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Instant classics: Idealog's most popular stories of 2017

The 17th year of the 21st century is coming to a close. To mark this obviously momentous occasion, we take a look back on our most popular stories (at least as measured by unique page views) of 2017.

1. Idealog’s Most Creative People

We laughed, we cried, we engaged in robust discussions and, eventually, our editorial team whittled down the huge list of amazing, inspiring humans and chose the following people as category winners of Idealog and Accenture's Most Creative People. Smart humans indeed.

2. Soul Machines unveils its first emotionally intelligent, lifelike avatar

Kiwi company Soul Machines revealed its first virtual assistant called ‘Nadia’, which has been voiced by actress Cate Blanchett. The Auckland-based company develops intelligent, emotionally responsive avatars that improve the user experience on artificial intelligence platforms. After receiving a $7.5 million investment from Hong Kong-based artificial intelligence and virtual reality investor, Horizon Ventures, the company formally launched in November last year – and has already become one of Aotearoa’s – and the world’s – most recognisable AI companies.

3. Kiss your brain: What I learned when I lost my mind

Maddy King, a 2015 Westpac Women of Influence Awards finalist and co-founder of The Drawing Board Challenge, chronicles how a head injury changed her life - and what she learned in overcoming it.

4. Ezel Kokcu, a 24-year-old onto her third start-up, talks breaking into the New Zealand tech industry

There’s been a lot of talk around diversity initiatives in tech industry, but if Ezel Kokcu’s achievements are anything to go by, there’s hope for the future. After selling her previous two businesses, Kokcu is about to launch her third start-up – Passphere ­– in October. We had had a chat to her about her business, as well as what needs to be done to encourage more women into tech.

5. I Love Ugly founder Valentin Ozich on the good, the bad and the ugly

It’s been nine years since men’s clothing label I Love Ugly shook up the fashion scene in New Zealand and since then, there’s been highs and lows along the way. After keeping a low profile for the past year, the brand is back with a vengeance – and a collaboration with global sneaker giant Onitsuka Tiger.

6. Screening process: How the legacy of Weta is creating a VR monster in Wellington

The Weta Group of companies smashed the doors wide open to a world of on-screen imagination and along the way provided the anchor to Wellington’s booming screen and technology sectors. Now, a gaggle of talented Weta offspring are exploring new frontiers as they help turn the capital into a global hotspot for virtual reality.

7. Fonterra launches new platform for innovation collaboration

Aotearoa's largest company has embraced the Age of Disruption by launching Fonterra Ventures Co-Lab, its own collaboration platform. Are we really at the point of “innovate or die?”

8. Bill Reichert's New Zealand innovation report, part 2: The top ten (and a bit) New Zealand businesses

Garage Technology Ventures’ managing director Bill Reichert spent four weeks in New Zealand as entrepreneur in residence at AUT University and travelled the country meeting some of our most promising and passionate startups, innovators, educators and regulators. In the second and final part of a feature, he tells us about the New Zealand companies that impressed him most.

9. The future of smartphones and mobile technology

Mobile technology is evolving rapidly, says Userp's Anouk Papillon. But it goes far beyond faster processing speeds and more apps.

10. Meet the young woman behind PartTimer, the recruitment service poised to expand overseas

A web-based recruitment service that connects employers with part-time workers based on real-time availability and where they live - not necessarily experience - is making waves in Aotearoa and overseas. And Rebecca Gidall was just 18 when she started it all.

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 and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).