Quake thrusting young people into leadership

Christchurch's earthquake recovery is thrusting young people into leadership roles unlike anywhere else in the world, an IBM expert says.

Caleb Barlow is one of six IBM employees spending three weeks in Christchurch to provide advice on driving economic development and sustained growth for the city.

Barlow said he was impressed with the leadership of the city's young people who had created and developed organisations such as the Student Volunteer Army and Gap Filler.

"I have no doubt in my mind, in 10 years from now we'll see all these people in leadership positions here and abroad."

The leadership opportunities in Christchurch could not be found anywhere else in the world, Barlow said.

Drew Clark, a venture capital expert from the United States, said the group had met some amazing young leaders with great enthusiasm for the area.

The pair were also impressed with the innovation happening in Christchurch. "The Re:Start Mall, I was fascinated by that. I was sitting in a shipping container having a world-class cup of coffee," Barlow said.

However, one of the city's challenges was making sure the billions of dollars of insurance money pouring into the region not only stayed here, but multiplied in value.

Barlow said he had often heard people refer to New Zealand as being at the bottom of the world, but technology had meant location was no longer a barrier and Christchurch was perfectly placed to take advantage of that.

The IBM staff will leave next week after providing the Christchurch City Council and its economic development arm, the Canterbury Development Corporation, with its recommendations.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said it was a special opportunity for the city to have such well connected and skilled people provide a unique perspective on the future of Christchurch.

The programme is part of IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge, where the multinational technology company has committed to helping 100 cities over a three-year period.

The six IBM representatives, who are experts in fields including venture capital, human resources, cyber security and decision management, come from the United States, Brazil and Australia.

The Press