A learning adventure: Exhibit the ‘secrets of success’ of ONE of New Zealand’s top technology companies

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Here’s a ‘learning adventure’ that worked very well in my Unitec BSNS 5391 class in Innovation and Entrepreneurship. I set the students a tough mission. However, they achieved a level of success of which I was proud given the tight time limit.

Here follows the ‘brief’ for the learning adventure:

Sir Paul Callaghan argues that New Zealand needs to create 100 companies each of which has the high wealth creation per employee achieved by the ‘top ten’ companies he identified in his presentation.

Your mission
Learn and exhibit the ‘secrets of success’ of ONE of New Zealand’s top technology companies.


  • You have 25 minutes to conduct your research and prepare your exhibition.
  • You have a further 7 minutes to introduce your exhibition and respond to questions.

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  • Team formation
  • Agenda setting and allocation of tasks
  • Select ONE company for your investigation
  • Research
  • Preparation of exhibition
  • Preparation of introduction to exhibition

The top companies
Each team will be allocated FIVE companies. Decide quickly which ONE of the companies you prefer to investigate. Companies marked 1 are allocated to Team 1; 2 to Team 2 and so forth.

The companies are:

  • 1 Schneider electric
  • 2 Methven
  • 3 Allied Telesis
  • 4 Glidepath
  • 5 Dynamic controls

Source: Callaghan, TIN 100 New Zealand Technology companies

Use the following questions to guide the start of your research. Invent and pursue your own questions.

  1. Today: What is the current scope of business activities conducted by the business today? What are the current measures of the business’ success? eg Market capitalisation, sales, exports, profitability, growth rate, …
  2. Foundation and history: When was the business founded? Why? What were the original business activities? What were some of the key challenges or obstacles the business overcame
  3. Growth: How has the company grown in the last ten years? What were the mechanisms the business used to grow eg exports, acquisition, product development, etc)
  4. Challenges and current initiatives: What are the current challenges and opportunities the business faces? What new initiatives are being undertaken this year?
  5. Interesting points: What are the most surprising or interesting aspects of the business you have identified?
  6. Lessons: What lessons for business development, innovation, and growth do you draw from your investigation? To what extent do you feel the lessons you learn from your business could be applied to other businesses in New Zealand?… elsewhere?


  • Collate your data into an appropriate permanent, updateable representation. Eg a Moodle Forum discussion, Wiki, Presi, Mindmap, Keynote, Powerpoint, Google Doc, etc.
  • Prepare an oral presentation to introduce your ‘exhibition’.


My students chose to investigate:


Callaghan, P. (n.d.). Sustainable economic growth for New Zealand: An optimistic myth-busting approach. Retrieved from http://www.sustainablefuture.info/includes/download.aspx?ID=115327
Callaghan, P. (n.d.). StrategyNZ: Mapping our future. Sustainable Future Institute. Retrieved May 24, 2011b, from http://www.sustainablefuture.info/Site/StrategyNZ/speakers/Sir_Paul_Callaghan.aspx
Mellalieu, P. J. (2011, May 25). Sustainable economic growth for New Zealand: An optimistic myth-busting approach [Review of presentation by Sir Paul Callaghan]. Innovation & chaos … in search of optimality. Retrieved May 31, 2011, from http://pogus.tumblr.com/post/5810100473/sustainable-economic-growth-for-new-zealand-an
Sir Paul Callaghan - StrategyNZ: Mapping our Future - March 2011. (2011). . Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OhCAyIllnXY&feature=youtube_gdata_player Enhanced by Zemanta

5 notes


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