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The year that was: A look back at Idealog’s top 10 stories for 2019

We’d like to think (completely unbiasedly) that Idealog gathered together some quality stories for our community this year, and reported on the issues that mattered. But don’t just take our word for it – trust in the judgment of our readers’ eyeballs. To recap on the year that was, according to you, feast your eyes on the top ten most well-read stories on Idealog over the course of 2019.

1. Here’s the wellbeing policies some of New Zealand’s biggest companies are championing for 2019 – read it here.

In 2019, companies were more focused than ever on the health and happiness of their staff, as wellbeing becomes increasingly seen as a key indicator of success along economic value by governments and organisations across the world. This is because while the corporate world has long seen the bottom line as the be all and end all, companies are increasingly taking a more holistic view and recognising that looking after the wellbeing of their people will in turn, make their bottom line healthier, too. In our top read story for our Wellness Month, we reached out to some of New Zealand’s best companies and asked what they’re focused on for this year and why. FCB, Isthmus, RUSH, Southern Cross, Xero and Trade Me responded. 

2. Here’s eight creative New Zealand women you should know about – read it here

We celebrate women basically every day here at Idealog, but we also won’t pass on an excuse to roll out a list of inspiring women more people need to familiarise themselves with. So when March was our Creativity-themed Month and also featured International Women’s Day, we helped our readers get to know eight trailblazing women making New Zealand a more imaginative and innovative place through their work in tech, design, start-ups, urban design and more.

3.  The Idealog + Studio ZQ Wool-ovation competition – read it here.

Idealog is one of the few media brands dedicated to celebrating New Zealand’s special brand of creativity. The New Zealand Merino Company has helped transform the sheep industry from a faceless commodity into a supplier for premium global brands. So, like Allbirds and Icebreaker are to merino farmers, earlier in 2019 we teamed up to to celebrate the opening of its Studio ZQ innovation space in Christchurch and our design community’s talents by asking our audience to design a product that harnesses the potential of strongwool. The competition attracted a lot of interest and entries – check it out at the link above, and get to know the overall winner, Bec Bartells, here.

4. What can we do about NZ’s lack of VC funding? Read it here

New Zealand’s tech scene has long leaned heavily on angel funding to get companies off the ground, but what happens in the glaring gap between angel investment and venture capital? In February, New Zealand law firm Simmonds Stewart, which has about 300 active tech companies on its books, crunched the numbers on VC funding in New Zealand versus in its Southeast Asia market in 2018, and its partner Andrew Simmonds shared a few insights on the issue – and how we could think about tackling it. 

5. A day in the life: Giapo’s Annarosa Petrucci – read it here.

Annarosa Petrucci is the co-founder of Giapo, which is heralded by many as New Zealand’s most innovative ice cream company. She shared with us how she gets through the day, how she organises her time and how she handles the madness of business.

6. A day in the life: Air New Zealand’s Jodie King – read it here.

Jodie King is chief people officer at Air New Zealand. She joined the company as an HR general manager in 2012 after 16 years of living and working in the UK, including a role as the director of talent management at KPMG across nine European countries. She was appointed to her current role at Air New Zealand in 2016. She shared how she gets through the day, organises her time and manages a busy executive role. 

7. New Zealand’s tech community pick their top trends to look out for in 2019 – read it here.

As part of our spotlight on the year ahead in February, we reached out to a few key players in the tech industry, such as Paymark, The Icehouse, Callaghan Innovation, Soul Machines, Fintech NZ and Method, to see what trends and categories they thought will be dominating the tech sector in 2019 and why. Did they get their predictions right? Check out their responses and see for yourself.

8. Elevator pitch: Edison – read it here.

We gave Rich Tangney a little longer than an elevator ride to pitch his business Edison, a newly launched personalised healthcare service based in Auckland that includes detailed genetic profiling, 3D body imaging and even wearable tech to track their patients’ health and wellbeing – and more ambitiously, prolong their life span. This innovative disrupter to the health category clearly captured our readers’ imagination. 

9. A great yarn for New Zealand: The New Zealand Merino Company on Studio ZQ and its vision to create more Allbirds and Icebreakers – read it here.

2019 was the year for New Zealand’s entrepreneurs to remove the wool from their eyes and see the many potential uses for our own natural fibres, New Zealand Merino Company declared. While companies like Allbirds and Firewire Surfboards are paving the way for innovative ways to use wool, to help fast-track the revival of this material, the organisation has opened an innovation space in the heart of Christchurch city to develop creative business ideas and encourage more wool and fibre-based businesses to arise in Aotearoa. Check out our chat with CEO John Brakenridge about the opportunity for the both the start-up sector and the agriculture industry.


10. Here’s the social issues NZ CEOs will be championing in 2019 – read it here

In 2019, more so than ever before, consumers expected companies to take a stand when it comes to social issues. After all, this is the era of the activist businesses that make it their company’s mission to create social change – from Nike’s controversial Colin Kaepernick campaign, to Patagonia donating the US$10 million it saved from the Trump administration’s tax cuts to environmental organisations. Closer to home, New Zealand CEOs are increasingly vocal about issues like mental health, poverty and climate change. In light of that, we reached out to the bosses of Beca, Pead PR, DB Breweries, Kiwibank, Xero and Tech Futures Lab and asked what they’d be focusing on for this year, and why it has influenced their business’ mission. 

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