29 June 2020

Making it happen – 2040 and beyond

Since March I have been focussed on what ‘opportunities’ COVID-19 is going to offer, and how we make the most of this disruption. Lots of reading and interacting with innovators here and in Australia. I have also had the good fortune to patch in fortnightly as a guest to the Griffith University MBA Road to Recovery + Regeneration Co-creation, facilitated by Alex Hannant and Ingrid Burkett from the Yunus Centre.

Recessions are a brilliant opportunity to look at new ways of operating. In my back-catalogue of experience, the massive setback we farmers went through in the eighties under Roger Douglas was the most invigorating thing to ever happen in my 30-year farming career. It was definitely shite at the time, but the agricultural sector never looked back once we shook off the dust.

Image Source: MacKay Cartoons

So here we are at the mid-ish stage of a worldwide pandemic. Aotearoa has done incredibly well, banding together to eliminate the virus. Five million people coordinated and focussed is a powerful thing. Yes, we are having some wobbles right now, which is bloody frustrating, but I am proud of how we have focussed as a nation on the issue of COVID-19 for the good of everyone.

Now what?

The government is doing their thing with plenty of stimulus being thrown at the economy. There will be successes and failures with what they are doing for sure. However, I believe it’s what we do as citizens that will have the most impact on economic innovation. I say innovation because I’m not interested in recovery. I believe the opportunity cost of not responding with innovation is huge. Our fixation with notions of recovery, rescue and resilience and a continual effort to try and replace or recapture what’s been lost, or taken away, is not the right mindset. Instead let’s seek out what we have never tried or had before.

So, it’s 2020. That’s a couple of decades until we mark 200 years since we signed our founding partnership document, Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Twenty years is not long, yet it gives us time to focus on some big opportunities and issues. I am hoping to still be around in 2040, and I want to make the most of this time so I can reflect, and say, we have come a long way!

I want to be able to celebrate an intelligent and unified nation in 2040.

This is important to me on a number of levels:

  • Collective Intelligence has now created a platform that will allow us to positively impact New Zealand and it’s development over the next 20 years (which I will expand on in good time).
  • And…Aotearoa-New Zealand is one of the more influential countries in the world. We are small, smart, innovative, and have a democracy which is working well. Other countries look to us to navigate a way for them to follow. We need to step into that space with courage, and be confident with who we are, and what we can do that others can’t.

We also have lots to sort out too. Inequality, racism, environmental harm, mental health, infrastructure, the ravages of colonisation… this shite needs focus and innovative responses applied over the next 20 years to be addressed.

So that I don’t turn this blog into a small book, I’m going to list just some of the areas that I think need focusing on, and share a few opinions on what we can do to get them over the line.

Here they are in no particular order:

Focus 1 | Health:

My Opinion: The NHS is being held up as the gold standard of health by many doctors around the world. So WTF can we not adopt some of / all their practices? Yes, I am naive in this subject, but our hospitals can’t even communicate easily with each other due to different IT systems. Why can’t we have a Ministry of Health that doctors and nurses have faith in, and are proud of?

My Thoughts: This is possibly because the health sector is being run like an efficient business, and not a robust health provider to the public. There are models of management being operated in health sectors in Europe where Teal management systems are working wonderfully. These Teal organisational systems empower those on the ground in real time to create their own outcomes. It’s just one doable action that would make a positive impact.

Focus 2 | Government:

My Question: How do we get the Government (regardless of who is in power) and the bureaucrats, to become more closely aligned with entrepreneurs, and vice versa. ‘Smart Government’ needs to become the norm, where we can get the big levers of central government working alongside smart young entrepreneurs.

I Say: Banqer and The Blue School are examples of brilliant education initiatives started by young women seeking to improve education outcomes. Give them the resources to get on with it sooner.

Teaching youth about the power of investing in impact companies (with small investments) would make huge inroads in re-aligning capitalism towards more inclusive commercial models.

Focus 3 | Green Economy:

This is clear: Investment into a green economy is a must-have post-COVID. It creates more jobs, and a more robust economy. This article summarises the views of 230 economists from around the world.

Gone are the days: when Green economics is inferior economics. Yes – there is still much to learn about the green movement, but they have learned a thing or two about economics.

Focus 4 | Nature:

This is a no brainer: As stated by Rod Oram in a podcast interview I had with him back in January, ‘we need to fall in love with nature’, and protect and understand her thoroughly.

I know a little about this subject: Regenerative agriculture is a lever that farmers can use right now, but they are turning away from it because they will need to let go of ego-driven production KPI’s. Regenerative agriculture practices allow for more water and carbon to be stored in the ground and produces more nutrient-dense food. This article points out how it is also great for farmers’ wellbeing and state of mind. I have experienced this myself through my transitioning period to regen ag – get into it!

Focus 5 | Colonisation:

I’m gutted: that our jails are full of Māori. There is a direct link to colonisation. Jailing Māori is not working. We need to do something different. An often-quoted stat from the UK really caught my eye: it costs over £40K to send a kid to Eton and over £200K to send the same kid to prison. Just send them to Eton?!

And so: I have no idea what the answer is here, but FFS, the current system is not working.

Focus 5 | Infrastructure

Another Dog’s breakfast: National infrastructure is just too important to be placed in the hands of political parties who often have short-term goals. We are a dog’s breakfast when it comes to investing in infrastructure.

This would work: Bring back a modernised form of the Ministry of Works (the Ministry of Action!?). Create the capacity for us to build our own infrastructure, in an entrepreneurial way. If we can build yachts that foil, this should be easy.

Focus 6 | Sustainable Development

It’s already framed up: The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are well thought out by smart bastards and should be understood by all professionals.

I’m excited: Just this week I have been invited by Toni Grace (who is looking to align our city Palmerston North, with the UN’s SDG’s) to meet with others to look at how we start this journey in our patch. Aotearoa can lead the world in this space.

Focus 7 | Inequality

I See: Inequality is a major source of unrest, poverty, poor health and generally f**ked up issues within our country.

Here’s one solution: B Corp certification is a framework for companies to become a force for good and create regenerative commercial practices – not just look after their shareholders. We currently have 30 accredited B Corps in the country. Get that up to two to three hundred and it would transform our trust in commercial activity, creating more opportunity for talent to find a home

That’s enough on my list for now. Time for some final thoughts on what we need to DO.

What needs to change for us to kick-start these opportunities?

  1. Embrace new power: there is a new movement emerging across the world. It shows up in all areas of life, from politics, education, health, civil rights to commerce. It’s called ‘new power’ and is inclusive and hard to resist. We have recently seen it battling ‘old power’ across the world. Trump represents old power – which acts like a currency. Black Lives Matter is new power, and works more like an electrical current.
    We have had our own form of new power on show in Aotearoa in the past 12 months, with old power paradigms making way for new power paradigms. Bob Jones vs Renae Maihi is an excellent example, so too is Fletcher Building vs Pania Newton at Ihumātao.

    I believe there is nothing to fear from embracing new power, other than having to let go of ego and status. In fact, if we as a nation embrace this new power, and become more inclusive, we will smash many of the issues stated above.

    At Collective Intelligence we are about to go full on new power – watch this space!

  2. The age of experts/consultants is in decline: Their relevance is diminishing as issues are becoming too complex for individual experts and consultants to add real value to. Where consultants stumble is that their bias (whether conscious or not) nullifies their expertise.
    For some time, I have wanted to develop a new offering from Collective Intelligence and take our model into the realm of helping large organisations transition and evolve.

    This is a planned iteration of what we do now, with another focal point added – organisations as well as individuals. We will continue to do what we do so well now with individuals, and build our ‘Impact Team’ model alongside that will support organisations.

    We have hundreds of capable professionals in our community to draw on to form these ‘Impact Teams’, who can go and apply our methodology to help create this new future that awaits us.

So, that’s our next big step in the world, and we are ready!

What and where do you think we could be applying our new ‘collective intelligence at work’ (Impact Team) methodology to?

I would love to hear your views, and what it is that you are doing in your field of expertise – what it is you’re focussing on over the next 20 years to create that intelligent and unified nation I’m dreaming of in 2040.

Ian Harvey (Harv)


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