Andy Hamilton: We're still a long way from realising the goal

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The Icehouse's Andy Hamilton sets out his vision

Andy Hamilton CEO of Icehouse business growth centre. Photo / Jane Ussher
Andy Hamilton CEO of Icehouse business growth centre. Photo / Jane Ussher

We think we're bloody great, but we've got a hell of a lot to work on.

In reality, great things are happening in the Kiwi business community but we're a long way away from being able to rest on our laurels. It is strikingly challenging and all consuming building a global business from NZ.

Sure, many of us recognise how difficult it is, but in taking action as part of the 2013 Innovation Report I challenge myself and other aspirants for New Zealand to work together to create shared goals that will help New Zealand turning invention, creativity and passion into wealth for our country and ourselves.

Two areas where we currently fall down in are collaboration and measurement. These concepts in isolation are worthless, but harnessed with a purpose of making an impact and we have something to cherish.

We need to be able to accurately and honestly measure all economic development initiatives run in New Zealand, to know if they're working and where they can be improved and leveraged.

They should only exist to make a difference and should be cut if they don't produce the result.

When we talk about collaboration, we loosely mean, (if we're honest) the value each party gets out of the association. We all know there are no free lunches and though this makes sense, if we really want to work to the sum of all parts I call us to look past our competitive approach and work even when we can't see individual bottom line gains.

We should aim to do this domestically at an organisational level, but also by helping the little guys. Why can't corporations open their video conferencing facilities for start-ups who can't afford it? Why can't we collaborate more closely on how to fund programmes, rather than rob Peter to pay Paul? And when we do work together, let's agree on a number, a date and a measure.

I'm hopeful the Wynyard Innovation Quarter Precinct on Auckland's Waterfront, and the development of a collaborative standard to measure Kiwi businesses of international quality will be an opportunity for the Icehouse to lead in creating shared opportunities. Yes, these will also be a wasted opportunity if we don't have clear measures, and hold ourselves accountable to them.

The Icehouse is releasing its first annual Impact survey next month, assessing how our programmes have directly affected the growth and experiences of the businesses that have engaged with us. There are gaps that we're honest about, but these create a clear direction for areas that both us and other business growth providers can learn from, and measure their own effectiveness against.

We will also be releasing later this year a clear set of criteria of what it takes for business owners to achieve an international quality measure. We are working on this collaboratively with partners such as NZTE, Kea and a raft of successful executives like Don Braid of Mainfreight who are contributing openly and with generosity, because it is important that we get this right for our kids now and in the future.

Andy Hamilton is founding CEO of the Icehouse

- NZ Herald

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