Announced today that the Government will set up a new advisory group to represent the various interested parties in ICT in this country. IT Minister David Cunliffe said

Creating a digital future for New Zealanders requires collaboration from a wide range of stakeholders… The new forum will create partnerships between industry, community and voluntary groups and users and provide a coordinated voice to government on digital issues. It is important that the interests of the wider digital community and those working with government on the development and implementation of the Digital Strategy and other initiatives are heard.

It seems that until now, previous groups focused mainly on skills shortages, or building business capability (both valid areas mind you), hopefully this new group will look at all the issues and pick up the great work done by the New Zealand Institute, the previous groups and other stakeholders. Hopefully the new group can come up with an achievable and holistic way to move the country forwards.

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • I bet my last dollar that this “collaboration” doesn’t involve any online stuff – nothing so fancy as using the technology they espouse to promote and build from.

    Just a hunch

  • Unfortunately you’re probably right Mike

  • Back in the “Dark Ages” of Web 2.0 (2003), we pitched the idea of using our existing online community site ( to the High Growth Project for free to share knowledge and discuss issues.

    This was in the days before blogs existed pretty much. The CEO at the time thought it was a good idea and we set it up. Unfortunately, when she left they immediately cut us off at the knees.

    We made the same offer to Next Space but they didn’t even return my calls or emails. In the past we had many discussion with KEA also. To their credit, they developed a solution of their own.

    Seems like we need to walk the talk in the brave new world of technology communities. This stuff ain’t rocket science and the toolsets are getting better all the time.
    What’s the problem?

  • “What’s the problem?” – habit I suspect

    Doing it on-line, sharing information (widely) and truly collaborating ain’t the norm and certainly isn’t at the “level” (whatever that means) the Government will be thinking when they announced this … initiative?

    The habit will change and, as we do to previous ages, we’ll look back and wonder at how “primitive” it all seems … but right now, doing it off-line is the norm.

  • Yet the Facebook Generation do “business” via web communities as a matter of course. It’s bizarre that the very people who purport to administer the ICT industry don’t actually “get” their own product.

    One of the issues is that it is tricky to build a business case around virtuality because of the intangible value of knowledge sharing. But just look at all the nice success stories we generated for tech SMEs who engaged through ION.

    We are currently looking at upgrading the technology and offering it to a range of community organisations.

  • Bingo,
    So you all DO understand the problem, that’s progress.

    The problem is in the people, not in the technology, and while improving the technology is desirable, the “people problem” can’t be solved that way. The solution as I see it is in social networks.

    When minds are closed, they have to be opened from the inside. That fortress can’t be successfully attacked by outsiders. Social connection is how you give people a tool to unlock their own door. But most New Zealanders, are unwilling to extend their social reach online, and when they do (technicians and academics particularly) they reach out to their own. Networks that lack diversity are not very useful for generating the capacity for new and innovative thinking.


  • Um, there’s a lot of “us” that understand the “problem” John … I think you need to have some face-to-face conversations and get the state of play here in NZ before stating that “minds are closed”.

    Do you go along to the KM events (, an excellent source of information and would, I think, greatly increase your view of what people are actually doing and “understand” within the industry.

  • Mike

    It’s in the nature of being human that we cling on to what we know and that things that our experience has taught us. We all have minds that are closed unless we choose to open them.

    Online or offline, when we engage with other people, interesting things are likely to happen. The social connection here is very important, it’s not only about the quality of the ideas. Each of us has control of our own fortress and, as I said we unlock it from the inside.

    I can easily demonstrate that NZ is not well connected online in a way that’s significant. I can also show that technical people are connected to other technical people online, much more strongly than the general population is connected. We can do better, but the solution is in us, in what we choose to do, and in particular in how we choose to connect to each other and to talk to each other.

    We gain from being part of more diverse networks. But this is the Diversity Blog, so I hope I’m talking to the converted.

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