New Zealand’s leading academics, business owners and educators have joined forces to explore ground-breaking research and exciting new opportunities in the technology, innovation and education sectors.

The inaugural New Zealand Conference for Business and Technology (NZCBT), held in Auckland November 7-8, focused on technological disruption and innovation, aiming to bridge the gap between academic analysis and industry requirements.

The brainchild of Aspire2 International, with sponsorship from PB Tech, Sharp, MYOB and e-Centre Massey, the conference drew more than 200 attendees, 26 speakers and ten panellists.  Not only did it bring together some of the country’s brightest minds, most influential business people, and most cutting edge research, but it also provided a unique opportunity for academics and industry leaders to work together in new and innovative ways.

Conference organiser Dr Paula Ray said uniting sectors with a shared vision had proven to be an extremely powerful experience.

“This is perhaps the first time in Aotearoa that industry experts and academic researchers have been brought together in one conference,” said Dr. Ray, Research Manager and Senior Lecturer at Aspire2 International.

“There were many things attendees took away from NZCBT. To prepare ourselves for a future that is intercepted by disruptive technologies we need a shift in our attitudes. We need to think outside of the box, beyond guidelines and parameters. Applied hands-on learning is paramount right from the beginning of the curriculum, and classroom emphasis should be on the effectiveness of the learning process, not the delivery of coursework.”

Dr Ray said the conference also highlighted the shortage of non-technical skills in the market (such as communication, collaboration and self-awareness), and the need to improve access to supplementary on-going learning for workers throughout their careers, to enable better performance.

The impact of technology on learning and education was a hot topic at the two day symposium, with keynote speaker, University of Auckland Senior Lecturer, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Dr Lisa Callagher sharing her latest research on sustaining learning in tertiary education through the adoption of disruptive technologies.

Technology Coach and IT Psychiatrist Anthony MacMohan explored why mindset is so critical to success, diving into projects and organisations that have grown a successful mindset and sharing tips on how to build that mindset within a team and an organisation.

Meanwhile MYOB Education Manager Shailan Patel provided valuable insights into making the most of the digital economy, and ways to adapt to new technologies affecting the future of work, including AI and machine learning, IOT and big data.

“The next wave of digital disruption is here and changing everything we know about technology and its place in our world,” Shailan said.

“Ideas once coined ‘futuristic’ are rapidly changing the face of business. But is New Zealand truly ready for the magnitude of change expected over the next few years? How can we leverage technology?”

Conferences such as this provide a great starting point in answering these questions and are a valuable launchpad to further sector collaboration and knowledge sharing. And thanks to the numerous panel discussions, attendees had plenty of opportunities to ask questions and gain further insights through panel discussions.

In fact, for Aspire2 International Chief Executive Clare Bradley the New Zealand Conference for Business and Technology was such a success that plans are now in the pipeline to make it an annual event.

“It was a privilege to host such a stellar cast of experts who presented on a diverse range of topics across aspects of our conference theme Technological Disruption & Innovation,” she said.


“It was great to bring so many of our industry partners together. These partnerships are critically important to us as we continue to strengthen the close ties we already have between our key stakeholders – our graduates and their future employers.”


  1. Excellent effort to bring the industry and education together to deliver the skill needed for under the disruptive technological advances. Keep up the interaction.

  2. ” The shortage of non-technical skills in the market (such as communication, collaboration and self-awareness)” is something most of us so often fail to realise and rarely talk about. I simply loved it when Dr Paula Ray says that this was one of the highlighted topics of the conference. Yes, we need to think outside the box and sometimes it is easier to explore deep inside the box and find some truly effective and time tested grandma inspired tricks of the trade, in the fields of communication, collaboration and self-awareness.

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  4. Thank you for making us read about the navigating technological disruption and innovation in new zealand.I enjoyed reading this article as it provided us lots of information regarding it. I am sure many people will come to read more about it in future.


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