No. 8 wire is not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of digital innovation – but it does embody our prized spirit of Kiwi ingenuity. It's a symbol of our national desire to think creatively about new technologies and IT. New Zealanders have a big tech-nnovation reputation for a small country.
A recent survey shows we're ahead of the world in terms of willingness to pay for tech services and invest in digital technology1. This spirit is also embodied in the depth of IT and digital technologies talent we boast. But is enough being done to make digital technology and innovation accessible for everyone?
New Zealand's ambitious digital culture
New Zealand is becoming the home of digital technology in the Pacific region. From digitised business services like Xero in Wellington, to innovative technology providers like Kiwa Digital in Auckland, Kiwis have a lot to offer the world. There are currently over 21,000 tech firms nationwide, employing around 6 per cent of the workforce2. That is a huge amount of IT talent in the country with a willingness to think outside the box.
This culture is backed by government funding and support. Groups like NZ Tech offer a range of grants for digital tech. In fact, the 2016 national budget devoted more than $761 million to 'Innovative New Zealand'3.
But are Kiwis ambitious enough?
However, this innovative thinking doesn't necessarily apply to all Kiwis. We need to do more to make digital technology an accessible medium for everyone. Recent attempts in Christchurch to introduce the nation's first 'smart playground', an integrated smartphone app that blends physical and online play, have been met with widespread hostility4. This mindset is indicative of the occasionally slow adoption of digital as a default that extends all the way down to schooling. Education has been slow to introduce curriculum changes to raise digital fluency. In fact, using digital literacy as an indicator of success was only introduced to the Education Review Office in mid-20165.
A lack of total integration with digital technology at school level is also reflected in New Zealand's elderly population. Less than half of New Zealand's 65+ population used the Internet in 20126. This shows a real lack of engagement with advances in digital technology. Recently, efforts have been made to boost digital literacy amongst New Zealand's elderly – however, these remain regional or local.
There are currently over 21,000 tech firms nationwide, employing around 6 per cent of the workforce.
Seek innovation with 920 Career Agents
Digital innovation and ambitious thinking outside the box are what Kiwis excel at, and there is no shortage of IT talent in this country. If you're looking to expand your IT infrastructure, or are a digital technology innovator looking for the right career move, we can help. Make contact today to keep New Zealand's innovation society moving forward.
1– IDC New Zealand survey, sourced from Business Scoop press release
2– NZ Tech report
3– beehive.org.nz, New Zealand government website
4– Stuff.co.nz article
5– Ministry of Education release 'Towards Digital Fluency'
6– Stats NZ