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.

How to stop carbon leaking out of our imports: A lesson from Brussels? 

With Daniel Wright
July 2023
Senior Consultant Daniel Wright explains the EU’s new carbon tariff, and discusses the potential impact if a mechanism like this were used here in Aotearoa. 
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Value for Money back in the headlines

With Richard Tait
May 2023
Richard Tait, an Executive Director at MartinJenkins, delves into the importance of Value for Money reviews for our public sector. 
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Five Factors for BUdget bid success

With Jason Webber
May 2023
Jason Webber, Finance and Economics Lead at MartinJenkins, has some tips for getting a Budget bid over the line.
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Electric PLanes: Blue sky thinking or preparing for take-off?

With Andy Horwood
May 2023
Senior Consultant Andrew Horwood looks at the prospects for electric aviation in Aotearoa.
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Whole-of-government approaches to evaluation: How’s the Marmite?

With EeMun Chen
May 2023
EeMun Chen, a Principal Consultant at MartinJenkins, talks breakfast and evaluation, arguing that Aotearoa needs a more coordinated and centralised approach to evaluating the impact of different government initiatives.
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Explainer: Zero-alcohol drinks

With Andy Horwood
March 2023
Senior Consultant Andy Horwood looks at the rapid rise of zero-alcohol drinking and explains the laws and industry policies that govern retail displays and promotions and minimum buying ages.
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With Kevin Jenkins
December 2022
New Zealand has quickly become a major player in the space industry. Kevin Jenkins explores how this has come about and what it means for policy and regulation.
This was originally published by Kevin Jenkins in Public Sector Volume 45 in December 2022.
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Urutau: weaving te ao Māori into governance

With Kevin Jenkins
12 December 2022
OPINION: New ways of governing are emerging as Māori and others seek to weave the best from the ways of our tīpuna with the Four Pillars and other formal guidance to forge a robust approach to governance fit for NZ in the 21st century. 
This was originally published by Kevin Jenkins in Institute of Directors Boardroom Magazine on 12 December 2022.
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Breaking into data science in the post-pandemic world

With Marianna Pekar
25 August 2022
Our Chief Data Scientist talks about her path from Budapest and a degree in finance and quantitative methods to Whanganui-a-Tara and rewarding roles in data science. She explains that the signs are bright for people wanting to break into this field in the post-COVID world.
This is an edited version of a talk Marianna gave at the Women in Data Science New Zealand conference in March 2022, where she aimed to offer some guidance for early-career data scientists or others transitioning into the field.
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Taking some licence: "social licence", Te Tiriti, and co-governance

With Kevin Jenkins, originally published in Boardroom Magazine Winter 2022 on 6 July
19 July 2022
“Social licence to operate” (SLO) is an important, often high-profile topic that boards need to pay attention to. However, it’s an ill-defined concept and can mean different things to different people. Its link to co-governance is also seldom understood.
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A Rainbow of data

With Bryan Field
9 May 2022
Data scientist Bryan Field explains that our Rainbow communities can now be better supported by government because Stats NZ’s new statistical standard means we can now know a lot more about them.
My wife and I are one of those government-town couples, with me in the consulting game and her at an independent Crown Entity, the Human Rights Commission. Through that connection I recently got to talk with one of her colleagues at the Commission, Taine Polkinghorne, about the importance of accurately measuring and defining populations –Rainbow communities for example. Thank you to Taine for his time and thoughts during the preparation of this article.
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Demography and Aotearoa: What lies underneath

With Kevin Jenkinsoriginally published in Kia Ora India Vol 3, Issue 4, on 13 April 2022.
22 April 2022
Among the various things ending in “–ographer” that I’m not, I’m not a demographer. But I am fascinated about what demographic trends can tell us about economic and social wellbeing.
Recently I asked some of my smart data science colleagues to update me on notable demographic trends in Aotearoa, and also what these trends might signify and what might underlie them.
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Heading to dystopia? Why daos could shake up the way companies are run

With Kevin Jenkinsoriginally published by the NZ Herald on 17 January
3 Feb 2022
The music industry is often at the forefront of disruptive change.
For a recent example look no further than Audius, a challenger streaming service that has looked to benefit from a mash-up with a broader-based social media app by partnering with TikTok. It allows songs to be used in TikTok videos, and for viewers to link back to the artist on Audius.
All very interesting, but it’s the Audius governance model that caught my eye.
Welcome to the world of “DAOs” — or “decentralised autonomous organisations”.
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numbers game: the clever kiwi companies using data to get an edge

With Kevin Jenkinsoriginally published by the NZ Herald on 7 November 2021
1 Dec 2021
Don’t you love a good mailbox held aloft by a welded chain? They used to be common in New Zealand and are certainly just as authentically Kiwiana as the usual cliches like the Four Square man and old tourism posters.
They were also code for: ‘I can do this myself’.
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Whose emissions are those? a spotlight on international bunker fuel emissions

With Bryan Field
26 Nov 2021
International bunker fuels — it doesn’t sound like an interesting topic for a blog but trust me on this one, it’s more interesting and important than you might think.
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locking down emissions? 

With Bryan Field
27 Oct 2021
This second national hibernation prompted me to finish writing this blog, which I started way back in June 2020. I was interested at that time in the effect the 2020 lockdown would have on New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions, and whether we could learn anything from this that could help us meet our emissions targets.
Thankfully, the data to enable us to work out an approximate answer to this question is now available.
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The overwhelming case for spelling Māori place names correctly

With Andrew Horwood
15 Sep 2021
There’s no shortage of reasons for spelling Māori placenames correctly. For a start, it shows appropriate respect for te reo and its speakers as Aotearoa’s indigenous population. It encourages correct pronunciation of Māori words and so supports the Government’s goal of having one million New Zealanders speaking basic te reo by 2040.
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Cultural competence in the workplace in Aotearoa

With Richard Tait
12 Sep 2021
Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori is a good opportunity for us all to think about the significance of te reo and te ao Māori in our workplaces. Over the last year I’ve been trying to expand my own understanding of te reo. I haven’t found this easy, but my repertoire is growing gradually.
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Beware the fortune tellers: An idiot’s guide to using data in business

With Kevin Jenkins
25 Jul 2021
"There is certainly high demand for senior data scientists and the like in NZ, and the numbers of graduates with degrees in mathematical sciences, behavioural sciences, economics and econometrics, and information technology have grown by 60 per cent over the past decade." 
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The big factor the Government must consider in immigration reset

With Kevin Jenkins
27 Jun 2021
The narrative about talent and population in New Zealand just keeps changing. Over recent decades we’ve seen waves of migrants, then waves of Kiwis leaving for Australia, and sometimes both at the same time. We’ve seen resentment directed at new New Zealanders from the UK, the Pacific Islands, and Asia. But we’ve also seen various initiatives to attract talent, and calls for a larger population.
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Migrants as accidental environmentalists

With EeMun Chen
21 Apr 2021
In the fourth instalment of our waste series Principal Consultant, EeMun Chen argues that we don’t yet know nearly enough about how cultural context shapes people’s environmental attitudes and behaviour — and therefore about how behaviour can be influenced to tackle the global waste explosion.
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Impact on vulnerable workers — The Labour Market & Covid-19

With EeMun Chen, Ben Craven and Mette Mikkelsen
16 Feb 2021
In the final rapid review in our Covid-19 and The Labour Market series, EeMun ChenBen Craven and Mette Mikkelsen focus on how economic shocks have impacted our most vulnerable workers and explore measures in how we can help aid recovery.
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Roles of cities and regions — The Labour Market & Covid-19

With EeMun Chen
01 Feb 2021
In the latest publication of our "The Labour Market & Covid-19" rapid review series, EeMun Chen dives into how economic shocks have impacted cities and regions differently around the world.
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Central Government Responses — The Labour Market & Covid-19

With EeMun Chen
21 Dec 2020
In the second rapid review of our "The Labour Market and Covid-19" series EeMun Chen explores central government responses to the crisis in New Zealand and across the globe. Investigating how we have responded in the past to the GFC (global financial crisis), the new policies that have been introduced and what this means for our resilience and recovery.
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Wasting our time talking about rubbish: frameworks for addressing the waste explosion

With Andrew Horwood
07 Dec 2020
Continuing our new Insights series on New Zealand’s waste explosion, Senior Consultant Andrew Horwood looks at two influential frameworks for tackling the problem – the circular economy and the waste hierarchy – and how they are both reflected in government thinking and planning around waste in Aotearoa.
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'The labour market & covid-19': 
Labour market impact 

With EeMun Chen 
25 Nov 2020
We are now making our series, The #LabourMarket and #Covid19 public. The series authored by EeMun Chen with input from Sarah Baddeley, Patrick McVeigh and Ben Craven was composed during lockdown and shared with clients. Click to read and follow this series. 1. Impacts and responses in pandemics and economic shocks
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'Why write about waste?':
Wasting our time talking rubbish 

With Andrew Horwood
09 Nov 2020
Introducing our new series on New Zealand’s ongoing waste explosion and how to address it, Senior Consultant Andrew Horwood explains why it’s a good time to be thinking and writing about waste.
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‘Rising regulatory tide’:
Privacy Commissioner John Edwards on new legal risks to business

With Kevin Jenkins
22 June 2020
Kevin Jenkins talks to Privacy Commissioner John Edwards about global trends in data protection and what the regulatory innovations in New Zealand’s new Privacy Act, due in force later this year, will mean for businesses in this country.
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A tale of two countries: The greening of power generation in Germany and the UK

With Andrew Horwood
27 May 2020
Climate change and clean energy are two of the most discussed issues of recent years. In this article, Senior Consultant Andrew Horwood looks at measures Germany and the UK have taken to reduce emissions from electricity generation, the comparative success of their approaches, and how the outlook and challenges faced by these countries compare with the situation in Aotearoa.
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COVID-19 response and recovery: An important role for local government

With Nick Davis and Harvey Brookes
12 May 2020
The response from our local governments will have a significant impact on how well Aotearoa recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. But dependent mainly on rates revenue they face some difficult funding dilemmas. Looking forward, how do councils make sure they minimise their financial impact on households as incomes fall? And what rate increase should they be striking in June this year?
Nick Davis and Harvey Brookes discuss the financial pressures faced by our local government sector and ask whether it can afford to step up more.
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‘Feed the backs’: Supply chains in the time of Covid-19

With Kevin Jenkins
11 May 2020
COVID-19 has caused major disruptions to local and international supply chains. Drawing on discussions with his mates from his video beer group The Colin Meads Club, MartinJenkins Founder Kevin Jenkins reflects on the impacts of those changes for businesses in Aotearoa.
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Building a sustainable recovery during uncertainty

With Harvey Brookes, Patrick McVeigh and Jason Leung-Wai
10 May 2020
As we step towards Alert Level 2, central and local government and businesses are turning their attention to how we recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic — how we get businesses and social services going again, and get people back to work.
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Seven lessons on how recessions impact women

With Mette Mikkelsen
4 May 2020
Senior Consultant Mette Mikkelsen outlines seven lessons on how recessions impact women, including how COVID-19 could ultimately have a positive impact on women workers.
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Covid effect intensifies Capital rates debate

With Kevin Jenkins
4 May 2020
The COVID-19 narrative has rightly been dominated by the need to keep people safe, the likelihood of a global recession, and the threat of sharply rising unemployment. One other dimension that’s starting to get more attention is the impact of the lockdown on individual businesses. One place businesses are looking for savings is rent.
The bi-weekly ‘Commercial Property New Zealand’ published a guest commentary by Kevin Jenkins. Kevin looked at the effects of COVID-19 restrictions on commercial tenants and landlords, particularly in Wellington, where the crisis has intensified the rates debate between the capital’s commercial property owners and the City Council.
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COVID-19 coronavirus: Inside the Colin Meads club

With Kevin Jenkins
24 April 2020
Commentary about the impact of COVID-19 has been rightly focused on keeping people safe, on the recession, and on the grim prospect of lots of Kiwis losing their jobs.
The conversation is also turning to how we work together to return to prosperity and what Aotearoa might look like in that new world.
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What’s ethnicity got to do with it?
Aotearoa’s growing ethnic diversity and the implications for policy

With EeMun Chen
22 April 2020
Evaluation and research specialist EeMun Chen looks at what happens when people of multiple ethnicities meet up with the Census and other official statistics in Aotearoa.
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Responding to the COVID-19 crisis:
The first ‘R’ in emergency management

With Harvey Brookes, Patrick McVeigh and Jason Leung-Wai
7 April 2020
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic differ from place to place and from sector to sector. Some businesses, such as in the visitor sector, have seen an immediate contraction, and many workers have already lost their jobs. In other sectors, particularly the primary industries and other essential services, demand has increased and there is a shortage of workers.
Consequently, different regions and localities need to think and act differently to address their particular needs and contexts.
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COVID-19: International policy lessons for New Zealand

With Mette Mikkelsen
3 April 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is one of very few developments in recent history that have required governments across the world to respond to the same policy challenge, at largely the same time, using a similar mix of policy measures and tools.
The breadth, depth, scope and timing of these policy tools has differed from country to country. Policymakers have selected dialled-up or dialled-down versions of these measures, or chosen to deploy them earlier or later.
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COVID-19 and our regions: Responding to the urgent, planning for the long term

With Harvey Brookes, Patrick McVeigh and Jason Leung-Wai
30 March 2020
New Zealand’s relatively small size and geographical isolation mean that a physical lockdown has been relatively easy to achieve. But our heavy reliance on international trade and tourism has highlighted our economy’s sensitivity to changes.
With the surge in tourism to New Zealand over the past five to 10 years, this sector now accounts for about 10% of our GDP. In the year to 2019, tourists (both international and domestic) spent about NZ$41 billion; international visitors, our largest export, brought in over NZ$17 billion (Tourism Satellite Account: 2019). The impacts on tourism are now starting to be seen in provisional data from MBIE.
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Wishful thinking could kill your business

Kevin Jenkins. 11 March 2020
For most of us, the idea of wishful thinking is not likely to be a stranger. But I’ve learned it’s also definitely a thing in the world of psychologists, researchers and business advisers. Translated into issues that are often on my own desk, wishful thinking connects with some important questions for entrepreneurs and managers, like “How can I be confident I’m not delusional with my great new business idea?”.
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Are you Evaluation-Ready?

Penny Fitzpatrick and Donella Bellett. 26 February 2020
Evaluation specialists Penny Fitzpatrick and Donella Bellett explain MartinJenkins’ approach to assessing ‘evaluability’, and share insights to help you assess how ready you and your programme are for evaluation.
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‘What’s for breakfast?’ — Shaping culture and behaviour to create better places to work

Olivia Gossage and Renee Jaine. 16 January 2020
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Strategy, design and performance specialist Olivia Gossage and behavioural scientist Renee Jaine take a look at how organisations can successfully develop the kind of work culture they want.
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Climate Change and our Regional Economies

Nick Davis. 7 January 2020
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The recent passage of the Zero Carbon Bill is an historic moment for climate change action in Aotearoa, paving the way for a period of significant policy reform to achieve a low-carbon future. An effective climate change response will involve not just addressing the immense risks of climate change, but also seizing the major economic opportunities that this global threat presents for New Zealand businesses and communities. It’s also clear that those risks and opportunities will be different from region to region.
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Is our public sector ready to adopt agile structures?

Wendy Weber. 9 December 2019
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Organisational design expert Wendy Weber explains the advantages for government agencies of moving to agile work structures. She argues that a phased approach is likely to be best.
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Avoiding regulatory failure — Don’t forget the ‘bit in the middle’

Tom Gott. 27 November 2019
Regulatory strategy and practice expert Tom Gott begins with French pastry and ends with the importance for regulatory agencies of having an effective operating model to translate strategy into activity.
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Maori business lesson: Remember the flicking tail of the lizard

Kevin Jenkins. 12 November 2019
Our Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has been making mātauranga – the Māori knowledge system – an indispensable part of its work, so that decisions are always made with the best available information. The EPA has been prototyping new ways of weaving mātauranga together with scientific knowledge, and weaving it into the organisation’s regulatory practice. This is changing the way decisions are made at the local level in Aotearoa, with important implications for our communities and for businesses looking to invest.
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Five practical ways to embed purpose and values in your organisation 

Olivia Gossage. 8 November 2019
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Organisations can invest lots of time and money crafting a unique purpose statement and values, only to find that staff easily forget what they are. During the process to come up with a purpose and values, it’s easier to generate lots of energy and enthusiasm from staff. However, when it comes to embedding the purpose and values, many organisations lose momentum — and people quickly go back to old habits.
In the article out of our ‘The Way We Work’ Insights Series, Olivia Gossage shares 5 key ways to effectively embed purpose and values in your organisation.
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Millions being spent on space tech in NZ. Here’s what’s at stake

Kevin Jenkins. 2 November 2019
Think of space, and you might think first of Mars, big-time state actors like Nasa and China’s CNSA, and fast-talking billionaire enthusiasts like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.
But here in New Zealand, space entrepreneurs and educators are focusing on making the benefits of space technology meaningful for ordinary people back home on our Goldilocks planet.
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NZ businesses need to look west

Kevin Jenkins. 11 October 2019
An article in the April 2019 issue of the Journal of Asian Economic Integration suggests the Indian Ocean economy will be about 20 per cent of global GDP by 2025, and GDP per person will almost double.
Despite this, trade between Aotearoa and Indian Ocean countries is low. We need to change that dynamic.
History tells us that the Indian Ocean was often the crossroads of world trade. This was disrupted by the expansion of the European powers, but after 500 years, geography and demography are re-asserting themselves.
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Nudging New Zealand towards a low-carbon transport system

Bryan Field. 7 October 2019
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The Government recently proposed a two-pronged ‘Clean Car’ policy for reducing light-vehicle emissions — an average vehicle emissions standard for new and used imported vehicles, and a discount/fee (or ‘feebate’) scheme on purchase prices.
This combines a clear ‘supply-side’ intervention to get more low-emissions cars into the country, along with a ‘demand-side’ nudge to get people to choose these cars when they buy. But what sort of impact could the proposed new policy have?
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Magic Skills 

Nicky Jones. 1 October 2019
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In the first instalment in our ‘The Way We Work’ series I noted some of the more ground-shaking predictions about the Future of Work and discussed a number of real-life barriers that mean that those predictions are best filed under ‘possible’, rather than ‘probable’.
The good news is the skills that employers told us they wanted were common across industries, organisations and roles. More good news is that none of the skills are technical — anyone has the potential to develop them regardless of education or experience. In short, they’re the skills that enable us to change, meaning they will continue to be important into the future as the world around us continues to change.
So, what are these magic skills that New Zealand employers pointed to?
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Beyond the tech babble:
How Ikea, KFC, Adidas and others are using VR/AR

Kevin Jenkins. 1 October 2019
The World Economic Forum (WEF) believes the next decade will be a golden age for consumers, with lots of personalised choice, transparent pricing, and frictionless fulfilment.
Customer experience — or “CX” if you’re in the know — is front and centre of business strategy nowadays. Because retail is such a viscerally competitive sector, it’s also one of the most relentlessly innovative in looking for new ways to engage customers.
So, what can we learn from this seething test bed of experimentation?Retail is always evolving. Mail order catalogues dominated in the 1800s for stuff you couldn’t buy at the local grocery store, department stores took off in the 1900s, and online shopping has been displacing the TV shopping channels that took off in the 2000s.
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Richard Tait. 5 September 2019
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Things are changing fast for organisations. It’s an exciting time, but it’s also creating change-induced headaches for leaders and employees alike.
If you’ve looked at surveys of organisational leaders in recent years asking them about their most significant challenges, there are common themes – things like the impact of digital transformation on business models, the shift to being genuinely customer-centric, and the changing expectations that staff have at work and about work.
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Nicky Jones. 5 September 2019
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Earlier this year we at MartinJenkins supported Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development – ATEED – to research Auckland’s future skills needs.
This is my area of expertise as well as something I’m passionate about, but there’s already so much information about the future of work, at first, I wasn’t sure what more we could say that had not been said before. All you need to do is google ‘future skills’ and you’ll find hundreds of articles quoting McKinsey, the World Economic Forum, BCG and more.
While research suggests more jobs will be created than lost through automation, the technical skills required for the new roles will be quite different from the old. This means that potentially 800 million people currently employed may not employed in the same jobs in the future, without significant upskilling that may or may not be possible.
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Another respected NZ brand brushes up against supply chain exploitation

Sarah Baddeley. September 2019
The latest case of migrant worker exploitation involving the popular Te Mata Estate is another example of how our regulator here, the Labour Inspectorate, is clearly not afraid to take both legal and moral action against major New Zealand brands.
At MartinJenkins, our recent work with New Zealand companies on this issue has highlighted for us the importance of not relying on traditional assurance methods.
We’ve found that it helps to consider four different layers of risk when you’re looking at your supply chain arrangements — you need to look at workers’ personal situations, at legal and institutional frameworks, at risks created by employers, and risks relating to the particular workplace.
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Innovation and inclusive growth - an imperative for cities

Patrick McVeigh. 22 August 2019
It’s well known that innovation plays a critical role in supporting economic growth and lifting productivity. Cities are key hosts of the innovation economy and are magnets for the talent and investment that are essential components for an effective innovation ecosystem.
Over recent years many cities in the Asia Pacific and the world have invested proactively in developing their innovation ecosystems. They’ve facilitated new innovation hubs and precincts to provide a base for businesses and entrepreneurs.
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Nudging us away from Climate Change: Using Behavioural Science to Help reduce Emissions

Renee Jaine & Andrew Horwood. 13 August 2019
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Think of climate change and you probably picture polar bears on melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events like drought and storms. But climate change is also a perfect storm when it comes to our human psychology. That means if we want meaningful action on climate change, we need to see it as a psychological and behavioural challenge, not just a technological or political one.
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Action on agricultural emissions

Nick Davis. 21 July 2019
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In this third installment of our blog series on climate change action in Aotearoa, MartinJenkins Director Nick Davis looks at proposals announced this week by both government and industry that address a major hole in our country’s climate change policy.
Tuesday 16 July marked a watershed day for climate policy in New Zealand, with the release of a report from the Interim Climate Change Committee on the steps the country can take to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.
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Rocket ships and flying boats — 50 years after Apollo in New Zealand

Harvey Brookes. 15 July 2019
At 3:17 am this coming 21 July (NZST), it will be 50 years since Eagle touched down on the Sea of Tranquility — fulfilling John F Kennedy’s bold mission with five months and about 15 seconds of fuel to spare.
The day before he was assassinated in Texas in November 1963 Kennedy had said: ‘This Nation has tossed its cap over the wall of space, and we have no choice but to follow it.’ The cost of following America’s cap all the way to the moon was of course immense, but Apollo will be forever regarded as one of humanity’s greatest technological achievements (as well as by many as our biggest folly).
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Electric boats: Clean, quiet, cheap and on their way

Kevin Jenkins. 13 July 2019
Boats are part of New Zealand culture and not just for fun. We rely on ships for trade and, increasingly, on ferries to move around. The industry has a dirty secret though — it’s not as clean as it could be, and this is drawing more and more attention.
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Why your company’s ‘social licence’ could expire

Kevin Jenkins. 7 July 2019
Lately, from where I sit at the intersection of business, research and public policy, talk of “social licence” seems to be everywhere. Recently, for example, you could read about Fonterra losing its social licence, and the Government developing a “social licence for personal data use”. It’s also being applied to new contexts all the time, like data and privacy.
So, is it fashionable jargon? Something truly meaningful? Or somewhere in between?
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A Community-based approach to wellbeing:
Local government needs to be centraL

Michael Mills and Philippa Bowron. 7 July 2019
The broad outlines of a better kind of ‘wellbeing’ society in Aotearoa aren’t much disputed — things like an inclusive economy where everyone earns a decent income; a clean, unpolluted environment where we can swim in our rivers; and communities where everyone feels safe and supported and where, as much as possible, we know each other’s names.
But the real-life context for national goals like these is always locally specific. The economy of Wairoa is a million miles from that of Auckland, environmental issues in Kaikohe in the Far North are different from those in Blackball on the West Coast, the culture of Invercargill is quite different from Thames-Coromandel, and the social composition of Rotorua isn’t comparable to Nelson.
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Making sense of the Climate Change Bill

Andrew Millar. 4 July 2019
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After a long development period, the Climate Change (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill has finally emerged into the light of day, to strong reactions all round.
Some have praised the new Bill as the solution that will provide a more productive low-carbon future. Others are concerned about what it might mean for them and their livelihoods. Some people are just a little confused about it.
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Our new emissions target: Can we do it and what will it cost?

Bryan Field. 17 June 2019
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The Government’s new Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, introduced in May, sets an ambitious emissions target that will be vital to our transition to a low-emissions economy. It should set us on a path to meet our obligations under the Paris Agreement, and it will mean that New Zealand will be doing its share of the global effort to limit global warming to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
In this blog I’ll talk about why the new emissions target is structured the way it is, whether it’s an achievable target, and what it might cost New Zealand if we do it (and what it might cost if we don’t).
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Infrastructure Investment and Inclusive Growth

Patrick McVeigh. 14 May 2019
Infrastructure investment is a topic that is currently front and centre in the mind of New Zealand’s economic development community. The creation of the New Zealand Infrastructure Commission as the recently announced Construction Accord highlight’s the critical role that infrastructure has to play in improving the nation’s long-term economic performance and social wellbeing.
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New Zealand companies doing better in the ‘social enterprise’ business

Nicky Jones. 14 March 2019
Social enterprises in their purest form — enterprises created for the sole purpose of delivering social good — have been around for some time now. However, it feels like the ideals behind them are now blurring with more traditional business models.
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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