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Digital Economy insight from Phil O’Reilly

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Last week Phil O’Reilly, who recently moved on from his CEO of BusinessNZ role, donated some of his time to provide NZRise and other industry group members with his take on New Zealand’s role in the global economy, specifically focusing on the opportunities and challenges facing those of us in the Digital and Technology sector.

When I asked him to come and speak he was about to travel to the Horasis global meeting in Liverpool so his insights extended to include recent BrExit events alongside specific lessons from that event.

NZRise co-chair Victoria MacLennan welcomes everyone to NZX. Huge thanks to NZX for their kindness in providing such an excellent venue.
NZRise co-chair Victoria MacLennan welcomes everyone to NZX. Huge thanks to NZX for their kindness in providing such an excellent venue.

You can review Phil’s slides here. Phil is well travelled and well connected so I prepared a few notes on key messages:

  • Positive trade conditions – Free Trade Agreements, known to be not corrupt, seen as a great place people want to visit, no enemies, speak English, PIAC report had NZ #1 at problem solving, NZness matters more than we think.
  • Challenges facing NZ – distance and isolation, micro business dominated (our SME’s are tiny on global scale), lack of engagement with global value chains, commodity based low yield markets.
  • Opportunities we can embrace – close proximity to Asia, currently low productivity can lift, value add more sophisticated exports, digital and technology higher yield markets, diversification into adjacent exports providing higher value eg: Tech for Agriculture, Health.
  • Key message – we need to become the best NZ we can be. Digital and Technology growth provides this opportunity as do the productivity gains leveraging technology can bring to all industries. Dairy, Film and Wood will always be important, finding ways to build off that base will be key.
  • One point strongly aligned with our own concerns was measurement of Digital and Technology as a sector needed at Government level, as with impact of Technology measurements, was very positive about the digitalnation.nz report.

The session was concluded with great questions from the floor.

Phil is now Managing Partner with Iron Duke Partners. Thanks to Phil for his time, to NZX for donating their venue, to NZTech, IITP, Tuanz and InternetNZ for all sharing the event with their members.
~ Vic

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