Friday, 9 April 2010

Newsletter Issue 181, April 2010



Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 181, April 2010
Hi guys,
Are you an innovator? Then New Zealand needs you desperately. Check out Kiwi Innovation - RIP below.
IOD might be about to throw out the baby with the bathwater - read about it in IOD Provisional Accreditation
Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Kiwi Innovation - RIP

Apparently it is official; Kiwi innovation is dead.
IBM announced in late February (at http://www-03.ibm.com/press/nz/en/pressrelease/29432.wss) the results of the JV between themselves and Auckland Uni, the "Innovation Index of New Zealand". The index examines patents, R&D, trademarks, design, plant variety rights, productivity and organisational and managerial innovation, to assesses innovation within the NZ economy. The team has analysed data from 1998 onwards over 16 industry sectors (including commercial and non-commercial entities).
The industry sectors are constructed and measured as per the ANZSIC industrial classifications (viewable at www.stats.govt.nz), and are: Agriculture, Forestry & Fishing; Manufacturing; Electricity, Gas, Water and Waste Services; Construction; Wholesale Trade; Retail Trade; Accommodation and Food Services; Transport, Postal and Warehousing; Information Media and Telecommunications; Financial and Insurance Services; Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services (called "Property & Business Services"); Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; Administrative and Support Services; Public Administration and Safety (called "Government Administration & Defence"); Education and Training; Health Care and Social Assistance (called "Health & Community Services"); Arts and Recreation Services; and Other Services - obviously for all those little things that just don't fit anywhere else :-).
The worst hit industries were the construction sector (down 15%), the accommodation, cafes and restaurants sector (down 12%), and the property and business services sector (down 11%). From 2000 to 2007 we were entirely static on innovation, then we took a dive well into the negative in 2008. Excellent. Our results were only partly saved by the Ag, forestry and fish sector who romped home well ahead in the past decade, doubling in their innovation output.
What is reassuring about this research is that the methodology underlying the NZ Innovation Index is based on a similar JV project with IBM Australia and Melbourne University. For we Kiwis, this then means that have a relevant trans-Tasman comparative measure on an 'apples to apples' basis.
So what does this lack of innovation mean for we Kiwis as a whole? Well, if we want to stick to our knitting in ag, forestry and fish; nothing much, except monitor results and ensure that this area continues to have adequate resources put into it. And perhaps we do just let the other areas slide.
However, this seems to me to be a rather defeatist attitude. If anything, I think it means we need to look at little more closely at how we foster, develop and positively encourage entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity throughout our business community. Without intellectual property being generated here, we are missing the knowledge wave, and we will lag even further behind on the OCED scale.
Backing this Auckland Uni and IBM work up are some 2009 stats on national rankings from Insead and CII. According to their Global Innovation Index Report at http://www.insead.edu/facultyresearch/centres/elab/documents/GIIFinal0809.pdf, New Zealand is currently rated at 27th of 130 countries - above us are UAE, Qatar, Malaysia, Israel, pretty much all of Europe, Australia, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Canada, and the US.
There are a number of nations out there who are heading for, if not at the head of the knowledge wave. Perhaps we could try taking a longer term view, getting our two party system to agree on a longer-term innovation strategy, and apply some of the lessons learned by Sweden, Singapore, Switzerland and Ireland.
Something to dream about, anyway.

IOD Provisional Accreditation

For those of you who are currently Provisionally Accredited with the Institute of Directors (IOD), from the first of June this year, your accreditation will disappear.
IOD have decided to streamline and simplify their accreditation process, and the provisional accreditation category is being done away with. Personally, I think this is a pity - this is the 'cadet' level of directors who are serious about developing a career, but have usually had experience in Not-For-Profits, but not yet gained experience as listed company directors in organisations of substance (ie, over $10m).
I hope IOD get a lot of feedback from their members with regard to this; I think they are about to cut away a valuable resource that could be tapped into locally by Not-For-Profit organisations and small private companies who are seeking a diverse mix of independent directors.
IOD currently list directorship positions on their website which has been growing very slowly. It takes quite a while for word to get out there that people can contact IOD directly if they are needing directors, and the board shouldn't expect a massive uptake at the instigation of a new idea - you need to give it five years or so to run.
However, if IOD cut away the large chunk of provisionally registered directors from their potential directors, 'poorer' organisations will not bother to list; the director remuneration requirement will be too high for them to even bother.
Food for thought, IOD.

Hot Key for Excel's AutoSum

There is a very easy hot key way to sum values in Excel if you are finding the ribbons in Office 2007 rather hard to find things in:
  • Highlight the row or column, plus one blank cell for the result, and press [Alt]++. Voila! Your selection is summed.
For example, if you want to sum the values in cells B2:B5, you select the cells B2:B6, and then press [Alt]++, with Excel displaying the sum in cell B6. It works with multiple columns and rows and non-contiguous blocks of values too.
Thanks to TechRepublic for this tip at http://blogs.techrepublic.com.com/msoffice/?p=2249&tag=nl.e056 - and remember that in Office 2010 you will be able to customise your ribbons at last, so finally able to work with your Office applications efficiently once more.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:
  • YACC, Yet Another Compiler Compiler. This is real techno-speak - a standard 'parser generator' for Unix operating systems, generating code for the parser in 'C' (programming language). Unix is an open source operating system - ie unlike Microsoft Windows, open source OS's and apps are largely free and developed by users to suit their needs, and is either freeware or shareware... such as Linux or Ubuntu.
Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys
In this newsletter, carrying on the Excel tip theme, we look at what you can do with those 'odd' characters in Excel:
  • Excel "Apply the Currency format with two decimal places (negative numbers appear in parentheses)" Ctrl & Shift & $ (dollar)
  • Excel "Apply the Date format with the day, month, and year" Ctrl & Shift & # (hash)
  • Excel "Apply the Exponential number format with two decimal places" Ctrl & Shift & ^ (Caret)
  • Excel "Apply the General number format" Ctrl & Shift & ~ (Tilde)
  • Excel "Apply the Number format with two decimal places, thousands separator, and – (minus) for negative values" Ctrl & Shift & ! (Exclamation Mark)
  • Excel "Apply the outline border" Ctrl & Shift & & (ampersand)
  • Excel "Apply the Percentage format with no decimal places" Ctrl & Shift & % (percentage)
  • Excel "Apply the Time format with the hour and minute, and indicate AM or PM" Ctrl & Shift & @ (Commercial At)
  • Excel "Copy the value from the cell above the active cell into the active cell or the formula bar" Ctrl & Shift & " (Quotation Mark)
  • Excel "Copy a formula from the cell above the active cell into the cell or the formula bar" Ctrl & ' (Apostrophe)
  • Excel "Alternate between displaying cell values and displaying cell formulas" Ctrl & ` (Single Left Quotation Mark) 

Hot Linx
Each quarter Hays produces a Quarterly Report to target candidate hotspots and present market commentary. Check out Hay's website at http://www.hays.net.nz/forecast/
Unhappy Hipster has taken photography from Dwell Magazine and re-captioned them at http://unhappyhipsters.com/, entitled "Unhappy Hipsters - it's lonely in the modern world"
And "Every time you think there is nothing left to scare you, there is" guide to live dot com; keeping you alive from danger since 2008. Read all about the dangers of onions on their site at http://www.yourguidetolive.com/article.php?a=dangersofonions
If you are looking for some real international marketing nous, you probably can't do better than Trendwatching. They offer their premium service for small operators seeking market information and trends at http://www.trendwatching.com/premium/

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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