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Idealog Year in Review: Jenene Crossan

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 Flossie founder and 2016 New Zealand Innovation Awards Most Inspiring Individual winner Jenene Crossan.

Favourite innovation that isn't yours?  

Amazon Go, the new supermarket of the future,…oh la la can’t wait. Retail innovation is my new favourite thing.

Favourite innovation that is yours?

Flossie, obviously, and for bloody good reason!  We have broken some pretty amazing new ground this year and finished up 500 percent up in revenue growth. Proud doesn’t quite sum it up, this team has really moved mountains. We’ve taken our first steps into personalisation, launched chat bot, completed our first calendar integration and added a new retail collections aspect - it’s been a full development year with (on average) one new release every month. The dial has moved so much and that has driven us to keep the momentum up. Inspiring stuff to take into 2017.

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

Elon Musk’s Solar Roof is game-changing, once again he hits the mark with innovative design meeting world-saving technology. Now I  just need my Tesla that’s on order to turn up….

Most promising New Zealand company/companies?  

Spring Sheep Milk Co (slightly biased, it is the husband’s) they’re changing the future of how we see dairy - environmental, human and animal benefits wrapped up in a super tasty / good for you product to market.

Heroes?

Sam Stubbs (Simplicity KiwiSaver)! I’m delighted to be on his board and be part of an organisation affecting real change for everyday kiwis.

Villains?

Well if I’m for the above, then I’m against those who are continuing to fight against as opposed to adjust and do better for New Zealanders in their retirement.  Time to lower your fees!

Best stoush?  

Simplicity vs. the establishment has been a great fight to be part of (helps to be on the right side).  

Your own biggest success?

Just staying alive when you’re a start-up creating something that’s never been done before is deemed success, and we did more than just that this year. But for me, personally, it was being honoured at the Innovation Awards - I was really humbled by not only the accolade, but the extraordinary kindness that poured out of people after it. Many wonderful stories were fed back to me that really put 17 years of self driving start ups into perspective. Turns out it really is worth it.

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

Probably to not take economic instability into consideration when it comes to launching products, setting targets and raising money.  I suspect we’re going to see a topsy turvy climate for a few years and that will make raising funds harder.

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

Siri is already getting more useful, I think this is going to be a huge game changer when she’s fully functioning at regular talking / doing / instructional level. Having an AI personal assistant is going to really improve our quality of life, taking out all of the dreadfully boring personal admin.

What will be dead in five years?

DVD players and car keys.

What should be invented and/or un-invented?

Time travel.  

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

We got a wee bit hooked on Vikings this year (note the side braid I wore many times to events, inspired by Agatha), loved Before the Flood (Leo for President!), became a big fan of thespinoff.co.nz (who isn’t?) and took up reading the Gone series (aimed at teens, but great zone-out night time / pool side reading). 

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

Clearly I’d need my phone charger.

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

Not in our lifetime. The kids might have a bit more to worry about though. I hope not, I can see so much goodness that can come from automation, but it’s a highly complex layer of human changes that need to intersect perfectly to have AI mean we get back more of our lives for our own enjoyment. 

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. 

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription, an Idealog t-shirt and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).