Serial entrepreneur Linda Jenkinson is used to being innovative and she says it's a business model, not a way of thinking.

Jenkinson, who has built three multi-million dollar companies, has always been entrepreneurial. At age 10 she began her business journey, helping her father with various ventures.

"I've been doing this for 25 years and I think if you look at the companies that are able to grow and grow, typically, that's because they are doing something that is more unique than others and technology has really been the thing that's enabled things to scale faster," she said.

"All of my companies have been what I consider disruptive companies...and have all been fuelled by technology to use it as a game changer."

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Jenkinson is one of six panellists at this week's PwC Herald Talks covering the topic of innovation.

She says she's had to be innovative at multiple levels to get ahead.

"There's a lot of great technology out there, but [doesn't make a] business," Jenkinson said.

"Everyone thought search was done before Google was even on the scene, so if you look at my companies, I see it as: innovation is a business model, and sometimes it's about how technology is applied.

"A lot of people think of innovation as a purely technology element but I look at it in the integrated business-sense model."

PwC innovation partner Andy Symons believes innovation is vital for the economy.

"We're a small, very competitive economy and now, more so than ever, we need to be aware that we are competing with global players," he said.

"The prospect of Amazon and Google coming into the New Zealand market with an increased focus on retailing has a lot of people thinking about how they can be competing with that level of scale and therefore I think innovation for our New Zealand companies is critical.

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"Companies are now competing on a global stage, not just a local stage."

Grant Straker, co-founder of Auckland-based translation company Straker Translations says innovation for him has been creating a new product - technology - to offer the market.

"What we did was built technology, and we built technology to license and to sell.

"In 2009 we could see that the translation industry was going to be really different and that things could be done a lot more cost-effectively using technology so we actually did a big pivot," Straker said. "We realised to actually commercialise our innovation we should directly offer the service to others. What we did was commercialise the innovation by offering a service."

Innovation also has direct benefits for customers, Straker said.

"Innovation does two things in my mind; it allows you to have a competitive advantage as you've built something that people want, and it enables you to have something nobody else has."

For more information on PwC Herald Talks on innovation click here.

PwC Herald Talks - Innovation
• May 10
• 7am-9am
• SKYCITY Theatre
• Tickets available on iTicket
• Tickets - $89