New Zealand Innovation Awards People's Choice: ASB for Clever Kash

It was a tight race that came down (literally) to the last few minutes, but the people have spoken and ASB's Clever Kash is the Idealog People's Choice!

When was the last time you actually went to an ATM to withdraw cash? Chances are, it’s not as often as you used to. According to Statistics New Zealand, between 70 and 90 percent of our transactions every day are cashless. And young people are using cash even less – which is why ASB has a new way to help teach kids about the value of a dollar.

Clever Kash is a piggy bank shaped like an elephant. But rather than holding coins and notes, it displays a child’s account balance in real-time by interacting with the ASB Mobile Banking app. Simple!

ASB chief architect, James Bergin says the initiative is a great tool for teaching kids about money in a way they can relate to. “Cash works as a tool for teaching kids the value of money because it connects to how they learn about numbers,” he says. “We learn to count with physical materials, fingers, counters, before we are able to count in our head. Also, because cash is a physical material that we exchange for value, it has built-in features that promote an understanding of scarcity – once it is gone, it’s gone – and loss for gain – hand it over to the shopkeeper in order to receive your goods.”

First piloted in September 2015, more than 47,000 New Zealanders have expressed interest in Clever Kash before it has even launched. The idea came from surveys conducted by ASB showing 96 percent of parents believed teaching their children about money is important, but 64 percent of parents were struggling to teach their children basic money skills in an increasingly cashless society.

“For generations, cash has been the ‘bridge’ between the intangible concept of money and the tangible world we live in,” says Bergin. “When you remove the bridge, you remove that connection, and people are left stranded trying to figure out ways to magically pick up the habits and knowledge that we once used cash to impart.”

Roger Beaumont, ASB executive general manager marketing and communications also believes that while Clever Kash has disruptive potential, the more important mission is teaching children about money in a way they can relate to. “Clever Kash is a real product aimed at solving a real problem and it’s wonderful to see how positively our customers, and the industry, have responded to this innovation.”

Runner-up: Pop-up Globe Auckland temporary theatre

Pop-up Globe was a full-scale replica of the famed second Globe Theatre where many of William Shakespeare’s plays were performed for the very first time. The three-storey, 900-person theatre popped up in Auckland in February this year to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. About 100,000 people were able to see a performance at the theatre during the 12 weeks it stood. 

Dr Miles Gregory and Tobias Grant were two of the chief architects of the project. Gregory says the idea of the Pop-up Globe came from a wish of Gregory’s young daughter. As he was reading her a pop-up storybook, which contained a pop-up Globe Theatre, she asked him: “Daddy, can we go there?” Gregory’s response: “Well London is a very, very long way away darling. I don’t think we’ll get there anytime soon.” So he decided to bring London to New Zealand.

Second Runner-up: Educa Education software

Wellington-based Educa creates software that allows educators, caregivers and parents to track a child’s development, taking the adage 'it takes a village to raise a child' into the digital age. The brainchild of Nathan Li, who came up with the idea after he and his wife wanted to be able to be involved with their daughter Nancy’s life despite both working full-time jobs, Educa was originally incubated at CreativeHQ, and now boasts more than 100,000 users in 19 countries.