More Kiwi companies should find value in their intellectual property to export New Zealand concepts and businesses, say some entrepreneurs trading overseas.
At the Creative Industries Symposium in Wellington yesterday, the former design director at award-winning furniture creator Formway Design, Mark Pennington, said New Zealanders were good at working but poor at exporting products and services.
"We are very creative and innovative, we have that wonderful free spirit and there are a lot of people willing to just get their hands dirty and apply themselves. We are a resourceful people. That's really great, but it's not going to take us into the future. It's not a wealth generator or where prosperity lies."
Formway grew to be a $50 million company after licensing its chair design to American office furniture-maker Knoll.
"Where value really lies is in moving up the production chain and adding design. In New Zealand, we're good at working but not very good at adding value. We're really poor at exporting our products and services to be successful on the global market."
Xero co-founder Philip Fierlinger said it had never been easier or cheaper to build intellectual property and products.
The cloud accounting software firm had an office in California and recently raised almost $150m in funding in the United States.
"I'm from San Francisco originally and, when I came here, the number of talented people was unbelievable. New Zealand people are willing to solve problems," Fierlinger said. "We have the know-how. The talent-pool here is phenomenal. We just have to ship these concepts."
Children's television series The WotWots director Theo Baynton agrees. His show is broadcast in China to a channel with 20 million subscribers and he was a founder of Pipi, a course giving students information about how to secure the intellectual property on their ideas and develop commercial concepts that would work well in the global market place.
"We really need creative people here who are creating intellectual property, and we want them to control their own intellectual property as much as we can. We need it for our future."
- © Fairfax NZ News