Marian Johnson

The Influencers: Marian Johnson

Recently, our PM talked to Business NZ about 2019’s five budget priorities; three of the five make it clear that nurturing, cultivating and supporting innovation are critical to the future of our country.


Marian Johnson
Chief Awesome Officer Ministry of Awesome


After all, if we are to ‘transition to a sustainable low emissions economy’, then we will need to replace old practices with innovations that enable sustainability. If we are to lift Maori and Pacific incomes, then we must ensure that those most at risk are not only prepared for the impact of exponential technology but also equipped to lead the change.

Finally, if we are to be part of a thriving nation in the digital age, then innovation must be nurtured, cultivated and supported throughout the country. One of Christchurch’s key strengths is our strong pedigree as innovators – our tech sector is the second largest in NZ and our engineering and manufacturing sectors also punch above their weight. But – regardless of our pedigree – it frequently feels like we still lack the confidence that we can achieve great things.

It was with this in mind that the MoA team went along to see the UCE EY Summer Startup Programme’s final earlier this month. A long day of worrying over Christchurch’s startup and innovation pipeline was immediately drowned out by every single one of those students who lit up the stage with their intelligence and blistering confidence that their innovation would change the world. They weren’t dreamers. They were proud citizens of Christchurch – the city of innovation, opportunity and exploration



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