About Windshift – Background and Philosophy

Windshift has researched [and sometimes predicted] many of the major changes in New Zealand over the past 20 years. We have been the ultimate generalists, researching the effects of earthquakes, global financial crisis and social media.  We’ve explored the realities of migration and people’s pathways to personal wellbeing.

Our research has covered all parts of the social spectrum. We’ve documented the attitudes of global investors, but also of everyday people trying to make ends meet.  We’ve interviewed some of the most dynamic business owners in New Zealand and others who have somehow lost their sense of direction.

In the Last 20 Years

  • New Zealand society has moved from analogue to digital. Even the slowest adopters have experienced the distinctive sense of amplification and autonomy that internet technology brings.
  • The generations have moved on: work has replaced play for Millennials, Gen Xers are now in their prime, while more and more Baby Boomers are down-shifting.
  • The direction of migration has changed, both within and towards New Zealand. Now we recognise Auckland as  a young and diverse Pacific Rim city.

We have all changed and yet New Zealand is still recognisably New Zealand. Even if some of the individual puzzle pieces are dramatically different, our distinctive social DNA shines through. Some of our core values have been enhanced through a kind of natural selection, while others have diminished.

Many of the businesses and organisations that existed in 1998 are still here, but some  are struggling. Often, these ‘mature’ businesses and organisations find it  difficult to respond to structural change, or to make themselves relevant to new generations. Market research is not immune. The fact that we offer more services to organisations that do their own research represents a necessary pivot.

Now Let’s Think About The Next 20 Years

The cumulative effects of many small but rapid changes has led to a  widespread sense of alienation and uncertainty. One successful coping strategy has been to stick to cosmetic changes, or the day to day things we can control, rather than to risk misinterpreting the big picture. There’s a lot of tinkering going on.

But Windshift is with the people who believe it’s time to be bigger and bolder. Our future holds some major uncertainties that won’t be solved by the application of cosmetics.

Even if we hadn’t just been given twelve years to deal with climate change, there are plenty of other contenders. For those,  we need our people and institutions to be in the best form of their lives. Knowing how to get the job done, focusing on what really matters, everyone doing their bit. If it sounds like preparation for a World Cup final, it sort of is.

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