by Divina Paredes

Movers and shakers: Dr Claire Barber, Hannah Seddon and Rachael Powell

Oct 10, 2018

Dr Claire Barber, chief digital officer at Spark NZ, and Hannah Seddon, head of HR service delivery and Carl Fransen, application lead – Service Now respectively at WSP Opus, were among key speakers at the Future of Work forum held this week in Sydney.

They were joined by ServiceNow executives Dave Wright, chief innovation officer and David Oakley, vice president and managing director, ANZ, at the forum, which was held as part of the Now Forum, the annual user forum of ServiceNow.

@ the Future of Work panel discussion: Dave Wright, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow and David Oakley, Vice President and Managing Director, ANZ, ServiceNow

“Digital transformation is a critical path of where we have to be and go,” says Barber. She points out that the methods, structures and ways of working that had served them well will not take them to where they need to go next.

In July this year, she says, Spark “turned the whole organisation on its head”.

“We abandoned role based hierarchy and we have shifted the entire organisation into a purpose driven organisation,” says Barber.

We worked with staff around the business to redefine our purpose, which is “to help all New Zealanders win big in the digital world”.

We have redesigned how we worked, and we removed the functional silosDr Claire Barber, Spark NZ

“We have redesigned how we worked, and we removed the functional silos which is the right thing to do.”

Hannah Seddon explains WSP is a professional services and engineering company with 48,000 employees across the globe.

She says WSP Opus, whose NZ headquarters is in Wellington, implemented ServiceNow and got rid of different inboxes that staff use for their HR queries.

Having a single portal for HR made a large difference for the team as they had visibility of the workload coming and and effectively allocate resources then when these were in different inboxes, says Carl Fransen.

We have 40 offices across New Zealand, and having a national view of what is happening is beneficial, says Fransen, a member of the IT team, but who works closely with the HR team on the ServiceNow migration.

The Future of Work event was part of the Now Forum, the annual user conference of ServiceNow being held this week at Sydney.

@ the Future of Work panel discussion: Dave Wright, Chief Innovation Officer, ServiceNow; David Oakley, Vice President and Managing Director, ANZ, ServiceNow; Dr. Claire barber, Chief Digital Officer, Spark NZ; Michelle Carroll, Enterprise Operations Manager, Flight Centre; Carl Fransen, Application Lead – ServiceNow, WSP Opus; and Hannah Seddon, Head of HR Service Delivery, WSP Opus

Adam Gower joins Watercare Services as head of digital operations.

He came from Mercury, where he was digital delivery manager. His previous roles include transformation manager at Mighty River Power, operations manager at Foodstuffs (North Island) and IS delivery manager at Genesis Energy.

Rachael Powell

Rachael Powell, chief customer and people officer at Xero, highlights the company’s drive to fight the stigma of mental health in the workplace.

She announces that Xero is introducing the Wellbeing Leave, which allows the staff to not only take leave for physical or mental illness, to cover medical procedures, when a partner or dependent requires care, but also to take time off for their own personal wellbeing.

“Mental illness and poor wellbeing is something that affects many people, including small businesses; most people will encounter it in themselves or someone they love during their lifetime. We cannot afford to ignore it.”

“We hope this small step will help those who need to take time out for their personal wellbeing to do so without feeling a stigma,” says Powell.

World Mental Health Day is held on 10 October.

Dr Zahra Champion

BiotechNZ executive director Dr Zahra Champion says the country’s biotech industry is on the cusp of a massive surge, boosting the economy and exports through the growth of new world technologies, including the use of gene technology.

She says the OECD has estimated the potential contribution of the bio-economy to New Zealand’s GDP will climb to $182 billion by 2030. Champion says biology and technology are merging to form exciting new solutions which will benefit New Zealand.

“Biotech is growing exponentially in many areas including the revolution in gene editing technologies which will play a big part in the future of many sectors including healthcare, agriculture and conservation,” she says. “Creating and accessing highly skilled talent will be key for New Zealander as we work in these new technologies and cutting-edge science.

“A national discussion needs to be held to debate the risks and benefits of these new technologies for New Zealand to compete on the world stage.”

She says there are some incredible Kiwi companies discovering and producing in biotech in areas of health such as Argenta, which is using their expertise in anti-parasitics globally.

“Pacific Edge, a Gisborne cancer diagnostic company, is working with the Tair?whiti District Health Board to implement bladder testing for urology referrals so patients can get the peace of mind that they don’t have bladder cancer from their easy-to-use urine test. This avoids a cystoscopy and the need to travel long distances to the hospital.

“Auckland’s AroaBio health company is designing and manufacturing medical products which enable surgeons and clinicians to repair serious tissue injuries. Their expertise lies in medical device development for soft tissue reinforcement and cellular scaffolding.

Champion says another company, Kea Therapeutics, is set to revolutionise the global pain relief drug market while many other New Zealand firms are creating world-first solutions using biotech.

“Nelson company Supreme Health is a plant-based natural health food company producing oil from algae that is being used as a foundation for products designed to treat a range of specific health conditions.

“We have seen biotech companies like Comvita merging their knowledge of a natural product like honey with biotech to create world-leading honey-based medicinal products.”

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