It may surprise Kiwi businesses to hear about the huge support for New Zealand’s primary industries from within the prestigious Stanford University in California.
For six years now, the Palo Alto-based campus has hosted cohorts of Kiwi primary industry leaders for the Te Hono-led Stanford Bootcamp, designed to transform the New Zealand’s primary sector to be a world-leader in innovation.
Such is the enthusiasm from Stanford faculty for the New Zealand story, the Te Hono week is highly sought-after by staff to be involved in each year.
One of the key academics who help drive the programme each year is Baba Shiv, Professor of Marketing at the Graduate School of Business and expert in neuroeconomics and consumer psychology.
Shiv was a lead coaches for the Te Hono Stanford Bootcamp 2017, focussed on focussed on making New Zealand a global exemplar – environmentally, economically and socially.
He helped bootcampers explore some of the hard questions. How will we achieve this? How do we create wealth for New Zealand? How do we get smarter and tackle high-value, niche markets and ultimately, make more from less?
“Most of what New Zealand produces in the primary sector is exported. But New Zealand’s primary industry has always been price takers, rather than market shapers,” Shiv says.
Shiv believes in the potential for New Zealand to establish an in-market footprint for Kiwi businesses in Silicon Valley to help tap into premium customers in the US market – a major market for New Zealand’s primary sector goods.
“If you want to move to value, rather than the volume space, you need to really understand your market. And the only way to understand your market is to have a presence in the market” he says.
He believes having a Silicon Valley base is the best way to be in tune with what the progressive consumers in that market need and to access ideas, innovation, capital and test products in the valley.
Investing in emotional connection with consumers is one of the key themes from Shiv’s lectures on how the brain makes decisions. This is important for New Zealand exporters to understand because they are not just selling food, beverage or fibres to that market, but selling the experience of New Zealand, Shiv says.
“If we know what California is doing, we will know what the rest of the world is doing 10 years from now.”