BBD CEO tour: What shared agenda should NZ set with the world?

Keith Yamashita is an inspiring chap. He wasn’t content with sharing how SYPartners engages with clients, but wanted to reach further. He asked us “What shared agenda should New Zealand set with the world that drives deep impact – and also advantages the nation?” He then facilitated a session try to answer the question.

The group was admittedly bias in membership – skewing heaviliy towards middle aged white people. But it’s a chance to keep the conversation going and explore together the common cause we have with each other, and what we can be great at. To that end I for one am happy to facilitate similar sessions to this one with other groups, and I am sure other BBD coaches are as well.

Keith set us four questions to answer, dividing us into four teams to do so.

  • What does the world hunger for?
  • What big fixes do we want to address?
  • What is timelessly us?
  • What must we fearlessly become.

We didn’t have much time, but we did have some great discussions. These notes reflect my own perspective, building from the perspective of the wider group.

What does the world hunger for?
We want a safe, peaceful, trust-based society where we can work and move across cultures and borders; and

We want to be happy, valued, have meaningful work, strong family life and healthy relationships; and

We want long term sustainable economic growth, but not at the expense of the environment. This means improving the quality and having sufficient quantity and fair distribution of our food and goods while improving the world’s environment.

The world needs a quiet hero, a Frodo, to take on the challenge of balancing growth, sustainability and happiness.

What big fixes do we want to address?
We can (and quietly do) spread our values throughout the world, through our diplomatic efforts, our media and through our diaspora of well educated kiwis who are influential around the world.

We can promote equal opportunity societies, the power of a great education for all and the ability to enjoy life through activity rather than possessions. We can spread our New Zealand values about tolerance, living in a truly multicultural society and a very long-term and guardianship perspective.

We can continue to act as honest brokers through our diplomatic and business efforts. We can take principled-based leadership on issues such as free trade and copyright law.

We can show how to restore, protect and embrace nature, exposing our native ecology to ourselves and our visitors.

We can lead the charge on sustainable food production. We are both green and major food producers, and can take the lead in managing the trick of growing better quality natural food, and more of it, while improving the environment.

Overall we can nudge the world towards being truly interdependent, sustainable, fair and with economic growth.

What is timelessly us?
Our values are honesty, fairness and pragmatism. We trust each other quickly.
We are adaptable, inquisitive and enjoy learning, valuing education and independence.
We are unafraid of change and we have a bias for action.

We are blessed with emerging integration and celebration of our Maori and other cultural heritages. We are working hard at being the best in the world at this, and many people’s frustration with progress is a positive sign that we all want to get even better.

We are accepting and welcoming to everyone regardless of their culture or behaviour.

We enjoy getting outside in our beautiful country, and have an increasing desire for long term guardianship of this natural resource.

What must we fearlessly become?

We can be the honest brokers to the world, the diplomats, the business people, the brokers. A nation with the courage to lead – authentic and fearless. Let’s stand up against the bullies, the warmongers, the ones seeking personal gain over an improving world. Let’s export our values.

We can become best in the world at nature, at creating world leading nature reserves without pests, becoming the premier tourist destination but also helping other countries improve their own environments.

We can lead the world on sustainable growth – more food, better quality food yet an improving environment.


Overall I quite like the result – they feel like tough challenges, but challenges we have already taken on. I’m not seeing anything that drives our web or other businesses, aside from the sustainability angle of course. Perhaps we could add one more:

We can be the best in the world at understanding cultures, markets and end users, designing and developing delightful products that, together with partners, dominate global niches.

That’s close to straight out of the Better By Design playbook – but why not?

Published by Lance Wiggs