A superstar of the business and technology world arrives in Tauranga this week to share tips on how best to trumpet the local market on an international stage.

Former executive director and chief technology officer for Lonely Planet Gus Balbontin is keynote speaker at a forum being held as part of Techweek'18 - an annual festival of innovation held throughout New Zealand.

More than 500 events will be held nationally, including the launch of Techweek'18 in Auckland on Monday morning, which is expected to host Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern as a hologram.

Balbontin will speak on Thursday about how regional New Zealand competes in the world and how best to manage disruption and innovation on a global market in Tauranga.


The Australian-based Argentine is known for his influence in developing products and technologies for companies such as Google X, Nokia, Apple and Amazon. He is also involved in the international start-up scene as a founder, investor and adviser.

"Innovation is the result of three human qualities: curiosity, courage and resilience. To unlock growth, we need to encourage curiosity, wonder 'what if' and do things we've never done before to get the results we've never got before," Balbontin said.

"We also need to try new things outside our comfort zone and [have] the resilience to understand if you are trying something new, it might not work out every time. You just need to patch up your ego and have another crack."

Balbontin is currently Entrepreneur in Residence at Melbourne's Victoria University, Innovator in Residence for Study Queensland and a small-business owner.

He will be joined by other speakers including economist Rod Oram, Primary Sector Council chair Lain Jager, Callaghan Innovation's Hemi Rolleston, Frucor chief executive and former Tourism New Zealand chief executive Kevin Bowler, WNT Ventures chief executive Carl Jones and university teaching fellow Te Ururoa Flavell.

The University of Waikato Management School and Priority One have worked to bring the Balbontin's forum to fruition.

Professor Tim Coltman, dean of Waikato Management School, said the "stellar" line-up of speakers would inspire and help people combine practical learnings and innovation frameworks and then apply them in their work.

Priority One chief executive Nigel Tutt said businesses need to be ahead of the game in multiple areas "that are constantly being disrupted by the next wave of innovation".


"Unlocking Regional Growth Through Innovation" runs from 8am-1pm on Thursday at Mills Reef Winery and will include workshops and a panel discussion facilitated by Oram.

More events in Tauranga and the rest of New Zealand can be found on the Techweek'18's website.