What do Emirates Team New Zealand & Clever Kash have in common?

23 May 2017 / Published in Tech & Innovation

Kiwis are inherently innovative and strive for the best through willingness to experiment, a dedication to excellence and the desire to find answers to questions that might not have been asked. At first glance, Emirates Team New Zealand and Clever Kash couldn't be more different – but the thinking behind their success is similar.

ASB is proud to be backing the team once again as they prepare to mount their challenge for the world’s oldest sporting trophy, The America’s Cup. An event dominated by technology and cash, it’s often hard to see how our small nation can compete against the goliaths abroad. As the 2017 challenger series draws near, we’ve taken a quick look at how asking questions, testing and teamwork all play their part in success - on and off the water.

Asking questions

The idea for Clever Kash came about as we started exploring how money was becoming more digital and less tangible.  We didn’t want kids to miss out on learning the value of saving money just because they don’t get to see it a lot in today’s increasingly cashless society. While it’s easy to continue to do things the way they have always been done, it’s asking “why?” and challenging “why not?” that leads to innovation.

Questioning the way things have been done has been a common theme throughout America’s Cup campaigns and 2017 is no different. As Emirates Team New Zealand Skipper Glenn Ashby says:

“Questions are asked within the team probably on an hourly basis. It is constant. Everything we do as a team, every idea, every design, every manoeuvre on the water - they all have to be questioned to determine if we are doing things right.

The most recent cycling innovation came about by asking why we couldn’t do it, and why will it not work? It was very easy to think of a reason why it might have been a bit hard or might not have worked for a certain aspect. But questioning every answer makes you think and try harder. We have managed to so far overcome many of the obstacles that present themselves with cycling. We don’t yet know if it’s the right system, but we haven’t found a compelling reason why not to do it - so we are doing it.”

Real world testing and feedback

Innovative design isn’t just about what’s done on the drawing board. It’s a combination of developing ideas and then putting them through real world testing, to get feedback and continually refine the solution.

Clever Kash was the product of an extended beta testing period, where feedback from families gave us early insight into how parents and kids use Clever Kash and what they do and don’t like. As ASB Chief Architect James Bergin explains, “we tested Clever Kash with more than 250 families across the country to get feedback on what worked and where improvements could be made.” This customer-centric approach helped confirm it’s an innovation that hits the mark and will motivate kids to value and save money.

America’s Cup campaigns also rely on a lot of testing and fine tuning along the way. While the current boats are somewhat standardised across each team – there are numerous high tech electronics, hydraulics and foil designs that require a lot of time on the water to test and get right. The process involves moving between paper, computer models, wind tunnels, wave tanks and out on the water, with continual feedback within this loop at every stage. Simulation and sailing go hand in hand as Ashby mentions,

“We have used simulation heavily in this campaign and it has been hugely effective for us, but it has its limitations, and you need to have the on water testing and actual performance feedback to validate the simulation. The both need to work effectively side by side to support each other to result in an effective outcome. One without the other will have weaknesses.”

A world class team

There’s a big team behind the success of Clever Kash which was designed by ASB and Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand in collaboration with ASB’s Technology and Innovation Lab, Assembly, 4Design, Kamahi Electronics and is being manufactured through The Warehouse Group Wholesale. Teamwork and collaboration are essential to drive innovation. Without a dedicated team, it’s not easy to move forward.

While NZ hasn’t necessarily been able to compete on dollar terms with teams abroad, it’s our people that give us an advantage and our collective attitude to excellence on and off the water.

"Every team member is as important as the next guy in Emirates Team New Zealand. Without each other we are not a team. It doesn’t matter if you are a designer, sailor or boat builder your input and skills are completely vital to the success of a team, as that goes beyond the team itself. We have sponsors and over 80 official suppliers that all contribute a huge amount to make the team what it is. They all contribute to give us a shot at winning the America’s Cup and bringing it back to New Zealand." Glenn Ashby – Skipper, Emirates Team New Zealand.

Stay tuned to the ASB Blog for more news and stories as we follow the team in their journey through the 2017 Louis Vuitton challenger series. We’re looking forward to seeing the hard work pay off as the team gets their campaign underway in Bermuda.

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers & Challenger Playoffs

Dates: Bermuda 26th May – 12th June 2017

Read more about the history and evolution of Emirates Team New Zealand here.


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