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Source: University of Otago

Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Otago Business School, Professor Robin Gauld.
For the first time ever, the University of Otago Business School will be featuring the thoughts of prominent alumni in the 2022 edition of its annual publication “Let’s Talk Business”.
Philippa Fourbet (General Manager of BNZ Markets), Lindsay Zwart (CEO of Vodafone NZ), Antonia Watson (CEO of ANZ), Christopher Walsh, (Founder and CEO of MoneyHub), Lemalu Silao Vaisola-Sefo (CEO of South Seas Healthcare) and Duncan Hawkesby (Director of HML) have all contributed their thoughts this year’s edition.
Previously known as “Rebuilding Aotearoa”, the purpose of this publication is to address the challenges and ideas that are currently circulating and relevant to business in New Zealand.
It contains the thoughts of notable academics, and now alumni, on a particular theme relevant to the current times with this year’s theme being, “Going Digital”.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Otago Business School, Robin Gauld, explains the thinking behind this year’s theme, stating that government agencies, businesses, academic institutions and other organisations will need to be considering this as they journey forward.
“As society moves into a COVID-19-influenced new-normal the question stands; how are organisations embracing the technological changes that are taking place around us, in our lives and in how we work?”, Professor Gauld says.
“How have organisations remained functional during the pandemic, as well as upskilling and improving in a world changing faster and more drastically than predicted?
“This years ‘Let’s Talk Business’ aims to get CEO’s and Professors together to answer these relevant and timely questions, providing a fascinating insight into not only how New Zealand business is currently operating but also what the future will be like.”
Professor Gauld further adds that the introduction of alumni to the publication, rather than keeping it exclusive to academic commentary, was to ensure that a variety of voices were heard in the unpackaging of this topic, presenting a more “holistic view as to how the nation is tackling digital challenges and offering digital solutions”.
Director of HML, Duncan Hawkesby.
The Director of HML, Duncan Hawkesby, is one of these alumni contributors who shared his journey towards going digital.
Having previously worked at a long-established transport and logistics business, Hawesby shares how he would look “enviably at disruptive start-ups” who appeared to be able to take advantage of emerging technologies at whatever pace they would like whereas the established business he worked as was not able to be as nimble.
“There seemed to be numerous hindrances to us embracing new technologies,” Hawesby says.
“It felt like we were running ‘defence’ regarding embracing new disruptive technologies, while we tried to grapple with what was on the horizon and how we could pragmatically evolve towards that.”
Now, in his current investment office, he shares that one of the first lenses they look through when considering an investment opportunity is how it will be reshaped by the emergence of new technologies.
In doing so, he identified that the best learnings come from doing and so his organisation began allocating capital to investing in some disruptive, early-stage businesses who were leveraging new technologies.
“We shifted some capital from ‘defence’ to ‘offence’, putting some skin into the game,” Hawkesby says.
“We are hoping to learn, and earn, from these businesses to gain insights into how they think, grow, where they stumble, and ultimately what makes a winner.”- Kōrero by the Communications Adviser of the Otago Business School, Kelsey Schutte.