Ten* After Ten: Steve Bayliss on how the more things change the more they stay the same

We first profiled Steve Bayliss in issue six (Nov-Dec 2006) when he was leading a team of design fanatics at Air NZ. He’s now group GM at Foodstuffs. We asked him to reflect on what’s changed in the last 10 years. And what still needs to.

Ten years ago sounds like a long time. 2005. A tremendous amount should have changed surely? 

Now this may sound a little flat Earth, but not really. People don’t change that much. I often start presentations on social media putting up a picture taken in an Aussie pub in the 1970s. That’s social media…people telling other people what they like, what’s inspiring them, and what’s driving them nuts. Facebook just changed the scale, not the fundamental human motivation. So, new generational millennials my butt. They’re just younger adults with largely the same motivations and drivers as everyone else.

So, what about our economic drivers as we adapt to new technology, should we expect wholesale future change? Evolution certainly. But the things that built our economy – our distance, quality of life, ability to produce quality food, cultural diversity, scenery etc – and our disadvantages for scale-based manufacturing (for example) will be no less true in 10 years’ time than they were 10 years ago.

I’m also certain there will be other Xeros – great new-tech and science-led examples of Kiwi ingenuity making a global impact. We’ll love ‘em and celebrate ‘em, but our roots won’t have changed materially thank goodness. Maybe we’ll even have a better NZ Brandmark (aka flag) to reflect who we are as an independent nation on a global stage.

What keeps me awake at night? Sure we’ve got stuff to sort – important issues that affect many Kiwis.  But let’s look at how we’re rolling on the global stage. There is simply no place I’d rather be.  We’ll be okay. Actually, a lot more than okay.  

*Dodgy counting alert: Initially, we actually we asked 11 people, because we were worried not everyone would want to contribute. But everyone did. But “11 after 10” didn’t sound right. And then we liked those 11 answers so much, we kept asking people. Stay tuned for more over the summer months.

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