With any audacious plan there's "extraordinarily thin line between a genius idea and an horrific idea", Pop-up Globe commercial director Tobias Grant said today.

While innovation might not be the word that comes to mind when discussing the revival of a 17th century English theatre, Grant told a PwC Herald Talks event today in Auckland that everything about the project was novel.

Grant, together with Pop-up Globe founder and artistic director Miles Gregory, built the world's first full-scale temporary working replica of Shakespeare's theatre and performed a festival of his works.

Close to 190,000 tickets have been sold across two seasons and the concept may now be exported offshore.


"The whole essence of Pop-up Globe is about innovation," Grant said.

"It starts with the idea, I can't find anyone in the world who develops theatre performances and the physical building that they operate them in at the same time, and all I'm going to say is: there's probably a damn good reason for that," Grant told the audience.

The use of scaffolding to form the structure of the building was innovative as was housing it in a carpark and marketing it "like the biggest rock concert coming to town".

Grant Straker, co-founder of Auckland-based translation company Straker Translations was a panellists during the talk and said innovation creates wealth.

"In 2011 we probably had a company, just when we were starting with the idea that you could transform a very large industry, worth next to nothing really ... and you could go forward six years and now we can raise capital at $100m. So now we've got a company worth $100m so we're creating about $13m a year through innovation and through our ability to do something very different in a big industry," Straker said.

"Often what we do is say, 'Will advances in technology ultimately change the industry?', and if the answer's yes it's about how long, so what's your window for change and if you're managing it you've got to think, 'That's my timeframe how are we going to go out and make that happen', he said.

"You're either going to get forced into it late in the piece and be well behind or going to start to think early and take some risk," Straker said.

PwC innovation partner Andy Symons said innovative companies needed leadership that was "bold".


"At [the] top of organisations you need leadership that's bold enough to say I know we need to reduce costs, I know we need to become more efficient but I'm actually going to carve out some time and space for some of my renegades to do some bold new different things," he said.

"One of the temptations in the big corporate world is to give people some funding, given them resources and go away," Symons said.

"You've got to challenge them and one of the impossible challenges you give them is, 'I want you to do some groundbreaking stuff but it's going to be in some way aligned back to our enterprise strategy'," he said.

"I see a lot of people who are doing some very inventive things and they feel hard done by because no-one values what they do. It's because it's in no-way connected to the vision or strategy which the enterprise has."

PwC Herald Talks will be held in Wellington today and Christchurch tomorrow. Tickets available on iTicket.