Innovation and governance | Recycling for exporters, it’s a complex business | Small Wellington company Geographx takes world stage | Carbon footprinting support package popular

“Innovation is a desired capability for many businesses, and few manage to accommodate it to the extent they would like, “says Catalyst® Director Jane Lancaster. “Operational realities tend to squeeze out capacity, budget and an appetite for risk.”

In New Zealand and Australia where many business owners are active as both directors and managers there is a strategic leadership role to create a culture and environment that encourages innovation.

“An owner or director should expect to see in his/her company a culture that values and supports creativity and that is open to new ideas and risk taking. There also needs to be a strong connection between R & D and marketing; the needs of customers should be considered during the innovation process right from the beginning.”

Jane also advises businesses to remember the 1:10:100 rule of thumb. $1 in research will require $10 of development and $100 for commercialisation.

“Also check to see if you have the following in place.”

  • A “sand pit” where new ideas, different ideas and insight are generated.
  • Very good filtering and prioritisation processes, linked to the market and financial analysis, where most of the ideas will be killed off or parked. This is particularly important; there will always be more projects than there is money for.
  • Good implementation and project management of the chosen R&D portfolio.
  • Evaluation of projects after they are completed and organisational learning.

Jane says there is no ‘one way’ to structure innovation. The combination of in-house versus outsourced capability is company specific. What is your model? Will you carry out most R&D in-house? Or will you use outsourcing?

Whatever your model, you will need a champion, who has a senior role within the organisation and takes responsibility for innovation; translating insight and information into invention and income”

If you would like a copy of our innovation and governance checklist please contact Jane.

And to quote Steve Jobs on the subject:

“Innovation has nothing to do with how many R&D dollars you have. When Apple came up with the Mac, IBM was spending at least 100 times more on R&D. It’s not about money. It’s about the people you have, how you’re led, and how much you get it” [Fortune, November 9, 1998].

Malcolm went to Japan recently as part of a project investigating the life cycle of packaging. The project determined the environmental impact of ZESPRI packaging, including what gets recycled in Japan and how much goes into waste.

“The level of awareness of recycling in Japan is much higher than we first thought. Waste and packaging are very much on their radar and there is a high level of reporting of environmental impacts of products and packaging by all the big supermarkets for instance, ” he says.

Japan is one of the most successful countries in the world for recovering plastics with only 10% going to landfill, while recycling (22%), incineration with energy recovery (49%) and other utilisation account for 79% .

“Compliance and collecting of recycling is very high in Japan, it is way ahead of us in New Zealand”.

Malcolm says ZESPRI exports about 100 million cardboard boxes, along with layers of plastic wrap, plastic strapping and packaging each year.

“We discovered that cardboard is dealt with very well in Japan and recycled directly into a range of other products. It is actually considered a resource, not waste.”

However, he says, while there are high levels of separation of products in Japan, plastic recycling is a lot more complex and isn’t necessarily recycled in the way New Zealanders might think.

“The perception is that everything that is collected gets made straight away into another product domestically, but in Japan much of the collected plastic is in fact sent to China which involves a lot of trucking and shipping. Also a lot of recycled plastic waste is burnt in Japan for power generation. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; it is better than putting it in a landfill.”

Mr Garnham says there is an opportunity for New Zealand exporters to reduce packaging impacts as long as they work closely with people in the market.

Japan differs from some countries in that it tends to elaborately wrap foodstuffs, especially with plastic.

For instance, he says, Japanese people like to see the kiwifruit they are buying in the rigid, transparent plastic “clamshells” packaging. However this style of packaging has a significant carbon footprint.

“Perhaps we could substitute this with something simpler while still allowing consumers in Japan to see the product they are buying. While being sensitive to the needs of the market in Japan, New Zealand companies can find ways for their product to look appealing while minimising impacts on the environment.”

The team of six provides cartographic design and GIS services, producing maps and mapping solutions for both public and private sector clients.

“The quality of Geographx work has received recognition in New Zealand, Australia, North America and Europe,” says director Roger Smith.

Most recently Geographx acted as Chief Cartographer and Map Production Project Manager for EARTH Platinum.

“This is the largest world atlas ever produced and involved the coordination of nearly 90 cartographers working from six different continents.”

Geographx was responsible for the relief mapping, the colour, textual background and the oceans and seas. The atlas is 1.8 metres by 2.8 metres and has 128 pages of maps text and photos. Until now the world’s biggest atlas was 39 pages and was made 151 years ago. EARTH Platinum doesn’t come cheap.

“There have only been 31 copies made and they are $124,000 each. One or two have been sold to private buyers in the Middle East and others have been bought by institutions,” says Mr Smith.

Geographx has also developed a range of New Zealand map data products and promotes dynamic 3D mapping solutions as the authorised New Zealand representative of Skyline Australia Pty Ltd.

Catalyst® director Malcolm Garnham says it’s a pleasure to work with Geographx on a number of projects.

“It’s a smart, small company doing very intelligent things,” he says.

The company works out of the iconic Dominion Observatory near the top of the Cable Car in the Wellington Botanic Gardens.

In our last newsletter we ran a brief article on a support package for ACE users and businesses wanting on demand support with carbon footprinting and sustainability projects. Interest in the package has been high with a number of businesses signing up. If your organisation or business is new to carbon footprinting or is at a cross roads with implementing it or interpreting results then this package may be just what you need.

Whether it’s deciding what emission sources to include in your footprint measurement, how to report the results, initiatives to reduce your footprint, or performance benchmarking, this package is designed to help you understand and address them all. Our footprinting experts will be available to answer your calls 5 days a week and if necessary we can pay you a site visit, for up to 20 hours over the course of a year. If more time is needed, a new package can be purchased. It’s as simple as that.

For more information email Wymond or call him on 07 549 5749 or 0275 608 776.

Company Office - PO Box 37228, Christchurch 8245, NZ T +64 3 329 6888  F +64 3 329 6880  W
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