From agritech to augmented reality: week two with our June cohort

Continuing to introduce our new cohort to the many topics of business disruption and innovation, this week we welcomed in people from a range of backgrounds and specialisations, including food and agritech, augmented and virtual reality, and the collaborative economy.

Ready, set, innovate

Kicking off the week with our Monday innovation session was Roger Dennis, who works with individuals and companies locally and globally on long-term thinking, trends and strategies. These Monday sessions will become a regular series for the next few weeks as our candidates work on their project plan, testing and developing ideas.

Roger gave our candidates an introduction to foresight thinking, using Future Agenda as an example. This not-for-profit programme was first run in 2010 and brings together views from leading individuals and organisations on everything from the future of health to the future of money and the implications on business. Roger also looked at the psychology of change, how we can escape paradigms, and the importance of narrative, capping off the session with a discussion on technology ethics.

The many sides of emerging and disruptive technologies

Tuesday saw our candidates launching into a whole different side of technology disruption and innovation with Rosie Bosworth and Will Barker, who shed light on agritech and food, and biotech. In a world increasingly enabled by technology these are important topics. Agritech and the likes of synthetic meat and milk is disrupting New Zealand's key industries, and biotech is advancing rapidly, providing breakthrough findings and products around disease, the environment, energy and manufacturing processes.

Continuing our varied and immersive week was Mahsa Mohaghegh, who led a hands-on session on augmented, virtual and mixed reality. Pairing up and getting their hands on the tech, our candidates were able to see these revolutionary technologies in action and consider and understand their practical applications.

Closing off our week was our very own Priti Ambani, who took the group further into the collaborative economy and the rise of platform businesses - a fundamental aspect of the digital age. With the group Priti explored what leading businesses are doing differently (spoiler alert: adopting a fresh, fail-fast approach and capitalising on the opportunities of digital tech and connectivity), why companies such as Kodak and Blockbuster went under, and what they could have done.

Let's get down to business

Visiting us this week for our fireside chats was Barry Soutar from NZTE with Steve O'Neil, CEO of Sentient Software, and Melanie Langlotz, co-founder of GEO AR Games.

Sharing their real-world insights and expertise Barry and Steve took the group through various topics including exponential change, the impact of tech on various sectors, and Maori tech and investment. Barry focuses on and facilitates investments led by Maori tech companies and Maori sector investors, supported by the Government. He works closely with Steve and has helped Sentient Software to grow, now a leader in Software-as-a-Service Project Portfolio Management and gearing up to go global.

Melanie took us through her journey of launching her company, from having the beginnings of an idea with Amie Wolken, her co-founder, to preparing to launch into a number of global markets. Melanie's story is definitely an interesting one, from realising you are a round peg in a square hole, to taking a chance on an incubator in Chile, the importance of sticking to your guns and ethics, and paving your own way despite what people tell you.

If you'd like to know more about our Master's programme click here or get in touch with the team. Stay in the loop of what's happening at Tech Futures Lab by following us on Twitter!


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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.

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