Because the future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed it can be dismissed or even look ridiculous.
Blockchain is an example of this dilemma for businesses - as too often use cases appear as some form of far-fetched magical digital alchemy for products and/or a completely opaque geek-technology fantasy.
There is evidence that blockchain is moving through the hype-cycle and the buzz around the innovative technology recedes and the focus moves to how it can solve for unique global use-cases.
A Callaghan Innovation report published in December – Distributed Ledgers and Blockchain, Opportunities for Aotearoa New Zealand – suggests New Zealand has significant potential to be a world leader in tech through early mass adoption of blockchain.
Author Josh Vial says: "Blockchain... can grow our direct technology exports and help ICT to become the second biggest contributor to gross domestic product by 2025."
At the Demo Day for Centrality's Accelerator six ventures showed that valid, commercial use cases for this exciting technology are being created right here in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Centrality, a New Zealand blockchain venture studio, have partnered with Creative HQ's Lightning Lab to help accelerate Kiwi blockchain ventures.
CEO Aaron McDonald describes Centrality as creating a $400m global venture and platform model to enable hi tech startups to get to market faster, grow faster and decentralise the internet.
Blockchain... can grow our direct technology exports and help ICT to become the second biggest contributor to gross domestic product by 2025."
The six startups in their first accelerator were pitching to a packed house of entrepreneurs, Government-types, corporates and most importantly - investors.
Co-leader of the Green Party and Minister James Shaw opened the Demo Day with a message that creativity is at the heart of the Aoteaoroa New Zealand digital economy. The ventures did not disappoint.
Technology is now New Zealand’s third-biggest export sector, bringing in more than $16 billion a year in overall revenue - and obviously offers some clear advantages over primary produce in terms of environmental impact.
The six teams covered a broad range of big market opportunities across reinventing global film distribution; food provenance; creating an indigenous identity and community platform; carbon credits; household payments and marketing insight.
A B2B contract management platform that automates the supply of cinema releases to theatres and their audiences globally. It provides studios with real time insights during the cinema release lifecycle, delivering trust, transparency and governance to the theatre industry. The company holds the cinema release licence for major Hollywood studios in New Zealand and is looking for $1m with the promise of being in market with at least one studio this year
Built on Māori values, Āhau is a decentralised digital identity platform to help connect you with who you are, where you are from and what you do. Co-founder Ben Tairea said the Māori economy growing at twice rate of NZ economy and is now worth $50 billion. The platform focuses on the 61 post-settlement iwi, which spend a total of $7.9m annually on shareholder management platforms. Āhau's solution reduces costs by 40% and doubles iwi engagement. The team have secured three tribal adopters with 65,000 users and is aiming to go global after year two. Āhau are asking for $375k. (Disclosure: I have been advising Āhau)
CarbonClick makes carbon offsetting simple, transparent and traceable for all businesses and their customers. CEO and co-founder Jan Czaplicki was involved in creating Air New Zealand’s digital carbon-offset solution. A lot of businesses want to offer carbon-offsetting to their customers but lack the resources of a larger company to build a bespoke solution. With CarbonClick, consumers can use their purchasing power to back carbon friendly products and services. Czaplicki is aiming to get 20 companies using CarbonClick in year 1. CarbonClick are seeking $300K
CentraPass is a digital travel ID that saves travellers time and simplifies travel. CentraPass helps tourism businesses personalise their customer experience and capture more value. It will allow fast check-in and provide toursim providers with insights on their customer journey data. CentraPass are looking for $300K.
Pocketful is a social sharing wallet for flats, joint accounts, groups that manages income/spending and budgeting. Founder Steve Adams pitched it as solving those “awkward conversations” around who has, or hasn’t, paid what. Other use cases include person-toperson payments without involving a bank; allowing landlords and property managers to manage tenant requests, book maintenance contractors and schedule inspections – all tracked and recorded through blockchain. Pocketful are seeking $300K.
Yabble is an existing business on track to deliver $1.6m revenue this year and which is disrupting the traditional market research industry. Yabble is a collaborative platfrom for research that transforms the speed, transparency and value exchange between brands and consumers. CEO and Co-founder Kathryn Topp talks of the “unethical data iceberg” where major technology and consumer brands harvest billions of dollars from consumers’ data with no return to the consumer. She describes Yabble as “gigging data the ethical way” and used the example of a consumer being able to earn $5 for drinking a bottle of beer. Yabble has already returned $100k to consumers already and is looking to raise $3m in New Zealand before heading overseas.
It's Demo Day next week for Āhau, an exciting Māori blockchain startup I've been helping with.
Āhau is a cultural identity and community management platform that enables tribes to better stay connected with their people, and increase community involvement and activity.
Āhau have been working in the Centrality Accelerator powered by Lightning Lab, building a platform for tribal groups and indigenous peoples to address some of the major issues around tribal management, cultural heritage, and digital transitioning, while anchoring to matauranga Māori principles and values.
Āhau are using blockchain technology to provide tribal groups and individuals with ownership, access, management, and security of personal data.
Their kaupapa (mission) is to empower our communities and people to build stronger, healthier communities, and a stronger sense of identity and belonging amongst tangata (individuals), whānau (families) and communities.
With 700,000 Māori in Aotearoa New Zealand and 370 million indigenous peoples worldwide the potential for this solution to take off is exciting.
As businesses do we focus enough on sustainability?
Based on what's posted on LinkedIn I would say probably not. Content on business growth and personal growth (and oddly Yoga) are what seemingly attract business owners and managers .
In fact this post on stopping plastic pollution which appeared in my feed stood out so much it got me writing this blog.
There is more evidence out this week that New Zealand businesses aren't doing a good enough job in being seen to be active in regards to sustainability - despite it being a major issue for consumers.
In fact the Colmar Brunton survey Better Futures shows the issue of plastic pollution is an even bigger worry than the cost of living for consumers and more of them are taking action.
In fact 4 out of 10 New Zealanders are highly committed to living a sustainable lifestyle and they want to hear more from businesses.
7 out of 10 Kiwis are unable to name a brand that is a leader in sustainability."
Despite the fact that sustainable choices and actions are firmly on the agenda of New Zealanders, the survey shows that 7 out of 10 Kiwis are unable to name a brand that is a leader in sustainability.
For businesses it's more than just about marketing and brand - it also makes good business sense to be sustainable.
McKinsey show that sustainable businesses actually perform better than their counterparts and that developing a corporate culture of sustainability may be a source of competitive advantage for a company in the long run.
High-sustainability companies perform better with higher return on assets and equity."
They show that high-sustainability companies did better with respect to return on assets (34 per-cent) and return on equity (16 percent).
Obviously many businesses have sustainability objectives in their strategies and nearly 500 are members of the Sustainable Business Network which is the largest and longest-standing organisation dedicated to sustainable business in New Zealand.
Done correctly, sustainability and the digital transformation of businesses should go hand-in-hand.
Atamai's digital benchmarking uses a holistic model to take a whole-of-business approach to digital transformation.
Our approach is based on tried and true principles to drive sustainable outcomes.
Businesses just cannot afford to not be part of this conversation.