Low-ego solutions

There’s something deeply refreshing about finally admitting some of the old ways don’t work. This is new year with the same old economic problems and blind Freddy can see we’ve got to do things differently.
For several years now, people have been talking about the new normal. I’ve always suspected this is econo-speak for “don’t expect too much”. It’s not the kind of talk to make me bounce out of bed in the morning. I also think it doesn’t push the point far enough. Conversations around town suggest we’re entering an era of the previously unthinkable. It’s the new abnormal: the “new new”.
There’s growing body of evidence that old barriers are melting and new thinking is seeping through. Nowhere is this more promising, and revolutionary, than in the work in both the developed and developing world where huge range of new initiatives now seek to bind the pragmatism of commerce to the passion of philanthropy. (See this month’s cover story “Biz 3.0” on page 28).
If they’re to have any hope of succeeding, all parties must put their traditional differences and suspicions to one side and together start tackling the problems of world poverty, housing, access to clean water and myriad other challenges.
At the wider New Zealand organisational level, there’s also plenty of evidence of hitherto unexpected behaviour. In this month’s leadership column (“Flawed governance”, page 22), Reg Birchfield shares his take on how both the Institute of Directors and the NZX have been wising up to the merits of having more women on our nation’s boards.
Right at the end of last year, the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development (NZBCSD) and BusinessNZ said they’d form joint Sustainable Business Council (SBC).
Less than three weeks later, the Business Roundtable and the New Zealand Institute agreed to merge to create new public policy think tank. Their rationale was that the country isn’t big enough to support two such bodies. They’ll be wed by April 1 this year.
At recent conference of The Competitiveness Institute, NZTE CEO Peter Chrisp noted that deep collaboration is not in New Zealanders’ DNA but deep innovation is. He went on to say we need low-ego institutions: ones that aren’t concerned about whether they exist or not. He means ones that are more concerned for New Zealand’s greater good than in saving their own skins.
Whether born out of inspiration, pragmatism, deep necessity or desperation, such new behaviours signal new approach to tackling old problems. Here on NZ Management we’ll be tracking the progress of low-ego solutions with great interest.

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