Project TalentNZ

TalentNZ is a McGuinness Institute project that builds on Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of making New Zealand ‘a place where talent wants to live’. Sir Paul outlined his reasons ‘why’ this vision is important in his 20-minute video at the Institute’s StrategyNZ workshop (held at Te Papa in 2011). The focus of this project is on the ‘how’. Here we test Sir Paul’s assumptions and explore ways New Zealanders might turn this vision into reality. The Menu of Initiatives is an output from the TalentNZ project.


The Menu of Initiatives

The Menu of Initiatives illustrates New Zealand’s talent ecosystem and showcases a broad range of possible initiatives that communities might implement today to create Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision for a flourishing talent-based economy tomorrow.

Our focus has been on how best to identify and communicate the tools that work so that councils can design their own unique strategy for creating a talent-based economy.

We recognise that each community has its own character, personality and skill set. The Menu of Initiatives is designed like a restaurant menu, where a list of alternative options are provided to discuss and select. In the same way that one cannot eat everything on the menu, a community cannot implement every initiative on the Menu of Initiatives. Councillors and communities will need to discuss, research, experiment and reflect on which initiatives might work best for them. A full list of those who have contributed to the Menu is available on the contributor page of this website.

The 28 initiatives in the Menu have been sourced from throughout New Zealand and internationally, and then assessed, synthesised and reflected on by the most action-orientated and committed people we know. There have been a wide range of New Zealanders that have been involved directly and indirectly in this initiative.

The Menu of Initiatives was published in June 2014 and launched at an event in Wellington. The press release launching this Menu can be seen here.

Having realised how rapidly the world is changing and adapting to new ideas, in 2016 we thought it was timely for a TalentNZ refresh. On 19 May 2016, we held a round table event to stress-test the TalentNZ assumptions and the Menu of Initiatives. Following from this meeting we updated this website to reflect the discussions from the meeting. Over the next few months we hope to publish an update of the Menu of Initiatives and an illustrative diagram that explains the development of our thinking from a traditional jobs-based economy to a talent-based economy.

All outputs from the TalentNZ Menu can be found on the publications page.

The Website

This website accompanies the Menu. It offers more detail on each of the 28 initiatives and provides both New Zealand and international examples of good practice that were gathered in 2014.

To create a user-friendly format, we have used the model applied by Dr David Agus in his book ‘A short guide to a long life’ (2013). Here he turns analysis into a practical and concise illustrated handbook that focuses on daily habits, using inexpensive and widely accessible tools to provide workable solutions. While Dr Agus focuses on what habits are likely to lengthen your life, the Menu of Initiatives focuses on what actions might make a talent-based economy flourish.

Please see our frequently asked questions page for further information.