Editor’s Letter: New Zealand’s smart future

I was kinda lucky in having parents with in-built positivity meters – if anyone can spot the upside of bad tidings, it’s them. Even heart attack can be re-framed as good news when it’s seen as sort of cough that helps clear the arterial throat.
It’s habit of mind that comes in handy during recessionary times. You can’t ignore the upward creep of unemployment or downward pressure on bottom lines but there’s always something to be grateful for – and that’s what we’ve tried to highlight in this issue.
How about the country’s ability to produce amazing leaders? This year’s Blake Medallist John Hood once described the best leaders as being “inspirational, informed, curious, open-minded, respectful and action oriented” – traits he personally models with quiet ease. Last month’s spotlight on leadership (check out the inserted Leadership magazine) suggests we’re not short of people who share similar traits.
What about companies that embrace the opportunity in change? We’ve headlined just small sampling of them on page 30 – they’re the ones that don’t put boundaries on what’s possible, continually embrace innovation, pursue best practice, and look for new ways to wrap emerging technology around customer needs. We’ll be reserving space to profile more “smart” companies in future issues.
And the restless drive to improve organisational performance? It seems the irritating tendency for councils to keep digging up the same bits of road can be overcome. Central Otago District Council’s ability to simultaneously increase its efficiency (see p40) and cut its costs should interest any service organisation that is truly focused on creating value for customers.
Then there’s the infectious enthusiasm behind locally developed self-management programme designed to kick-start creativity (p44). And the fascinating exploration of how ancient tribal cultures might inform the value sets that drive modern organisations (p56). It’s all seriously interesting stuff.
Closer to home, the team at NZ Management is pursuing its own smarter future as we embrace what, for us, is new model of “virtual” publishing. There’s no bricks and mortar, no central infrastructure. Mediaweb titles are put together by creative collective of individual contractors connected by internet and the bonds of shared values.
Those working on this title include ad manager Paul Lightfoot, deputy editor Pauline Herbst – the brains behind our new “exec tech” feature (p61), designers Stephanie Smith and Cherie Tagaloa, and copy editor Gill Prentice – the most vital link in our virtual chain.
It’s team that inspires lots of positivity.

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