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Idealog year in review: Double Denim's Anna Dean

Double Denim director Anna Dean shares her views on the year that was, and the years that could be.

What was the most interesting New Zealand company that caught your eye?

It’s hard to pick one but loving the energy pumping out of Big Street Bikers. For most people an e-bike is a significant investment, so hats off to this team who have come up with a solution for urban dwellers in Auckland. I hear they have big plans to expand a biking network and good on Mercury for supporting them.

A company we worked with worth mentioning too is Good Gold. After making over 10,000 rings as Ash Hilton Jewellery, this Nelson collective has launched an ethical wedding ring company where you can choose your own band with a super slick site designed by Output Studio. The concept is simple, the solution is well executed and any company that’s providing a way to avoid toxic mining run-off sounds good to me at this moment in time.  

What about internationally?

Ha – well who could go past Cambridge Analytica for catching the world’s attention? Having spent over twelve years working with social media, I’m firmly of the opinion we need more boundaries. These are issues we all need to be thinking about and something described by one of its creators as “Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare mindfuck tool” is never going to be a good thing.

What was the most interesting launch/trend/idea/building/product of the year?

To be honest, 125 Years of Suffrage celebrations was as a pretty big highlight for 2018 and Double Denim was stoked to help create two online projects What Women Want and #Trailblazing125 for UN Women. It was the year of #MeToo and as we’ve run the Ace Lady Network now for over five years we’re extremely excited and enthused to see how the international conversations about equality are moving forward (despite occasional moments of backlash). We now have more women connected online than ever before and this means the dominant narratives are changing.

What public event that impacted on or affected you the most?

Waka Odyssey.

What was your favourite book/TV show/podcast/album/website/ magazine/story/performance enhancing of 2018?

The podcast The Wilderness, actually everything being created by Crooked Media I have a lot of time for. The former Obama staffers have grappled with the state of American politics since Trump got elected and it’s incredibly compelling listening. It’s good to be able to laugh at it all sometimes and the live Lovett or Leave It shows can be truly great (panellist dependent).

Heroes?

Jacinda Ardern – she could not have done at better job representing the country and the generational change we see now in world politics at the UN in September. She’s represents a fantastic bridge between the large cohorts of Millennials and Boomers as a Xennial. She had an analog childhood and a digital adulthood so understands both directions and that’s an incredibly important view right now.

Villains?

Erm, Jamie-Lee Ross...

Your own personal highlight?

Lifewise a personal highlight was getting through some intense earthquake action on Lombok in August. Nothing like some near-death experiences to test a new relationship and we came out on top. We ended up sneaking back to our deserted resort to have a surreal dinner in an abandoned honeymoon hut as the ground continued to shake.

Workwise, it was fantastic to nut out our gender intelligence process after surveying the economic and emotional lives of New Zealand women the year before. The results had been pretty stark so we took the time to come up with strategic business solutions to address these and help businesses understand the power of the female economy. As well as creating a series of workshops for women to help them understand their own power. I also enjoyed touring the country for the launch of the Content NZ, the new Content Marketing Association and seeing how much the provinces are calling out for conversations on everything including feminism.

We also created some big events for the Ace Lady Network including MONEY MONEY MONEY where women came together to have real conversations about investing, superannuation, budgeting and abundance mentality. We’ve been working on a major project for a super fund in Australia and had been horrified about how little we knew about what we perceived as “white man’s magic.”

Biggest learning for you?

Always know how far it is to get to high ground.

Going into 2019, what’s the change you want to see in the world?

Personally I’d love to see businesses and organisations understand the power that diversity and inclusion can really have to the bottom line, staff retention and general wellbeing of people in their work and consequently their home lives. A lot of work has been done around unconscious bias, but we can go a lot further.

What should be invented and/or un-invented in the next year?

Some serious solutions invented to help the rapid species extinction we’re seeing around the globe. It’s getting pretty terrifying.

Is it the robots we should be worried about, or the humans?

I’d say, humans but then that Black Mirror episode with the robot dogs (series 4, episode 5) was pretty nightmarish.

How long before we have:  

DNA modification?

I imagine somewhere in the world we’re already there.

Immortality?

I’m not sure why people would bother (see next question).  

Cities that all look like Venice?

That IPCC report really was a wake up call. Hopefully longer than predicted.

No animals farmed or eaten?

The majority will be very hard to shift from this. Humans have been farming (using animal labour and farming others) for 500 generations so it could take a long while.

Chips implanted in our brains?

Appendage chips already here so I don’t imagine it’s more than five to seven years away. The tech will be close. It’s more about how long it takes to ease the population into the idea.

Colonies on Mars?
 

Best of luck to them. Jeanette Winterson’s book The Stone Gods should be compulsory reading.

Secure bunkers to protect us from the zombie apocalypse?

I’m more concerned about the actual apocalypse than the zombie one.

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