Idealog Year in Review: ASB chief architect James Bergin

Idealog Year in Review: ASB chief architect James Bergin

In the latest edition of our series asking some of Aotearoa's best-known businesspeople and visionaries to take a step back and offer their insights on how the past year has gone and how the future might unfold, we chat with ASB chief architect James Bergin.

Favourite innovation that isn't yours?

Pretty much anything Tesla makes.

Favourite innovation that is yours?

Aww, I love all our children equally, but I am quite partial to a little yellow elephant-shaped cashless moneybox we built this year called Clever Kash.

Most interesting launch/innovation/trend/thing of the year?

I think the invisible UX (i.e. conversational interfaces, voice recognition, artificial intelligence) trend is really starting to heat up and show some mainstream promise.

Lamest launch/innovation/trend/thing of the year?

Lamest trends of the year – you won’t believe number 3…click here: ransomware, security breaches, and clickbait.

Most promising New Zealand company/companies?

Other than ASB? Anyone who banks with ASB.

The real heroes are those around the world that are trying to live normal lives in appalling conditions, as well as those people that are genuinely trying to make their lives better.


Maybe somewhat unfairly, but Samsung and their battery production process have been cast pretty strongly as a villain this year.  I think the real villains are fake news providers on both sides of the debate.

Best stoush? 
It feels like 80’s nostalgia, but I’m going to go with Apple vs. Microsoft in the battle for intriguing design and customer experience. Very impressive, and we’re the ones that benefit! 

Your own biggest success?

In life: My family. In work: So far, it’s getting the innovation culture to the point where we were able to make something like Clever Kash a success and get it into customer hands.

What’s the biggest mistake innovators/businesses will make in 2017?

Overestimating some emerging tech while underestimating others.

What do you expect to see in the next five years?

Really good, cheap solar panels and batteries.

What will be dead in the next five years?

The smartphone as we know it.

What should be invented and/or un-invented?

There’s a number of political and other ideologies I’d like to un-invent, but short of that, I am looking forward to someone inventing a cure for all cancers.

Favourite book/TV show/podcast/album/website/magazine/story/performance enhancing drug of the year?

Book: Hairy McClary, The Hobbit or anything else I read with my kids

TV: The Crown

Podcast: Daily Tech News Show or The Starters

Album: Oscar Peterson Plays the Cole Porter Songbook

Website: Google

Magazine: Flipboard

Performance Enhancing Drug of the Year: green tea

One piece of tech you’d have on a desert island?

To survive if I’m stranded? Carbon nanotube membrane water purifier. To chill if I’m on holiday? My Kindle Paperwhite. 

Will the robots become sentient and kill us all? (asking for a friend)

Yeah, nah.

As you’re enjoying the great outdoors this summer, The Kiwibank Conservation Dogs will be out there too, hard at work, giving our nature a future. 

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