Monday, May 01, 2006

How do we want to see NZ?

  Posted by Picasa It must be about now that political parties start to consider the next election and hopefully start to begin conversations about what kind of country we need to become. There was little vision to be seen during the final days of the last election as the two major parties appealed to self interest for their survival.

New Zealand has the potential to be a world leader in the future, according to Rod Oram’s in last Sunday paper, but only if we if we as a country develop a positive future image of ourselves.

We were once seen as a social laboratory in the early 1900s and again in the thirties following the great depression - a nation that looked after the needs of all its citizens and not just the wealthy. We have always been seen as a small country that ‘fights above its weight’.

Late last century we led the world in an unfortunate ‘market forces’ experiment that has created a ‘winner and losers’ society that we are only just recovering from.

What we need now is a national conversation about what kind of country we might become and we also need to face up the reality that many of our organizations and industries ( including schools), developed in an industrial age, are not able to cope with the demands of a fast changing interconnected complex world. The new ‘capital’ required will be the creativity and entrepreneurial ideas of all its citizens and not just a wealthy few.

To survive we need new thinking. As well our interconnected world will require an appreciation and valuing of cultural diversity.

We could lead the world in developing a sustainable economy living from our natural environment through ‘clever’ tourism and entrepreneurial industries. But to do this we have to value the gifts and creativity of all citizens.

We are a country at the 'edge' of the world and we ought to be developing ourselves as a country at the 'learning' or 'cutting edge' of new ideas. We are well a way from the limiting traditions of the old world and the conformist corporate conservatism of America and, as nation, we have always been seen as creative- and creativity will be required to thrive in a world increasingly dominated by a mass produced low cost goods from Asia.

But so far we see little of this need to face up to the new realities and challenges. Rod Oram’s in his article believes we are ‘running on empty’ and we have much to learn about both protecting and sustaining our natural environment and in developing the innovative talents of our citizens.

Real transformation will be needed – the ‘status quo’ is no longer an option.

So what kind of country do we want to be Oram asks? We don’t want to 'be a pale imitation of other countries'. Our remoteness and particular history and mix of people, plus out world renowned natural environment, has developed us into a distinctive culture. These qualities need to be used to our advantage. Oram writes that we need to make full use of our uniqueness and enterprising nature but to do this, he says, we need to promote new business and organizational models

Once such a national 'conversation' has been held then responsive infrastructures and conditions need to be established by our elected government. And whatever vision is developed needs to be based on inclusive values so that all citizens can feel part of, and gain benefit from, whatever eventuates. Common purpose must underpin all actions and include all communities and cultures.

Transformation of all aspects of our current organizations will be required. We need focused flexible and interconnected organizations to replace the fragmented ‘top down’ hierarchical bureaucracies – both in industry and government departments

As Oram’s writes, ‘in a very real sense we are running on empty.’

Education will need to play a key role to develop the talents and passions of all students by personalizing learning so as to ‘weave this dream into a rich future tapestry’.

Our next Government must be one of vision! A government that can identity and articulate the needs of its citizens and to inspire us all to all work together for the common good of all - creating New Zealand as a world leader in the process.


Anonymous said...

Let's hope politicians read this!

Anonymous said...

Forever an optimist Bruce!

Bruce said...

Interesting to read in the Sunday Times that the NZ Government rates highly in developing positive infrastructures - it is the business leaders that are behind the times.To busy whinging. As well the Resource Management Act ( bemoaned by the business world) rated highly by providing clear guidelines in one document.