Is our ‘Number 8 Wire’ mentality holding New Zealand back?

By Campbell Mitchell

2 October 2017

Innovation is not a buzzword

When we surveyed New Zealand businesses about their attitude to growth, we found that 58% of New Zealand businesses believe that growth could lead to a loss of innovation.

'I think larger businesses become less innovative and more bureaucratic'

  • 58% Agree
  • 24% Neutral
  • 11% Disagree
  • 7% Unsure


We New Zealanders pride ourselves on our ability to innovate, our agility as a small country to move fast, and our pioneering culture built on a ‘Number 8 Wire’ mentality.

If 58% of businesses believe that we’ll lose that culture through growth, does that explain why only 61% of the businesses that we surveyed said that they were looking to grow?

Could the idea that growth stifles innovation be holding our SMEs back?

Innovation as a culture

There are countless examples of big business that have managed to retain their innovative bent.

Some of the largest companies in the world - Apple, Google and Amazon to name a few - are innovation-rich companies.

So how do you embed an innovation mindset into your organisation, and hold on to it as your business grows and becomes, often by necessity, more bureaucratic?

Innovation is often treated as a buzzword, but it needs to be embedded in the culture of an organisation. And that culture starts with the customer.

To grow and be successful, we need to connect our businesses to a customer need and deliver solutions to our customers that meet that need. In almost any industry, there are always new and better ways to meet the needs of customers, if we can encourage ourselves to think outside the box. 

We need to give our employees the licence, and the time, to innovate, and back that up with a commitment to invest in technology.

All companies should approach their offering - and their customers - with an innovative mindset and continually ask, “Does this meet customer need and exceed customer expectation?” 

From small to large, businesses need to ditch innovation as a buzzword and replace it with a thriving innovation culture.


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