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Kiwis need to be more vocal about success, Avery says

Photo courtesy of FaceMePLS

Photo courtesy of FaceMePLS

Award-winning scientist, inventor and philanthropist, Sir Ray Avery says New Zealand’s innovators are being held back from global recognition because they are isolated and quiet about their success.

He says he is “ferociously proud of Kiwis” who have lead global innovations in medicine, technology and space exploration and believes they need to step into the spotlight and toot their own horns more.

“What’s fascinating about Kiwis is we don’t tell people who we are as an innovation centre. We need to step up and say: ‘We’re clever’,” Ray said.

He also pointed out that Kiwis rarely collaborate and that this limits our success. “If you look at the most innovative countries in the world like Switzerland: they’ve got a population of about 197 people per square kilometre; we’ve got about 17. If you don’t have enough people in the room to exchange ideas, ideas get lost.”

“We publish more research papers and patents than most people in the OECD. But if you look at those research papers none of them are joint research papers – in other words we don’t talk to people outside,” Ray said.

He also believes researchers need to focus on demand. “You have to be ferociously customer-centric. We spend a lot of time researching and developing products in New Zealand that nobody actually wants,” he said. To read more on this story, click here.