The internet could have been purpose built for New Zealand – an isolated nation of entrepreneurs and innovators who can’t help but compare themselves to the rest of the world.
According to the Innovation Partnership, the country's greatest exports have conquered the globe – the All Blacks and Sir Peter Jackson; Sauvignon Blanc and New Zealand lamb; plus new heroes Xero and Lorde.
The Kiwi organisation says Xero and Lorde have redefined success for a digital age, by basing their achievements on the power of the internet, they have not only overcome but have taken advantage of New Zealand's unique place in the world.
Chair Murray Sherwin says that the Innovation Partnership is a group of organisations that wants to see Kiwi children educated to succeed in a digital world, with an economy being driven by digital innovations, and a government that is digitally capable and accessible.
‘A Vision for a Digital New Zealand’ is a discussion document by the Innovation Partnership setting out what is possible if Kiwis make the most of the potential of the internet, and what New Zealanders can do to get there.
“The internet is in its infancy yet has already changed the world," Sherwin says.
"Now it presents us with both a challenge and an opportunity to transform our approach to business, education and government to create a prosperous and successful future for all New Zealanders.
“We are inviting leaders and communities, in education, business and in government, to think about what we could achieve if we truly unlocked the potential of the internet for New Zealand, and what we can do to get there.”
Sherwin says digitally enabled classrooms, with digitally capable teachers, are rapidly becoming necessary if Kiwi students are to graduate ready to engage fully in the digital society and economy.
“The Internet has changed our understanding of knowledge and information, and enabled innovative digital approaches to learning," he adds.
"We have examples throughout New Zealand of drastic increases in educational achievement through adopting a digitally integrated approach to learning, often in our poorest communities.
“The next generation of New Zealanders needs the right education to be able to harness the potential of the internet, and thrive in a digital economy and society.”
Sherwin believes the capacity and capability of the internet can be at the centre of New Zealand’s drive for economic growth, and all businesses should be making effective use of the internet to add billions of dollars of productivity and export gains to the economy.
“The Internet helps us to overcome our geographic isolation, while making productivity and innovation the basis of our economic growth,” he adds.
“It allows us to increase both our physical and weightless exports to the world, and lets our best and brightest choose to live here while participating in the world’s most innovative digital ecosystems.”
All New Zealanders and businesses should be able to engage with government online, and government should lead the way in creating the basis for a digital ecosystem to support both business, education and civic engagement.
“The internet is unique in its ability to connect people and communities and to allow them to share information and ideas," Sherwin says.
"It has become a place for individuals, communities, businesses and industries to meet, interact, share ideas and debate our issues and challenges.
“The public service is building a more interactive, transparent and online public service, in which all New Zealanders are involved in the decisions that shape our society, our economy and our communities, where engagement with government is easy, efficient and online.
"This is a vitally important part of making sure New Zealand is able to take advantage of the potential of the internet.”