Blog: From the Exosphere

From the Exosphere is a platform for sharing thoughts from the team at MartinJenkins. The exosphere is the last layer of atmosphere before space, offering an unrivalled view of our blue planet and where we might go next.

Electrifying the sharing economy

Andrew Horwood. 22 January 2019
By now you’re probably familiar with the sharing economy, where individually owned assets or services are ‘shared’ with others, typically for a fee. We’ve seen Uber dominate the traditional taxi market, and charming cottages on Airbnb now compete with hotels. You can offer to babysit a dog, borrow a car from your neighbours, hire a handyperson and more, all via the sharing economy.
So could the electricity market be next? And if so, what would this mean for New Zealand producers, consumers and government?
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Will cheese become New Zealand’s next craft beer?

Kevin Jenkins. 5 January 2019
We Kiwis are now much better off for being able to buy a fresh dark rye loaf, try a local truffle, eat a weird-looking heritage tomato, drink some outstanding beer and, increasingly, obsess over some of the best cheese in the world.
More than that though, this flowering of experimentation is becoming a serious value-add contributor to our economy. Craft beer exports have the potential to follow our wine exports. I reckon our artisan cheese industry might be on the same path.
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The customer comes first — Being a public servant in parliament

Andrew Horwood. 20 November 2018
Being a private secretary for a Minister has some unique demands and also some rewarding insights. Andrew Horwood gives an insider’s view of a job that takes you to the heart of the government.
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Grit or quit? Why business owners need to know when to give up

Kevin Jenkins. 19 November 2018
My favourite line from The Simpsons was when Homer advised Bart, ‘If at first you don’t succeed, give up and try something else’.
The thing that makes this joke so good is that it’s incongruent with so much of the advice we’re normally given. Family members, random YouTube ads and successful entrepreneurs are constantly encouraging you to be ‘resilient’ and keep going no matter how hard it gets. ‘Nothing gets done without hard work’ the refrain usually goes.
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New Zealand business needs to explore opportunities in the Indian Ocean

Kevin Jenkins. 14 October 2018

New Zealand businesses need to pay more attention to what’s happening west of Australia.
The populations and economies of countries around the Indian Ocean are the fastest growing in the world, and they’ve banded together to adopt a radical economic plan.
Before Europe landed in America, the Indian Ocean was often the crossroad of world trade. Cultivated plants spread from Africa to India around 2000 BC, and Indonesians may have been first to settle Madagascar. Innovation doesn’t just rely on smart people, investors or smart policies; geography plays a big part too. Cities developed on rivers and other trade routes, and it was no different for the Indian Ocean.
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Partnership: The key to using housing as a tool for inclusive growth

Patrick McVeigh. 11 October 2018
From the front porch to the work water-cooler to the council chamber or committee room, the national housing situation is usually not too far away from the surface of our everyday discussions. Patrick McVeigh looks at some key success factors for tackling the problem.
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Will real estate agents be replaced by robots?

Kevin Jenkins. 16 September 2018
It’s no longer a question of whether but rather when the real estate industry will be disrupted. A 2013 study by Oxford University estimated AI has a 98 per cent chance of replacing estate agents. In the US alone, by late 2016 US$1.8 billion had been invested in real estate tech start-ups, and it hasn’t slowed up since. 
That said, not everyone is convinced human sales agents are on the way out.
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Would you subscribe to toilet paper or organic tampons?

Kevin Jenkins. 19 August 2018
You might subscribe to a newspaper, but would you subscribe to toilet paper? You might have wine delivered to your home each month, but would you sign up for chocolate to be delivered each month? What about clothes, flowers, or use of a range of vehicles?
Subscriptions aren't new, but they are back with a vengeance, and they have the huge advantage of providing reliable cash flow.
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Nudge or be nudged: Tricks of the trade from a behavioural scientist

Renee Jaine. 6 August 2018
Knowledge is power. Once you understand people’s mental shortcuts and biases, you can incorporate those insights into your organisational communications, processes and behaviour-change efforts.
Here are four take-home lessons I’ve learned as a behavioural scientist on the frontline.
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Towards a new 'localism': Bottom-up problem solving in the 21st century

Patrick McVeigh. 25 July 2018
Last week's Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Conference in Christchurch brought together mayors, councillors and senior local government officers from all over New Zealand. With a healthy dose of central government Ministers, MPs and senior civil servants, as well as conference sponsors and other attendees, it was fertile ground for discussion and debate.
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Realising New Zealand’s Circular Economy Opportunity

Patrick McVeigh. 3 July 2018
The transition to a circular economy offers significant economic and environmental benefits for New Zealand. Recent research looking at the potential of moving to a circular economy in Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, highlights substantial benefits if circular economy principles and practices were fully embraced. The research, undertaken by the economic consultancy Sapere, on behalf of the Sustainable Business Network (SBN) highlighted that; ...
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What the proposed cannabis law change means for New Zealand

Kevin Jenkins. 25 June 2018
The uneven liberalisation of cannabis laws internationally is throwing up some strange and thorny issues. On the West Coast of the US there’s a ‘pot banking’ problem: recreational marijuana businesses are legal at state level but not at federal, and this means most banks won’t touch their money for fear of breaching federal money laundering laws. 
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Off-site construction and the housing crisis — ‘Modularise’ or die?

Michael Mills. 21 June 2018
A recurring problem for New Zealand’s building industry has been a fall-off in quality and productivity in times of high demand. Michael Mills argues that a strategic shift to off-site construction can potentially address the massive current demand while still maintaining quality standards.
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Fair Pay Agreements — Issues and challenges for a new wave of collective bargaining

Doug Martin. 2 May 2018
The Government has signaled it wants to boost collective bargaining by introducing new employment laws to facilitate ‘Fair Pay Agreements’. Doug Martin looks both to recent and to more distant labour-relations history for lessons to guide the implementation of these new FPAs.
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A small revolution in our suburbs:
the sports hub phenomenon

Kevin Jenkins. 26 April 2018
Across the country, hundreds of sports clubs and community groups are getting together in clusters to share both the costs of upgrading facilities and the dull but indispensable minutiae of administration. It’s a new sports hub phenomenon that’s having some success adapting Aotearoa’s traditional club and community scene to 21st century life.
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Sharing economy hurtling ahead of NZ laws

Kevin Jenkins. 18 April 2018
Talk of platforms — or the ‘sharing economy’ — sometimes seems to be everywhere. The digital economy is a key part of the world economy, and the new platforms are on the way to being the dominant business model in the digital economy.
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Collaborating with the enemy

Sarah Baddeley. 5 March 2018
Collaboration — it’s easy to say, and usually hard to do. But by accepting inevitable conflicts and by bringing a flexible, experimental approach, partners will be more likely to achieve meaningful change together. 
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Getting technology platforms over the line

Paul Clarke. 20 February 2018
The New Zealand government rightly puts emphasis on proper business cases to justify major investments. But this doesn't always work well when realising opportunities presented by technology. By being smart, we can stop due process being a roadblock. Read More

design Thinking - Silver Bullet or white whale?

Nicola Halliday. 18 Dec 2017
Design thinking has been propelled into the consciousness of many organisations and their people, eager to experience its healing properties. It's been exalted and applied liberally to all types of organisational problems - big and small, national and international. Read More


Pip Bowron. 27 Oct 2017
A couple of weeks ago I had the good fortune to travel to Dunedin for the first time in far too many years. My perception of Dunedin has always been heavily centred on its architecture. The name Dunedin conjures images of big, courageous architecture. Read More

How New Zealand Is Reacting To The People Rush

Pip Bowron. 11 October 2017
“Global mega-trend” is a term I first encountered when I started work at Wellington City Council in 2011. It struck me that it was a very impressive, important sounding term, but in my head, at the time, I quietly translated it to ‘stuff that happens all around the world’. Read More

Why Space Is Still The Place

Kevin Jenkins. 27 September 2017
Space has suddenly become big in New Zealand. Rocket Lab is just one example of what is starting to look like exponential growth in commercial activity, research is following a similar path, and the Government is active in policy and regulation. Read More

Who says structure should follow strategy?

Richard Tait. 6 September 2017
‘Structure follows strategy’ is one of those mantras trotted out every so often as a design principle for organisations. I heard it again recently in a piece of work where the client was grappling with the implications of shifting to more digitally oriented service delivery strategy. Read More

The breakthrough that will make you start digitising your processes right now

Kevin Jenkins. 15 August 2017
In my 20s I led pay bargaining for public sector employers. We were moved around different industries and one group that had a certain mystique was mine managers. Read More

7 Reasons Why Electric Boats Will Be The Best In The World

Kevin Jenkins. 4 August 2017
I believed Ratty in the Wind in the Willows when he told Mole that “there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats”. Read More

Modern Heritage and Other Oxymorons

Andrew Millar and Kevin Jenkins. 28 July 2017
One of our university professors had almost all the attributes of a much-loved stereotypical ‘eccentric liberal arts academic’, including wind-blown hair, leather elbow patches and food stains on his tie. Read More

Music Moguls Making More Money

Kevin Jenkins. 20 July 2017
I love how some PR person has come up with the notion of Xennials — the people in the cracks between the X Generation and Millennials — because I reckon I’m a Xoomer. Read More

The Augmented Reality of Live Sport

Kevin Jenkins. 12 July 2017
Talk about being spoilt for choice. Over the last few weeks we’ve enjoyed watching the British and Irish Lions tour the country to take on the best of New Zealand. Read More