⏩Fast Forward #30: Aotearoa’s missing technology strategy🔲
Research, Science, Innovation. But where's the tech?
Welcome to this week’s ⏩Fast Forward Aotearoa instalment, a weekly newsletter from Memia thinking about the future of Aotearoa New Zealand. Thanks for being here!
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The last few weeks I’ve been wading through a lot of reading on public innovation policy and trying to think how it relates to Aotearoa’s [missing in action] national technology strategy … dry work but someone has to do it! Comments and feedback welcomed from specialists in the field…
Before we get into it, one shout out this week:
Congratulations to Pia Andrews, formerly head of the oft-missed Aotearoa government Service Innovation Lab. This week Pia was among a number of luminous thinkers brought together by Apolitical to form an Advisory Council on 21st Century Government:
⏩Fast Forward Aotearoa recap…
The book structure continues to evolve… here’s the latest outline:
Chapter 1: Introduction - Seizing the meta-opportunity from the meta-crisis.
Chapter 2: Defining a small country: just because it’s small doesn’t mean it’s any less complex
In Chapter 3 we explored the current Global “polycrisis”: big challenges, big opportunities:
Anthropogenic climate change
Global population and demographic shifts
Geopolitical power shifts
Chapter 4 (yet to be written) will look at key national and local challenges, including some of…:
National security and sovereignty
Chapter 5 explores the accelerating rate of technology change: But…what has the Singularity got to do with Aotearoa? and surveys general purpose technologies in 2023.
Chapter 6 Time for solutioneering describes a simple but scalable ideation process to crowdsource the discovery of new technological solutions to current international and national challenges, and create a longlist of ideas to consider focusing investment on.
Now in Chapter 7: A national technology portfolio for Aotearoa I’ll try to start pulling everything together: firstly. surveying the current proposed changes to the Research, Science and Innovation system in Aotearoa, and then next week putting forward a framework for a focused national-scale technology portfolio which dovetails with the “mission led” RSI changes proposed in Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways. Easy.
🔲Aotearoa’s missing technology strategy
In researching this book, one of my findings is that strategic thinking about technology across Aotearoa’s government and wider public sector is *at best* sparsely distributed and disconnected and, at worst, largely absent. (The aborted attempt back in 2018 to appoint an ill-conceived “Chief Technology Officer” role arguably made this a "third rail” issue which few politicians or bureaucrats want to go near. Plus a “Technology strategy for Aotearoa” is hardly a surefire vote-winning policy platform…)