Can you fix the economy? Innovation is the key

Last updated 11:30 18/12/2012

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As someone who has run a new product commercialisation business in the United States, I would like to encourage my fellow Kiwis to open their minds to thinking outside the box.

New Zealand will always struggle until it becomes commonly accepted that we need to become a price setter, rather than a price taker. Exchange rates are only an issue when the economy is dependent on commodities, and the sooner we diversify in to innovative products with world markets the faster the problem will disappear.

We need to collaborate with skilled marketers in major or niche overseas markets and go there first, rather than muck around developing the New Zealand market for these new products. Innovation has a short shelf life and we can make far more money in big markets than small ones. Also, we can get manufacturing costs down by making products overseas.  Before I get slammed for saying that, remember these product didn't previously exist, so no jobs were lost, but some high-value work would be done in New Zealand, such as industrial design, and some of the more sensitive hi-tech work.

We need to accept that we're part of a global economy and identify where we can be competitive, which at this stage is through innovation. But the DIY approach will see us fall further behind. We need to collaborate with in-market help to gear this up with the speed it needs to happen.

Great ideas are not limited to educated people. Einstein left school at 15. Everyone has the seeds of genius, and can come up with a solution to problems in their fields of interest.

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