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Idealog—in the ideas business

Cover of Idealog #33

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And now for something completely different ...


6 The wisdom of my mistakes

Failure is the constant companion of entrepreneurs, risk-takers and dreamers.

8 Contributors

10 Onyas walk The Wire

The Onya awards celebrate those who design, develop and create New Zealand's best websites and applications.

14 Wiggs' Way

Lance Wiggs helps with your tricky business problems.


16 Surfing: Back to the drawing board

Surfers are typically a green lot but surfboard manufacture can be a toxic business.

18 Arc angel

From experiments he begun as a schoolboy, electrical engineer Carlos Van Camp has created a world-leading visual spectacular using high-voltage machines he develops in Auckland.

19 Marvellous design

Ben Stenbeck does what boys only dream about: drawing comics for US publishers like Marvel and Dark Horse. The Auckland-based artist tracks his own journey

20 Order up

The year was 1997. IT and electrical savant John Hansen and family were celebrating his daughter’s graduation at a fancy Auckland restaurant—and the service was rubbish. Chaotic and slow, the wait staff and kitchen were disorganised and exasperated. While waiting, the family joined forces to redesign the ordering system on a napkin.

22 On the rise

The best little Kiwi bach, with a solar twist.

24 Recipe for disaster

For someone about to make his first Hollywood movie, Ash Bolland seems remarkably calm.

26 Allan Freeth: We don't need fibre for UFB

TelstraClear boss Allan Freeth has led a vocal campaign against the government’s $1.5 billion ultrafast broadband initiative. Now he’s got the industry to follow his lead. So what’s the big problem?

30 Vital science

Professor Valery Feigin is a busy man. But he knows that his work in the fields of stroke and traumatic brain injury is making a huge difference.

The Idealog Guide to Innovation

38 The mother of invention

Last year Idealog published Cash for Ideas—The Idealog Guide to Commercialising Your Ideas. In its pages we brought together an expert panel from six of the top innovation support firms in the country. We enjoyed it so much, and learned so much, that we are doing it again.

40 Cheers to a new brew

Home enthusiasts, companies and clubs can now make the freshest draft beer on the planet thanks to Nanobrewing Ltd.

42 Leadership and innovation

Creating a culture of innovation through leadership means listening to other people's ideas, too.

44 Ideas into action

AUT Enterprises helps researchers and scientists take the step from novel technology to commercial reality.

46 All fired up

A Kiwi invention that makes wood heaters burn slow, hot and clean has caught the attention of US regulators and manufacturers.

48 Generating insights and ideas

What they want, what they need.

53 Early-stage investment

The people with the money need to believe in your idea, but not necessarily the way you do.

55 Intellectual property protection

The first thing you should do if you think you have a good idea: check that it's actually a new one.

58 Springboard to success

The AUT Business Innovation Centre is helping companies grow and develop their ideas into viable businesses.

60 Changing the face of banking

In 2009 BNZ made a strategic decision to upgrade its retail presence with a complete revamp of its network of 140 stores. The brief required the design team to challenge existing banking protocols and to design a store with a retail focus.

62 Brand development

Too many business people still think of a commercial brand as something you slap on at the end of the process. But what are customers going to pay you those extra dollars for?


65 Hands off my baggage

Losing luggage has to rank up there among any traveller’s worst fears.

65 Happy tree friends

Not many manufacturers can say they give back more than they use.

66 Star of the show

If clean, pared-back lines are more your thing than brocade and lace doilies, the no nonsense Starling Chair will be right up your alley.

66 The maritime touch

‘Ten years ahead of his time’ one of the verdicts at the launch of Craig McInnes’ first furniture range.

67 All that glitters

While Sonia Voigt’s career as a TV journalist saw her dressed up and made up to the nines, her jewellery business involves the opposite extreme.

67 Southern brew

UV rays aren’t just the enemies of our skin, but also of a good beer, which is why you’ll find this light lager in a black bottle.

67 Lend me your ears

For those who are bored with boring black and white, nobody does headphones as accessories better than Urbanears.


68 A fish out of water

Everything is wrong with this business: wrong place, wrong product, wrong people. So what makes an entrepreneur, a chef, Jim Bolger and 31 of their friends think that Mt Cook Alpine Salmon will become a $60 million export success in the next five years? Vincent Heeringa investigates.

76 Dumbo feather: People's stories, in their own words

Kate Bezar rejected all the rules of business and made up her own rules about publishing to create the ‘mook’ — a magazine/book hybrid that’s as inspirational as its subject matter. By Kris Herbert.

80 The mythical startup

An online idea that’s snapped up for squillions—it’s the modern fairytale, but tech startups don’t always have a happy ending. Rowan Simpson has been a key part of startups-done-right Trade Me and Xero, and as a tech investor he’s been pitched some great ideas and some real dogs. Along the way, he’s learned a few things about building teams, raising cash, learning from mistakes and getting customers who pay.


91 Stunting growth

Uh oh, not another one. Authors have been churning out books on climate change and what the very real risks are should we chose to ignore the growing signs that all is not well in this wondrous world.

92 Bad language

The problem with modern doomsayers is that they sound so reasonable.

92 This book should have been titled ‘How to become an overpaid business guru spreading a bunch of arse’

At least that way the authors could be forgiven for dressing up the mundane as something “amazing”, “unprecedented” and always needing a capital T and L.

93 Die hard or die singing

As the autumn leaves fall I dread the approach of the opera season, in case I’m obliged to go. I can’t remember the last time I actually bought a ticket, but have occasionally been a guest of one of the large, multinational accounting firms who seem to be opera’s prime sponsors.

94 Death to numbers

When it comes to info, I just want the graphics.

95 The next Canterbury crisis

Water at what price?

98 Belly up

Now is not the time to tighten your belt.

99 Tour de force

An adventure in social media.

100 Adventures of a night owl

The time land forgot. Or sneered at.

102 Nothing to fear

We need to put the Trans-Tasman Pacific Partnership into perspective.

102 Freedom: just another word for nothing left to loot

More trade, tougher IP laws. Is that a good deal?

103 Another winter at home

Batten down the hatches.

104 Still life

By day, Andrew Smith is creative director at Dave Clark Design Associates. Outside of hours he snaps photos and digitally processes them in Lightroom.


86 All sorts of success

Breaking into competitive export markets can be tough. A tailored funding solution from BNZ helped one Levin-based licorice manufacturer. RJ’s Licorice has found a winning recipe, sticking to what it knows best and producing a range of quintessentially Kiwi licorice that’s sought after around the world

88 Clear connection

The internet is bulging with business websites—and many just sit there in cyberspace accomplishing very little. In 2000, three Kiwi guys decided to do something about that. Their company,, helps organisations develop websites that generate real results