New Zealanders may be adventurous in their personal lives, but are less likely to take risks in business, according to keynote speaker and "serial entrepreneur" Savannah Peterson.

Peterson was speaking at this morning's PwC Herald Talks event on innovation, when she said people should be taking more risks for businesses to innovate.

Savannah is the founder of Savvy Millennial and formally the director of innovation strategy at Speck Design, where she helped create new consumer electronics.

Entrepreneur Savannah Peterson talks with the Herald.

Peterson was listed as a 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Consumer Technology.


"I think Tall Poppy Syndrome is totally real and it's something we need to challenge," she said.

"There's this perception that there's not room for all of us at the top, but there is."

Entrepreneur and regional director for New Zealand Trade and Enterprise in North America, Claudia Batten, challenged Peterson's position that New Zealander's weren't innovative enough.

US-based kiwi entrepreneur Claudia Batten talks to the Herald.

Batten said innovation isn't a problem for New Zealand businesses, but telling the story of the innovation on a world stage is where businesses struggle.

She said Maori were great storytellers, and New Zealand businesses should learn from the culture about how to get the business message out to more people.

"If we could bring great innovation and great storytelling together, we could set the world on fire," she said.

Rohit Shukla, chief executive of Larta Institute, said New Zealander's humble attitude could get in the way of showcasing the innovation happening here.

Rohit Shukla speaks to the Herald about innovation.

"There's a great deal of humility here, and it's charming, but get over it," he said.

Panellist Rebecca Gill, of Massey University, said the first step to innovation is critical thinking.

"How do you actually take a step back and think critically about why do I do the things the I do? Why do I assume a business needs to look a certain way when really the only reason is because it's always looked that way for the last 100 years."

Massey University's Dr. Rebecca Gill speaks to the Herald.

Andy Symons of PwC said innovation needed to challenge the status quo.

"It's about asking questions, why do we do it like this? Is there a better way to be doing it? And is this what our customer really wants from us?"