Nick Gerritsen says megatrends like climate change present opportunities for start ups to transform economies like New Zealand’s. Gerritsen, a former commercial lawyer specialising in intellectual property and now a high growth adviser at Creative HQ, will be speaking about the impact and opportunities arising from mega trends at LEAN 15, a three day lean startup methodology conference running in Wellington from October 5-7. The conference includes 2 days tailored around large organisations and government, and a final ‘Supercharge’ day of startup specific applications.
‘Lean startup’, a term coined by Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur Eric Ries, revolves around innovating at speed in the face of dynamic market forces and external disruption.
He says within the context of mega trends, “there are layers of opportunity to create next generation start up companies that can serve both the New Zealand market and global market”.
New Zealand is well placed to capitalise on the development of ‘mega trends’ because of the ease of people getting started and doing business, Gerritsen says.
“It’s easy to get going here, the cost of getting going is really low, places like Wellington are highly collaborative and starting to attract the attention of successful silicon valley people who have said the next part of their lives will be spent in New Zealand, linking New Zealand up.”
New Zealand serves the function of a lab to “test ideas, to prove stuff out and then scale from there”, Gerritsen says.
While New Zealand’s reputation as a market testing ground is well established, the country had not yet taken advantage of its place to build a broader system around this sort of market testing.
Gerritsen says the lean startup methodology creates an opportunity for businesses to experiment and encourages an approach of not being afraid to fail but fail fast to learn from the experience.
“Lean is a great tool, it’s a tool to assist in changing and trialling things fast, so it becomes this space where you can have a go at blowing things up. It’s a fast paced testing methodology.”
Gerritsen says he is excited at the potential for lean startup methodology to be transformative in many applications including social services.
“We are actually seeing the fact that it can transition across different sectors. Central government knows it is under stress so this is a fantastic tool for government to actually participate. It’s like a renovation tool.”
Technological innovation and start up thinking like lean methodology presents an exciting opportunity for New Zealand to reinvent itself.
“The real question is how do we build this hedge and define the role that technology can play in revolutionising and future proofing the New Zealand economy.”
Although technology has evolved to provide a vast array of communication solutions meaning people could talk to one another across geographic boundaries, face to face engagement is now more important than ever and business people need to know when they should meet up in person.
“One of the key things is to learn when is it right to have that face to face meeting. You can do so much with email and video conferencing but until you are face to face that you can tell whether the person is being honest or not.”