Friday Fry Up: Advice to the new minister for digital and communications

Friday Fry Up is Computerworld New Zealand’s weekly look at the world of IT.

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With the year upon us, Fry Up asked the top 2 IT leaders in the 2020 CIO50 New Zealand awards for their advice to David Clark, the new minister for digital and communications.

Brian Northern, the CIO at trans-Tasman construction firm Fulton Hogan, urges greater investment in New Zealand’s digital economy. Specifically, he cites more research and development grants to explore digital solutions for improving the efficiency of infrastructure projects.

“If we had the ability to access grants that would improve, not only the construction industry in New Zealand, but also make available solutions that assist similar industries that have our challenges. I’m thinking of things that make workplaces safer,” he says.

Rebecca Chenery’s message to Clark is to work with the public and private sector to create a compelling digital vision for New Zealand. The chief digital officer at Auckland-area water and wastewater utility Watercare says that the public conversation is often more “bottom-up” with discussion about inputs such as asset standards. While that is important, what’s lacking is an aspiration or vision that people can rally around. “Let’s be aspirational, let’s paint that vision, and then get on with it, get the work done. It’s dangerous for us to sit back and posture too much at the moment,” she says.

“Change isn’t coming—it’s here already and we have an opportunity to really amplify the great work that everyone is doing at an industry, organisational, and government level. If we connect all the dots and pull it together under the banner of NZ Inc. and just get on with it, I think we’ve got a huge opportunity to cement our place as a digital leader,” she says.

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