Welcome and a warning

This guide helps New Zealanders turn their ideas into world-beating products, businesses and brands. Whether you’ve got an idea of your own, you’re working on other people’s ideas or you’d simply like your company to be more innovative, you’ll find essential answers in these pages

This Guide is a treasure map, and it is worth a fortune. It has been purpose-built to inspire you to become a world-beating innovator, raking in millions from all over the globe. Contained within these pages is advice and experience from some of the country’s top innovation experts—specialist lawyers, accountants, brand designers, bankers, researchers, incubators and more.

This stuff usually doesn’t come for free. We’ve laid it on because we are committed to the idea that New Zealand can become a global player in innovation, and because we believe innovation beats the day job.

We’ve cut the innovation process up into bite-sized chunks for you, but to succeed you’ll need a good grasp of the whole process. Maybe you already have an idea spinning around your head but no matter how good you think it is, it won’t be good enough for you to skip the hard yards described in these pages. Innovation is less about coming down the mountain with your message on tablets of stone, and more about hauling those rocks up the mountain in the first place.

If you do try to miss any of the crucial steps you are betting everything you own and the best years of your life on that decision. Innovators are professional daredevils, not amateurs. It may look foolhardy and dangerous, but they do the work to calculate the risks and minimise them.

And they listen to others, which is why we went asking a lot of questions, and listened carefully to the answers. By doing so we have found that successful innovation requires the right balance of humility and belligerence. Once you have listened and learned, you have to commit and complete.

It’s also a team game. Successful innovators don’t buy dogs and then bark themselves. They identify all the expertise and skills they need, and are clear about what they can do themselves and what they should get good people in for. They learn the fundamentals of each discipline so they can understand, interact and monitor, and then trust their staff or partners to get on with the job. You can start this process now by reading this Guide.

And crucially, the process is continuous. It’s not just about having one good idea, and success is never final.

There’s another reason this Guide is valuable. It is designed to inspire you to innovate, but it also tries to put you off. Because if we can put you off, then you don’t have what it takes just yet, and we’ve just saved you a fortune in time and money.

But is innovation really even a choice? Perhaps you think you work in a nice, safe, comfortable company that doesn’t need to innovate. But very few industries can stand still against the tide. Ultimately, we innovate or we die.

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).