks up on themes that were discussed at our Cluster networking events. This month Shary Vargo from Vargo + Lewis shares her insight into agile career paths. 


In days gone by a career path was linear, there was a hierarchy to work your way up and a perceived sideways or backward step could be seen as a failure. Today careers are varied and ever moving, what we like to refer to as “agile”. The hierarchical ladder is less common; instead, we look at acquiring experiences for career growth and development.

So often we see technically brilliant people move into management or leadership positions because that’s the road most travelled, whether they have the desire or skills to fulfil that type of role or not. As we experience skill shortages in New Zealand smart leaders are addressing the need to challenge staff by matching their motivated skills with development opportunities that meet key business objectives as well as staff future aspirations.

An agile career path is about uncovering opportunities that will help you towards your goals in a less linear fashion. Ideally, these will also benefit the business you’re working in as opportunities are identified and proactively pursued.

When considering career steps, it is important to think widely about the options. Here are some options to reflect upon.


Current Role: remain in place

For now, your current role gives you enough growth opportunities to remain fit and challenged.

Realign: move down

Personal priorities, health and other work-life balance issues may require considering contributions to your organisation that demand less responsibility – short or long term.


Enhance: grow current role

This option involves growing your key skills and interest areas by taking on more of what positively challenges you and negotiating out of tasks that no longer motivate you.

Relocate: move business unit/area

Uncovering options in different business areas that will use or build upon your current skills and knowledge base. It may be this shift provides increased future career opportunities. This option may require a geographical shift.


Vertical: stepping up

Seeking roles or functions with more responsibility, directed towards your career path.

Redirect: uncover a new path

Changing career path with your current employer may involve utilising your industry knowledge base within a different field. This option is likely to involve re-training or seeking new qualifications.


Explore: look around

Involves seeking opportunities within your organisation to test out areas of interest that fit your profile. These may include project work or a secondment that give you the freedom to try without commitment.

Propose: create new horizons

After consultation with decision-makers, submit a business case for creating a new role or function that fits you and benefits your employer.


Lateral: step across

This option gives you an opportunity to extend your current skills and knowledge base within a new role that is at a similar level and responsibility.

External: move out

Seeking a better career fit outside the organisation or an entrepreneurial opportunity that fits your desired future.


As an individual considering the next step in your career, take time to reflect on what you really enjoy in your work and what you want to do less of. Look for options outside the traditional and be agile, creating connections to new experiences and growth opportunities that pave the way to that career designed for you, by you. The support of an objective career coach can be hugely useful in the pursuit of these plans.

Has your recent engagement survey revealed staff want more support with career development? Or maybe you’ve discovered the need for career development conversations in retrospect when a valued team member has already made a decision to leave your organisation?

Career planning and development conversations are critical, yet managers often avoid them due to a lack of expertise in facilitating such a conversation. Experienced leaders use career planning to help retain talented people who want to progress. Losing talent is costly to the business. Longer term, people may move on but the business has benefited in the meantime plus built a supportive and empowered culture. Such cultures are comprised of agile people who look for ways to achieve business objectives while developing their own careers.

This article was contributed by Shary Vargo of Vago + Lewis. Contact Vargo + Lewis to discuss how they can work with you to provide the essential tools and expertise managers need for taking the lead in those critical career conversations. As experienced career coaches, they provide objectivity, key resources and strategic thinking that benefits both individuals and organisations.

Emerging Tech in Health Symposium 2018

 

How will healthcare be provided in over 10+ years? What part will technology play in the transformations that will occur through to the year 2030?

This event will focus on models of care, and how they will change and be delivered. The presentations will have a clinical and patient outcome focus whilst highlighting how technology will be developed and used to support these outcomes.

The programme is under development and will be available for download by March 2018. Event updates will be announced on the HiNZ website or NZHIT website.

Presenters will be chosen for having hands-on experience in this topic, as well as those with national and global perspectives. Government agency speakers will cover areas of policy and regulation so the programme will provide an interesting blend of subject matter to keep everyone interested throughout the day. All presentations will be required to have a balance of clinical, consumer and technology content – particularly in relation to models of care, clinical outcomes as enabled by technology.

Event details
Sudima, Christchurch Airport
Tuesday 22 May
Registration 9am to 9.30am
Presentations 9.30am to 5pm
Networking 5pm to 6.30pm

REGISTER NOW – tickets for NZHIT members only $169 (non-members pay $369)

Networking event
At the end of the day’s programme there will be a networking event open to all delegates, which provides an opportunity for a relaxed period to mix and mingle, discuss areas of interest from speakers, and network with colleagues from the health sector and wider tech sector.

ETIH18 is part of NZ Tech Week’18. The following day (Wed 23 May) will be an on-site Health Tech Tour – details coming soon.

Ticket prices
Thanks for our sponsors, ticket prices are a low $169 for HiNZ & NZHIT members. The non-member rate is $369. Join HiNZ – it’s only $198 – to get the lower rate.

This event is a collaboration between HiNZ & NZHIT. If you have questions about NZHIT membership (or any other queries) please email Talie on admin@nzhit.nz. If you have questions about HiNZ membership please email Gloria on admin@hinz.org.nz

ACCOMMODATION
Monday 21st or Tuesday 22nd May 2018
Superior Room – $189.00 per room, per night
Executive – $235.00 per room, per night

***Special discounted rate of 10% off our best available rate. Subject to availability at time of booking. Please book early to avoid disappointment.***

Please book online at http://www.sudimahotels.com/ and enter the promo code HINZ18

Attendee comments about 2017 Emerging Tech in Health Symposium
The day was an insightful look at what is happening now in NZ and each speaker gave an interesting perspective on where healthcare is moving. The event gave me (as a novice in this area) motivation to continue to be courageous within my own organisation for technological solutions.” Sheryl Hunt | Nurse Consultant, Strategic Workforce | Director of Nursing & Midwifery Office Capital & Coast DHB

“Thanks for an enjoyable and enlightening day. My colleagues and I came away with a better understanding of the opportunities technology provides to improve the care of our patients , as well as a vision of how different healthcare could look if we set direction now to make best use of technology in the future. The benefits for Allied health and Nursing clinicians in attending an event like this, is the exposure to the incredibly exciting opportunities technology provides for them, the opportunity to network with people who are the innovators and early adopters, who can open our eyes to the amazing potential future of healthcare.” Andrew Harris, Service Manager- Allied and Community Services, Hutt Valley DHB

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.

Kind regards
Talie Schmidt-Geen
Email: admin@nzhit.nz

Blastoff: what do New Zealand’s new space laws mean for other emergent technologies?

A key characteristic of so-called ‘exponential technologies’ is that they change what is possible extremely quickly – and it can be fascinating to observe how fast or slowly governments react. Lawyer Steven Moe looks at the developing world of space law, and questions whether similar moves are needed for other exponential technologies on our immediate horizon.

It is hard to imagine that Captain Kirk worried too much about legislation governing space travel on the Enterprise (apart from the ‘Prime Directive’, which was broken most episodes). Yet here in New Zealand we have some new space laws which have just been introduced in a bid to provide a framework and regulation around this burgeoning industry.

Just a few days before Christmas The Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Act 2017 commenced. Passed earlier in the year, it supports the development of the New Zealand space industry and opens up the possibility for New Zealand to be seen as even more of a world leader in this area than it already is. Many will be familiar with Rocket Lab, founded by Peter Beck, and these new laws are directly related to (and a result of) the success of that company. One of the key purposes in the new Act states it is there to “facilitate the development of a space industry and provide for its safe and secure operation”. When announcing the changes the press release issued at the time said:

“The New Zealand Government supports the development of an internationally credible, competitive and well connected NZ-based space economy that can make a difference in our everyday lives. Our regulatory regime is the key to making this happen. It enables the growth of a safe, responsible and secure space industry that meets our international obligations and manages any liability arising from our obligations as a Launching State.”

The new Act focuses on introducing rules around space launches and covers a variety of topics that were not previously covered (or had even been thought about before) such as:

  • launches into outer space
  • requirements for launch facilities
  • payloads (eg satellites) and high altitude vehicles (HAVs).

It does this through six types of licences or permits (for now, Rocket Lab still operates under a separate agreement it has with the government and will have six months to apply for a licence). The licensing and permit process will be administered by the newly created “New Zealand Space Agency” that sits within MBIE. This legislation has to be among the first to deal with the need to have a mitigation plan in place for orbital debris.

The regulatory impact statement issued in August 2017 makes for interesting reading as it outlines the background, reasons for the legislation and likely activity. For example, how much detail should applicants need to provide when applying for a licence or permit? Requiring too much information might put applicants off, but too little might not lead to well informed decisions. In the end, a pragmatic approach seems to have been chosen after consultation with the industry. It will be a case of watching to see how many applicants come forward or whether there are barriers to their participation. It is clear that the government is looking beyond just being a launch site – the new space agency states: “We believe New Zealand can become a significant player in the global commercial space launch industry. However, the opportunities for New Zealand are much broader than launch activities.”

It is worth pointing out that New Zealand was party to much earlier treaties, such as The Agreement on the Rescue of Astronauts, the Return of Astronauts and the Return of Objects Launched into Outer Space from 1969. But it is certainly hard to imagine even a few years ago that we would now have legislation introduced dealing with “celestial bodies”, “space objects” and “high altitude vehicles”, yet here we are. If you had some space ambitions then it is best to read up on the requirements accessible here. There will be a review completed after three years.

EMELINE PAAT-DAHLSTROM. PHOTO: SUPPLIED.

Great, but what next? This is space we are talking about after all…

Of course, one of the next areas to consider will be the law surrounding space and planets – this is beyond just New Zealand of course. But how will the legal system in relation to planets develop? Will the powers that control resources here on Earth end up having more control than others on planets “up there”? After all, how do you legislate over the legal jurisdiction in outer space when it is off world territory – who owns asteroids, planets, the sun? The closest there is at present is the Outer Space Treaty, a multi-lateral international treaty which operates on the idea that space is for everyone. That’s a nice concept but what will it mean when we practically can go into orbit and start a mining operation on the Moon?

I recently interviewed Emeline Paat-Dahlstrom for a podcast I host about purpose and understanding what people have learned on their journeys. One of the first people to arrive in New Zealand on an Edmund Hillary Fellowship with a three year Global Impact Visa, Emeline is a co-founder of SpaceBase and co-wrote the 2013 book Realizing Tomorrow: The Path to Private Space Flight.

SpaceBase is aimed at “co-creating a global Space Ecosystem to serve entrepreneurs in emerging space industries – starting in New Zealand. Our goal is to provide access to training, networking, technical services, and investment opportunities where they are needed most.” I asked Emeline about the issue of who will own what up in space. Here’s what she told me:

“Really the reason why we are doing this is the democratisation of space, for everyone.  And when we say for “everyone” – today you can really see a bright future with all of the things that are happening in terms of the space technology that is being brought forward in the US and China and Russia – but I am still not quite sure if the rest of the world is actually going to be in the same playing field.  So when I mean a bright future I want everybody – and unfortunately today, you can see that gap widening, and so I don’t want to put that to chance.”

These are certainly challenging ideas to think through now in the relatively early days of space travel and exploration. As New Zealand leads the way and becomes a more widely known launch site it would be great if there could be a corresponding advocacy at an international level for a discussion of these other issues as well.

The full interview with Emeline on this and other space-related topics is accessible here.

How might this response impact other exponential technologies?

One real point of interest here is the extent to which commercial application of emerging and new technologies can lead to a quick reaction by government. Emerging technologies are coming out all the time now – to become exponential technologies they need to have the characteristic of rapid improvement in price/performance over time. The famous “Moore’s law” is that every 18 months the number of transistors per square inch on circuits will double. Many of these new exponential technologies were highlighted at the SingularityU conference held in Christchurch just over a year ago (some great resources and content including videos from that event are here).  They will be the subject of the next such Singularity conference in this region which is being held in Sydney in late February – for more on that one click here.

The example of the new space law shows that there can be a relatively quick legislative response to new developments – in this case a one month consultation in May with the Act commencing in December. Increasingly, the government will need to keep an eye on developments like Bitcoin which quickly become more than just talk and instead offer new challenges to the way things have been done in the past.

In areas where there are these new emerging technologies or exponential technologies, there is now some policy and legislative catch-up to be done:

  • Cryptocurrency: A time traveller from even a few months ago would be shocked at the amount of print devoted to Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The Financial Markets Authority has issued some guidance about Initial Coin Offerings and services related to cryptocurrencies. But what is still missing is more in depth analysis of how the government itself will react to a new way of trading that doesn’t really involve it in the way that traditional transactions have.
  • Blockchain: Sitting behind cryptocurrency is the real game changer: Blockchain technology. What are the policy and legal changes needed at a national level to deal with a decentralised network of data?
  • Artificial Intelligence: There are many examples but to pick one, the idea of financial advice being given by robots has resulted in consultation which started in June 2017; in October the FMA noted that it “has decided to grant an exemption to enable personalised robo-advice”. In what other fields might advice be given that will need similar changes? How about my own area, the legal industry? This is something I am watching closely as a co-founder of Active Associate, a legal-tech startup improving access to legal information through AI powered conversations.
  • Autonomous vehicles: These are coming, so if I am reading the newspaper (on a device of course), while my car drives me along the road when it swerves to avoid hitting a cat and kills a pedestrian, who is responsible? The Government provided the following comment in this release at the end of last year leaving the question open: “There are no obvious legal barriers to the deployment of autonomous vehicles for testing in New Zealand. Unlike some countries, NZ law has no explicit requirement for a driver to be present. However, autonomous vehicles could raise issues about who is at fault if they were to crash.”
  • Big Data and Privacy: Think about the last time you were asked to click “accept” on some terms and conditions – I would say the chances of actually reading the privacy provisions in those are extremely low.  We are collectively giving up our privacy in exchange for convenience that apps, software and new technology provides. Does the law need to respond – or are we kind of OK with that?

Such ideas demonstrate the importance of considering again where we are, and where we want to be. The new laws around space have been introduced fairly quickly which shows what is possible. Maybe it is time that some of the other technologies mentioned above were looked at again and a proactive and world leading approach was taken to ensure their full potential can be reached here in New Zealand.

This article has been written by Steven Moe –  guest writer for Kiwibank

View the full article

Hi Tech Awards

Entries are now open for the 2018 NZ Hi-Tech Awards

View all the categories on the Hi Tech website.

Entering the Hi-Tech Awards gives you:

  • Recognition
  • Publicity
  • Networking
  • Opportunity to refine your value proposition
  • Exposure to investors

Entries are securely reviewed by our panels of local and international judges; it’s a great opportunity to get your business in front of some of the biggest names in the business.

You can also nominate a company or individual who you think is worthy here. We will follow up with the nominee and give them a gentle nudge to complete the entry process online. We really want to make a strong push this year to celebrate and encourage diversity in our industry. We would love it if you could help us by nominating companies and individuals who you think are leading the way.

Want to know more?

Check out website to learn more about the different categories. Not sure of which category to enter? Get in touch with us to discuss which categories you’re best suited to. We’d also recommend joining our LinkedIn group and following us on Twitter to keep up to date with the 2018 Awards programme.

Make sure you also visit our website to learn more about:

  • Why you should enter
  • Nominating a company or individual
  • Critical entry and event dates
  • Entry categories & criteria
  • Tips on making the most out of being an entrant, finalist and winner.

Whatever type of hi-tech company you’ve got, you will find a suitable category to enter. We have updated some of the categories for 2018, so be sure to check the criteria.

Entering also gives you the opportunity to take part in three outstanding events:

  • The Entrants Cocktail Events (to announce finalists) held simultaneously in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch on Wednesday 28 March 2018.
  • The Gala Awards Dinner in Auckland at the Horncastle Arena in Christchurch on Friday 25 May 2018.
  • The exclusive NZ Hi-Tech Awards Alumni Event for entrants from 2017 and 2018 only. You have to enter to be invited to this complimentary event on Thursday 24 May, 2018.

Important dates:

  • Nominations of a third party close 5pm, Monday 19 Feb – this allows us enough time for us to follow up with nominees to ensure they have time to complete their entry
  • Entries close 5pm, Monday, 5 March 2018

If you have any further questions, get in touch via email or give Bob Pinchin or Liz Fox a call on 09 984 4140.

All the best,
Jennifer Rutherford
Chair
NZ Hi-Tech Trust