Looking Forward To Innovation: The Festival for the Future

August 2017

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When the opportunity came up to participate in a weekend long world-class incubator for social innovation, I couldn’t say no.

I was one of 1000 New Zealanders who attended Festival for the Future last weekend. Alongside a diverse audience championing for change, I listened to compelling people doing just that. I walked away inspired, well-educated and keen to ignite my inner purpose.

The festival started on a Friday evening with welcome speeches and an action-packed Saturday and Sunday full of panel and workshop sessions on various topics.

Festival for the Future is about nurturing your ideas, sharing creative thoughts, meeting other social entrepreneurs and staying a-tune with whatever direction the future may take us.

During the speaker sessions, social enterprise luminary Lisa King, CEO of Eat My Lunch and young entrepreneur Toby Carr, CEO of DexTech (a tech company that reuses old tech) spoke about issues in society that need to change. They have started two extremely successful companies in just four years.

Toby Carr was 14 when he founded DexTech and turned over a profit of $1million in one year when he was still in high school.

Lisa King was told by her bank manager that her idea could not be profitable. She is now able to say that she has founded New Zealand’s fastest growing social enterprise.

The Future of the Environment panellist session discussed New Zealand’s Zero Carbon Act, the importance of working with communities to accept and embrace change and how we must consider innovative ways to feed our world while decreasing carbon emissions.

The Future of Technology and Work panel discussion mediated by Steve Graham, head of digital futures at KPMG, discussed the changing perceptions of people entering the workforce and the growing need for companies to adapt to the exponential world we’re living in, one that will inevitably be driven by tech.

Everyone in attendance seemed to be in agreement of the simple fact that businesses cannot continue to innovate without incorporating principles of social entrepreneurship.

I came away with the belief that it is important for us to sometimes take a step back and look at the bigger picture. We need to be open-minded and willing to adapt to the uncertainty of the future.

Fundamentally the younger generation in workplaces will be asking themselves and their employers, ‘is what we are doing benefiting our communities and are we driving a positive change?’

 

Louise Paulin, Account Manager