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Creativity is under threat, but not from automation... 

Andy Florkowski

Over the weekend, I spoke at a seminar for secondary school students who are interested in pursuing a career in design. The seminar was hosted by the Design Institute of NZ and featured speakers from a range of disciplines. During my presentation, I asked the auditorium for a show of hands with who had decided on a facet of the industry that they wanted to pursue; industrial, graphic, architecture? Only 2 hands rose from the crowd. Now, putting your hand up in front of a room full of strangers is nerve-wracking enough as a teenager, but it was apparent during the dialogue across the course of the day that the majority of the group knew they wanted to chase a creative career but didn’t quite know in what specific field. I found this fascinating, as I also changed my creative path during my early years at University.

It was encouraging to see that this group of university-bound youth recognised the importance of the creative industry and its contribution to the increasingly complex global landscape moving forward. 

Many industries at the moment and their associated jobs are being redefined by the rise of automation. A 2017 Bank of England study indicated that 95million jobs across the US and UK are currently exposed to automation. Today’s technological revolution is an entirely different beast from the industrial revolution. The pace of change is exponentially faster and far wider in scope. Martin Ford, futurist and author of Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, suggested that the jobs that are most at risk are those which “are on some level routine, repetitive and predictable”. He also cited three key areas and characteristics that would be resilient to the threat of automation and digitisation; “genuine creativity, authentic relationships and areas that involve a degree of unpredictability”.

There are many parallels regarding the challenges that the retail realm faces; specifically with the importance of relationships and creating experiences that can’t be replicated by digital means. 

The creative industry appears to be in good heart, and its stock will increase in value and in demand in the coming years as businesses look to further differentiate and separate themselves from their competitors. However, a major challenge that the industry faces, and for business in general, is not from automation but how to nurture and encourage future creative thinking. Sir Ken Robinson recently stated in a TedTalk that “schools are killing creativity, and we are running our educational systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make.” The result of this is that we are educating people out of their creative capacity; we stigmatise mistakes.

By the time todays youth reach University, many will have lost their capacity to be creative – they are frightened to be wrong, and are not prepared to be wrong. Creativity suffers, problem-solving suffers.

We need to focus on creating a better connection between students and professional practice to demonstrate the value of creative thinking and its effects on the end users. There should be an opportunity for earlier student engagement within the industry to ensure that its future has the best possible support. We have crafted our national identity with innovation and creativity at the core, and it is important for all NZ industries that our youth are prepared to assist in combating the diverse challenges that we will face tomorrow.  

Rainbows End – Driver's Town

Have you been to Rainbows End recently? AA Drivers town opened just over a year ago, and has been incredibly popular! The attraction allows under 12s to get behind the wheel in miniature Suzuki Swift vehicles and drive through a colourful town complete with two-way roads, roundabouts, pedestrian crossing and even traffic lights! RCG assisted Rainbows End with the design of the new driver's school, canopy, and viewing experience – and are proud to have been a part of this.

RCG have worked closely with the theme park for a number of years. We assisted them with market research and economic analysis; and also undertook the re-design of their entry experience including new ticket stations, the entry canopy, the pillars of colour and their gift shop.  

In the Press

Local Media highlights from the past week...


NZ Initiative's Natanael Rother says decentralisation has fostered an ever-prosperous Switzerland

Switzerland, my home country, is often referred to as the poster child of localism.

A substantial part of the political decision making, taxation and public spending is done on a sub-central level. Things that the central government is responsible for have to be mentioned explicitly in our constitution.

(Source: Interest)


NZ fixed mortgage rates set to fall - economist

Fixed mortgage rates look set to fall as financial markets adjust to moves being made by the Reserve Bank, Westpac chief economist Dominick Stephens said.

Stephens, addressing the New Zealand Shareholders Association annual conference, said markets were still coming to terms with the approach taken by Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr, who has been in the top job since March.

(Source: Herald)


It’s not only engineers who have a stake in engineering a better New Zealand

A new report from Engineering New Zealand focuses on how to respond to two key infrastructure challenges: seismic resilience and water supply. Introducing the report, the organisation’s CEO argues that everyone has a stake in a more resilient country.

Engineers prefer practical action to the media spotlight but this week they’re stepping outside their comfort zones. After many months and much expert wrangling, Engineering New Zealand has launched a fresh look at seismic resilience and water.

(Source: SpinOff)


Liam Dann: Will Auckland property follow the Sydney slump?

If Sydney's property market slumps, does it hold that Auckland must follow?

I haven't written much about the housing market this year. That's primarily because it has been pretty static – in Auckland at least.

(Source: Herald)

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