Negotiating the way in this Vuca world


It’s 2022, and more than a year since we bought a little old building in Oamaru.

You know the one.

Thames St, next to Poshtel.

The outside looks a bit like a bee hive (now) — boxy, yellow with black stripes. Handy that, because we are The Business Hive — and our logo sits at the very top.

Design-wise, that’s the inspired visual concept by local design company Design Federation.

Execution-wise, you’re seeing the consummate skills of Ace Painters and MJ Ireland Signs.

Why am I telling you this? It’s because the very image of our building illustrates a cornerstone of our business values — that smart, collective efforts outclass simple intention (in this case, paint the building).

We’re heading into a year where expert business predictions are a truly mixed bag. The whole world is facing increased volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity (it’s termed a Vuca world).

We don’t have the immigrant labour force we’ve relied on.

We have ongoing supply chain disruptions.

We know that Millennials and Gen Z (adults under 38) are increasingly seeking purposeful work and flexibility (which could be underpinning the great resignation).

Here in the Waitaki, work is more concentrated in a few industries than in other parts of the country.

Our 2020 HHI (Herfindahl-Hirschman Index, where an index of zero represents economic activity evenly spread across all industries) was 144.2 compared with 47.5 nationally.

This matters because the more a region’s economic activity is limited by industry types, the more vulnerable it is to adverse effects (eg commodity price, scarcity or labour force issues).

This year will bring unprecedented opportunities to solve problems in both big and small businesses — and we do that best through smart, collective efforts.

That means understanding what the challenges are and making connections that will help us find the solutions.

The building that is The Business Hive is a striking visual reminder in the heart of our town — an example of businesses working together for something greater than the sum of its parts.

That’s our reason for being — to help businesses make those connections that will drive local economic growth.

It’s why we’ll be working with the Oamaru Business Collective and Business South, local businesses and those newly appearing with ambitious business ideas.

It’s about supporting a thriving business community for the benefit of us all.

We’re in it together, Waitaki.

Welcome 2022. This is the year to get involved.

Cara Tipping Smith is a director of The Business Hive and chairwoman of the Oamaru Business Collective