Oh no, please don't, bro

Article illustration

It’s weird that so many great business minds could be so misguided.

Maybe that's why I'm no great business mind—they can see something I can’t, maybe?

Over 100 entrepreneurs gathered in Auckland today to consider 170 ideas in what organisers promised to be the first Entrepreneurial Summit. The winning idea was, wait for it, a nationwide morale booster called “Have a go, bro”.

I'm serious.

And from the audience: “Give it whirl, girl”. Ouch.

Just in case I was feeling overly jaded I tried the idea on the my teenage and preteen sons. The confirmation was quick. “It’s the sort of thing Murray Hewitt would say,” says the 12-year-old. There you go.

It's a pity becasue it will turn an otherwise excellent event into a laughing stock, in much the same way that the seemingly trivial Cycleway has come to represent the job summit. I can't believe organisers didn't manage the results a bit. So much for the wisdom of crowds.

The two best ideas quickly rose to second and third places: the Kiwi Card and Possum Wool. The former is a brilliant tourism idea: a $10,000 debit card, bought in the UK and North America, will provide the buyer with a “free” trip on Air NZ to godzone, whereupon they can spend their $10,000 on any merchants’ eftpos machine. The trip is free because the government pays the GST component of $1,250 to Air NZ—and gets it back through additional spending. In addition to increased tourists, the potential PR spin is big, bro.

Possum wool is a sitter: a potential $100m exporter earner from day one. Just ask Peri Drysdale who has been making merino mink (mixture of the two) for years.

Other great ideas include:

  • adding value to dairy, especially in the nutritional and sports markets
  • harvetsting water for improved irrigation management and export sales
  • financial life skills education in schools
  • directing more of the Super Fund towards Kiwi business
  • adopting US style regulations around R&D commercialisation

There were few duds, apart from the winner. Seriously, am I mistaken or did lunacy just grab everyone for a moment?

Stuff have followed it breathlessly here. And the Herald more reflectively here.

Idealog would like to follow up these ideas, so watch this space. And your ideas?

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).