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Techweek Tauranga kicks off by exploring society’s pick-a-path futures

What role will tech play in New Zealand's possible futures? And where do the people that live there and the Bay of Plenty fit into that? Those are the questions being posed by Venture Centre and SO during Techweek in May, in Tauranga and they need you to help answer them.

Imagine, for a second, a future where the government controls all aspects of your life, from how you are paid and pay for stuff to what you can actually buy. Or one where everything is run by big business, what would that future look like?

Now imagine a future where everyone has doubled down on not creating any carbon emissions to the point where you never leave your neighbourhood. Or a service-driven economy – one where there’s Uber for everything. You never have to leave your house because everything is delivered to your door.

What part does food, water, its production and distribution, play in these possible futures? Where do you and the Bay of Plenty fit into that? Those are the questions being posed by Venture Centre and SO during Techweek in May, in Tauranga and they need you to help answer them.

GrowPlenty - Puna Tōnuitanga is a three hour workshop running four times over two-days where participants will explore these futures and how technology will intersect in them. Tackling four different areas within these futures, in groups, workshop participants will address energy, earth, air, water, what we grow; and how we grow and distribute it.

Led by Venture Centre, an organisation dedicated to increasing entrepreneurship and SO, a future-centred design business, the two-day workshop is open to anyone over the age of 16 and is sure to challenge and excite those involved. The aim is to grow plenty of talented individuals who will do good for the world.

Other partners participating include Steve Saunders and Alistair Scarfe from Robotics Plus and Greg Miriams from Techion. These experts will be on hand to talk about their current contributions, their technologies and how they see the future and inspire participants, as examples of what innovation and entrepreneurship look like in the production and distribution of food.

SO partner Peter Salmon says they’re thrilled to be involved. “Our job is to help organisations make sense of the future so they can react faster and seize new advantage from these new territories – we call it cartography for the future,” he says.

“So this workshop fits perfectly. It will be exciting to explore the future and technology in the Bay of Plenty in this way.”

Venture Centre co-founder Jo Allum agrees.

“We are alive at a time when things are changing faster than they ever have before. It is a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, Ambiguous) world. The last time we saw anything like this was about 200 years ago in the days of the Industrial Revolution,” she says.

“The technology and systems we are inventing can accelerate our progress towards new ways to live, so we have an opportunity – to create a future which serves us all. One which uses new technologies, ways of thinking and living to benefit our planet and our people.”

Allum says anyone who is excited by these concepts should join them in Tauranga during Techweek to explore them further. “We welcome you to join us to explore the future and the challenges it presents.”

But these workshops are just the beginning, Peter says. “Beyond the GrowPlenty – Puna Tōnuitanga workshops, Venture Centre and SO are working on launching a youth development programme to teach foresight and critical thinking skills to youth, so they are in a better position to navigate the future. It will be based on a similar programme called ISITIA, which currently operates in Mexico City.”

So, what is your part is our society’s collective pick-a-path? Find out by joining GrowPlenty - Puna Tōnuitanga on May 21 and 22 at Basestation in Tauranga.

Head here to find out more and register.

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