A wander down the NZ aisle…

I’ve been in NZ which is one of the reasons why I haven’t posted in a while. The other being that there are times when I have a lot to say and others less. But right now I’m good for a little conversation.

6a00d8345250f069e201156fc0a250970c-550wiI like NZ a lot. I like the people, they always seem friendly to me. I like the country, I like it’s landscape and I’ve always had this notion that NZ is a very innovative country. After all,  they brought us Sir Edmund Hillary, they had a female NZ prime minister from 1999 to 2008 and let’s face it, their lamb is good.

I had also heard that NZ was a particularly innovative country for it’s size and that it had one of the largest numbers of patents both registered and pending, per capita. Where I heard this from is akin to the ‘my teacher told me’ adage and I have not found any robust statistic that proves this to be correct.

The unique demographic, economic conditions and geographic location makes New Zealand an interesting case study for understanding the processes which foster innovation. New Zealand is a small and isolated economy which, at least in a textbook sense, is institutionally almost ideal for promoting local entrepreneurship and innovation. Yet, in spite of a macroeconomic and institutional framework which should be ideal for promoting innovation, if you wade through the NZ Govt collected data and the latest innovation measures, the observed innovation performance of New Zealand is poor, and this is particularly noticeable in comparison with other small isolated countries such as Israel and Finland. However, I do know that some companies [Australian and otherwise] have used NZ as a kind of test market due to its size, isolation and the propensity of its residents to be receptive to new products. I also know that there is some great product development coming out of smaller NZ manufacturers as well as the big dairy cohorts like Fonterra who continue to innovate within their sectors and export around the world.

Anyway I digress. I simply wanted to share with you how much I enjoyed my local wanderings through the NZ supermarkets. Row upon row of interesting packaging, product positionings and use of typeography, colour, material and language. Tree hugging aside, I’m a big sucker for great packaging [if it’s environmentally friendly all the better], but I love a bit of imagination and design goodness, especially when applied to the mundane things that we all need to buy – like toilet paper or peas.

So if you’re in NZ. Stop by a supermarket. You’ll be glad you did.