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As an engineer, researcher, entrepreneur, educator and mum, Priti Ambani wears many different hats. She is working with business and technology education faculty Tech Futures Lab; Itsnoon, an enabler of inclusive digital networks; and The Next Billion, an impact-driven enterprise that pools collective resources to invest in women business leaders that she co-founded.

We had a chat with Priti Ambani about innovating for the good of the world – something she's well-versed in having spent the last nine years working as part of global teams to gain an understanding of the dynamics of digital collaboration, co-creation, emerging disruptive technologies and its impact on the future of work.

 

What does Techweek's 2018 theme ‘innovation that’s good for the world’ mean to you?
That sounds like a great theme. We are at a unique point in time, history says human society has never been better, the technological changes around us promise a better world. Yet as we transition from the industrial world to a truly digital world, we are seeing that prosperity from the shift is concentrated. ‘Innovation that’s good for the world’ to me means applications, tools and practices that are truly inclusive, that aim for shared prosperity and thriving societies.

Innovation that’s good for the world’ to me means applications, tools and practices that are truly inclusive, that aim for shared prosperity and thriving societies.

In what industries/sectors do you think New Zealand is innovating for a better world? 
There are some amazing pockets of work being done in blockchain, artificial intelligence, education, social innovation and agritech here in New Zealand.

What global challenge would you like to see New Zealand innovators at the forefront of solving?
Old, legacy systems are fast becoming obsolete and new paradigms of the digital economy have emerged. The future of jobs and work are being disrupted rapidly and most of our societies aren't ready for the transition. A vibrant society relies on a robust social contract that is fast eroding with unequal progress in the digital economy. Our work at ItsNOON revolves around building digital networks that are truly inclusive and support the transition to the future of work and income generation in the age of exponential technologies. Another aspect of the challenge is helping Kiwis innovators and businesses navigate change in the tech age. Our work at Tech Futures Lab i s enabling a mindset shift needed for business to thrive now and here. I would love to see more New Zealand innovators and innovations put people at the centre of their work.

I would love to see more New Zealand innovators and innovations put people at the centre of their work.

What do you think makes New Zealand innovation and/or innovators unique from a global perspective?
New Zealand is unique for its society, size, diversity and geographical isolation. It is a perfect hot bed for innovation and bold initiatives that can initiate from here and scale worldwide. New Zealand is also increasing its global presence with an emphasis on cultural vibrancy and inclusion and thus attracting more attention on the global level. We have a great opportunity to understand how to make this work in a unique way and add a much needed holistic aspect to digital products and services.

What are you most looking forward to about Techweek'18?
I am looking forward to bold conversations that aim for exponential positive change for our planet, people and businesses.

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