Ara hosts Applied Business Education Conference

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04 Oct 2019

For the first time, over 90 delegates from most ITPs across the country have come together in Christchurch for the biennial New Zealand Applied Business Education (NZABE) Conference.

Over the years, NZABE conferences have provided a platform for sharing knowledge and with over 30 presentations from business educators as well as industry professionals and keynote speakers Dr Stewart Hase and George Nelson, the two-day conference at Ara is no exception.

Ara Chief Executive, Tony Gray welcoming keynote speaker Dr Stewart Hase (right)

This year’s overarching theme is change and how change effects business and business education in Aotearoa.

Ara senior business lecturer and co-organiser Gareth Allison said whilst change can be challenging it can also create opportunities.

“An everchanging world presents the possibility for the ITP sector to lead in the development of new ways to equip business graduates for the evolving challenges they will face throughout their careers.”

Jennifer Lee, who is one of the co-chairs of New Zealand Applied Business (NZAB) Education Forum and Programme Delivery Manager of the Open Polytechnic of New Zealand, said the conference is a fantastic occasion to network and collaborate prior to the establishment of the New Zealand Institute of Skills and Technology (NZIST).

“Getting together for the conference gives us the opportunity to see what we can do to collaborate better because we are heading that way anyway. We can be on the front foot. Establish where we are at and how we can work better together in the future.”

Rae Perkins, another co-chair of NZAB Education Forum and Curriculum Manager at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), added that robust academic discussions can also lead to research collaborations.

“This conference opens up possibilities for academics to reach out to other people in their field who they normally don’t have contact with and develop research partnerships."

Ara academic staff member Linda McKitterick did exactly that: she used day one of the conference to introduce her peers to her and Gareth Allison’s abstract “How do consumer and website characteristics combine to create barriers to trust in e-commerce?”. Afterwards she encouraged the audience to approach them with ideas and suggestions for possible tactics to get the research started.

Keynote speaker George Nelson, Ara’s Deputy Chief Executive Academic, Innovation and Research, started day two talking about Design Intelligence. Design in this context is not about ‘making things pretty’ but its prospective nature of creating something that doesn’t exist today and that creates tomorrow. To do so, you have to combine analytical thinking with creative and emotional drivers and integrate that in your way of working. In his presentation he spoke about the dynamic framework that has seen design inform strategic direction, inspire innovation and lend a new literacy to the business educators.

Keynote speaker George Nelson, Ara’s Deputy Chief Executive Academic, Innovation and Research