I am looking forward to Thursday night’s launch of No.8 Re-Wired at the Ignition offices in Tauranga.

No.8 Re-Wired was published earlier this month by Penguin Books. The book celebrates the inventions and ingenuity of Kiwis, taking kiwi ingenuity to global success. From well-known innovations (human flight, the discovery of DNA and the creation of the Pavlova) to those which are less known (instant coffee, the referee’s whistle) to the newest in high-tech world-leaders (robots and jetpacks!), this is the most complete and entertaining book ever on kiwi ingenuity.

Forever a taste of New Zealand

Sorry Oz. Forever a taste of New Zealand

Yet the title of the book gives hints of a darker side. Re-Wired. Have Kiwis lost the ability to innovate or are we just not as good at it anymore? If you look at recent OECD charts, New Zealand is well down on both innovation indices and the all-important R&D spend. Compared to countries of a similar size, particularly the Nordic countries, we lag behind in both patents filed and economic productivity. I have not read the book in its entirety yet, but I suspect it reflects much of the content I read in Shaun Hendy and Paul Callaghan’s book, ‘Get off the Grass, Kickstarting New Zealand’s Innovation Economy’.

Jon Bridges and David Downs, the book’s two authors, are perfectly placed to comment on the state of New Zealand’s innovation ecosystem. I suspect that the re-wiring of Kiwi mind-sets will be a major theme on Thursday. There is more to this book that just the pav. It is, for me, timely.

As WNT Ventures begins its journey to identify complex IP and research from New Zealand universities and crown research institutes, I am reminded of the failure to really capitalise on some of the potentially significant commercial opportunity this IP and research has offered in the past few years. Is that failure down to the IP or the failure to identify that IP, commercialise it and then take it to the global market? Identifying appropriate deal-flow that can manage that process will be part of the re-wiring that the team at WNT are seeking to address.

Thursday night’s presentation will I hope be a start.

If you want to attend Thursday night’s launch (6.00pm – 8.00pm) at Ignition, 39 Grey Street, Tauranga, please email Suzanne at ignition@priorityone.co.nz before 5.00pm today.