There is a big different between looking abroad for information and inspiration, and picking up whatever seems to be working somewhere else and implementing it here.
The first is about learning and designing what is right for us. The second is often associated with fear and naivety. The best Kiwi leaders know the difference, and design their own success stories.
Late last year, I was lucky enough to join Better by Design and about 30 New Zealand business leaders on the US Study Tour 2012. The five-day trip to Silicon Valley was highly curated and expertly managed by Better by Design. It’s aim was to give delegates “an experience that exposed them to leading cultures of innovation”, and experience “hands-on learning and prototyping sessions at IDEO and Stanford d.school”. A big thanks to Judith Thompson, Nicky Toresen and team for a great experience.
There was a lot to digest from the trip. It was full-on and I needed some time over Christmas to continue the mental processing. But I wanted to talk the Empathy team through a little of what I got out of the trip as soon as I got home. So I told them about one thing that I liked from each of the 13 organisations that we visited.
And then Sanit, our sketch artist, created a summarising mural. Which was doubly great because I promised the Better by Design team some kind of output from the trip…