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2020 Nuffield Scholars Insights

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Stories from the year of living precariously

Presented at the Nuffield 2021 Scholarship Awards Ceremony
3rd November 2020, Wellington

The Nuffield NZ 2020 Scholars have had conversations with food and fibre producing leaders about the impact of COVID-19 on the primary sector.

From these conversations our 2020 Scholars (Tracy Brown, Ben Mclaughlin, Phil Weir, Edward Pinckney and Shannon Harnett) have worked together to deliver four collective insights around supply chains, innovation, people and strategies.

Watch the 2020 Scholars deliver these insights in the video below.

Tracy Brown

“Conversations with food and fibre producing leaders about the impact of COVID 19 has helped us gain insights and become critically reflective thinkers”

Nuffielders 2020

Our year of living precariously

For the first time, the New Zealand Nuffield Scholars have worked together to deliver collective insights.

The collaborative learning model focused on ‘Critical Reflective Practice’ providing significant insight and a framework for more focused individual efforts in 2021.

Greater opportunity to connect locally has been valuable and should be incorporated into future program delivery.

Ben McLauchlan

“Resilience is the capacity of a system, enterprise, or person to maintain its core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances.”

Andrew Zolli

Insight one: Proven supply chain resilience

The World Trade Organisation forecast that world merchandise trade would be reduced by between 13% and 32% in 2020 (WTO, April 2020).

  • NZ has been able to continue to trade goods, despite local and international challenges.
  • We have outpaced other export focused countries.
  • Our supply chains have been tested and found to be resilient.
  • The demand for our food has ensured prioritisation and flow of key imports.
  • The primary sector has been a vital lifeline in keeping the NZ economy intact and lessening the economic impact.

Phil Weir

“The threat of going hungry became real for many people for the first time in their lives”

KPMG, The ‘now’ normal’ future

Insight two: Growing disparity between the haves and have nots

We have all been affected by COVID-19. Some of us to greater or lesser extents. It has not just been the spread of the virus that has followed an exponential growth curve.
  • Technological innovation has quickened.
  • Increasing inequality between the haves and have nots.
  • The degree and obviousness of disparity raises significant risks to social license and export markets

Edward Pinckney

“Chaos is exhausting, structure and certainty keeps us sane”

Insight three: Challenges around fit for purpose leadership

Risk related to COVID-19 escalated rapidly. Previously it was not high (or even present) on the risk matrix for many businesses. Some leaders were caught out, “frozen with indecision,” unable to make decisions and move forward. Others excelled!

The following are attributes of great leadership in a crisis:

  • Communication to create certainty
  • Culture of experimentation
  • Creativity and agility
  • Values based

Shannon Harnett

“Lock down gave me time and space to evaluate my ideals around how I live. This was an opportunity I had not had in 30 years.”

Business owner

Insight four: Adding value by moving value to values

The rise of the ‘Conscious Consumer’ is a growing trend and COVID 19 has accelerated this.

We need to further understand the drivers behind consumers preparedness to buy and consume sustainably grown, values-based produce.

Our programmes work in partnership with some of New Zealand’s leading agribusiness organisations – click here for more.​