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Seven things I learned at IITP 2013
Posted on 28-Oct-2013 11:13 by Bill Bennett | Tags Filed under: Articles

Chair Ray Delany opens the IITP 2013 Conference
Chair Ray Delany opens the IITP 2013 Conference

1. A manufacturing revolution is coming.  3D printers are cool, but most do little more than make small plastic things. A printer making items out of metals like titanium is revolutionary.

On the day before the IITP conference started delegates were taken on an tour of Tauranga’s innovation hot-spots. This incuded a trip to TiDA – the Titanium Industry Development Association at the Bay Of Plenty Polytechnic. From replacement body parts to small runs of tools like tiny adjustable spanners, the TiDA team show where manufacturing could be heading.

The cost of printing metal items is already as cheap as traditional manufacturing – once you’ve paid millions for the equipment. The economics are only going to get more compelling. One day I expect to see local three metal print shops in much the same way we now have copy shops.

Craig Richardson
Wynyard Group CEO Craig Richardson presenting ‘Innovating for rapid growth’

2. Innovative business can grow fast. Craig Richardson’s Wynyard Group proves it’s possible to grow an innovative company at breakneck speed. In his IITP keynote Richardson took delegates through his experience explaining where the best opportunities are to be found and how a New Zealand business can quickly exploit them.

He says look for opportunities in places where megatrends clash, don’t chase others and choose billion-dollar categories with double-digit growth.

IT Minister Amy Adams speaking at the IITP 2013 conference
IT Minister Amy Adams speaking at the IITP 2013 conference

3. The NZ government is thinking about teleworking. Tucked away, almost as an aside, at the end of Amy Adam’s presentation she said:

“We’re not taking enough advantage of people who don’t need to be coming into the office.”

Adams says the government is preparing a teleworking promotion. This could be a good move, although it is at odds with policies and comments from Hewlett-Packard and Yahoo.

Microsoft global chief privacy officer Brendan Lynch.
Microsoft global chief privacy officer Brendan Lynch.

4. Privacy can be innovation. That’s not an accurate report of what Microsoft chief privacy office Brendan Lynch said at the conference, it’s my interpretation of his theme. Another summary is:

Companies worry about privacy for regulatory or compliance reasons. They should worry about it to keep their shareholders happy.

Either way, attending to trust is a good business move.

Screen Shot 2013-10-28 at 10.12.21 am
5. You can’t legislate for innovation. New Zealand born Professor Barry Vercoe, who graduated from Auckland University in 1962, officially launched New Zealand’s One Laptop per Child programme at IITP scoring the conference’s most enthusiastic applause.

Vercoe is one of the brains behind the low-cost laptops. He gave an inspiring presentation showing the potential of these computers to change people’s lives.

6. Sales are vital. Yes that’s obvious, but Ed Robinson says the Aptimize business he co-founded only took off when he moved into sales. I’ve heard this before from other successful technology entrepreneurs.

It seems no-one else is as good as selling ideas as the person who first has them.

7. Balancing privacy and security is dangerous. Privacy Commissioner Marie Shroff dismisses arguments that privacy and security can be balanced. She says that’s the thinking that has lead to a surveillance culture. Instead she wants to see a two pillar approach where security and privacy are ensured.

[digitl 2013]

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