The tech sector has concerns about New Zealand’s slow progress in embracing technology. Kiwi tech leaders are speaking out.
NZTech deputy chair Rachel Kelly says the country is lagging behind other countries when it comes to technology adoption.
“Yes, we are slowly ramping up. Yes, we are hearing about more success in the news, but it's our every day businesses that aren't staying with the times, let alone ahead of the curve.
“I know we have so much potential, but we are our own worst enemy. New Zealand has so much potential. I’ve been disappointed.”
Kelly says New Zealand is missing opportunities to strengthen, not only business but, the pillars of society like education.
“For example, what if secondary and tertiary school students were guided by their teachers to design their own online learning programmes based on key knowledge requirements for a technology subject?
“This would shift the students into active learning which has shown to increase knowledge gain to 50 percent compared to 12 percent by students in traditional, lecture-based classes. The teachers can, in-turn, learn from the very digital natives they are trying to teach.”
As changes in industry move towards tech, so too does the knowledge need for students to move into a digitally-driven workforce, says Kelly.
“As the tech industry needs change, the key knowledge requirements change and are again submitted to the open New Zealand market. The previously-designed online programmes are cross-examined against the new requirements and adapted by the students again, if needed.”
The call is going out to encourage New Zealanders to become early adopters of tech, says Kelly. Especially in building digital capabilities in our young people.
“If we, New Zealand, became early adopters as well as empowered our young people to work at crafting technology to solve every-day problems, we could see our tech sector grow from being our third biggest export to our number one export.”
Kelly says this revolution needs to be people driven as well as Government led, as rapid change is championed by people.
“Regarding the government: there are arms of the government where they are trying to innovate. However, government wasn’t built for speed. It was built for scale.”