Future thought

18 November 2016 | Read time: 3 minutes

Some of this country and the world’s most innovative and influential thinkers will help chart the future direction of the Challenge at our first Think Tank in 2017.

Director Margaret Hyland says the purpose of Think Tank is to identify a small number of mission-led big ideas that are ambitious, targeted and can help shape our future economy.

“Bringing together such a diverse range of future-focussed, big picture thinkers will help us address some of the big questions we need to answer to build a future, high-tech economy.

“We want to find out what are the ‘moon shots’ – the really big ideas that could help transform our economy. What are the key sectors and industries where New Zealand’s physical science and engineering capacity could mean an advantage in global markets?”

Think Tank will gather entrepreneurs, emerging scientists, visionary industry leaders alongside economists, government policy leaders, pre-eminent science and engineering researchers and other thought leaders from New Zealand and other developed economies.

A key plank in our approach to research refresh, it will provide the vision that will help to ensure we can deliver on our mandate to deliver bold, exciting science and engineering research to create new opportunities for New Zealand firms over the next 10-20 years.

Think Tank will comprise a series of events, which will be held over one week in Auckland, and be supported by regional forums hosted by Challenge partners across New Zealand.

Margaret says it’s important that Think Tank panellists are well informed in advance.

“They will need to hit the ground running and this means having a good knowledge of the New Zealand innovation ecosystem, our economy and Vision Māutaranga aspirations.”

Panellists will be provided with background on the New Zealand economy, the role and scope of the Challenge, our current areas of research and the local high-tech landscape.

“It’s just as important that we get some tangible outcomes that can be easily applied to help us realise our vision of creating a vibrant and prosperous technology driven economy.”

A white paper outlining the panellists’ findings will be presented to the Challenge Board, who will work with Challenge management to incorporate these into our on-going strategy.

“It is going to be a busy few months leading up to our first ever Think Tank but the insights and knowledge gained will make all the hard work worthwhile. I look forward to announcing some of the internationally renowned panellists as they are confirmed over coming weeks.”