The New Zealand government don’t invest enough in innovation, according to Ceri Wells, partner at James & Wells.
“The amount NZ spends on R&D is well below the OECD average,” he told NZ Lawyer.
“Those countries with high R&D spends tend to have strong government backing or they have access to significant internal markets where there is a lot of competition.
“NZ by comparison has a small internal market often dominated by a few big players who can rely on a lack of competition for profit rather than innovating to thrive.”
While innovation is on the agenda more than ever, Wells said commercialising innovations into sustained success is where kiwi businesses are falling behind.
Wells himself has been at the forefront of innovation at the firm, as one of the first companies in the world to combine the First to File document management software Inprotech, at the cutting edge of IP management. He’s just one panellist in an upcoming seminar series run by the firm in conjunction with the Innovation Council, inspiring kiwi businesses to innovate effectively.
“Typical of an innovation economy are new business start-ups, joint ventures and investments,” Wells said.
“This generates a lot of business for lawyers, and of course the legal profession does well as a whole when business in general is thriving.
“We’re hoping to give NZ companies confidence to innovate, because we believe transforming NZ into a true innovation economy is the only way NZ will stop sliding further into a low wage economy where even with full time employment many families are still in a poverty trap.”
Other panellists at the regional event series include ARANZ Medical CEO Dr Bruce Davey, New Zealand Mānuka Group CEO Karl Gradon, Gallagher Research and Development Executive Rob Heebink and StretchSense CTO and Co-Founder Todd Gisby.