Star Kiwi bioengineer will front PwC Herald Talks business event

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NZME has tapped Weta digital genius Prof Mark Sagar to headline the first edition of PwC Herald Talks, a new business event series aimed at “encouraging business thought leaders to come together and share knowledge, insight and strategies, to grow and diversify business in New Zealand”.

Four breakfast events will be held this year, from July until December, discussing current trends in innovation, growth, global and changing markets.

“The carefully selected keynote speakers and panellists will offer the opportunity for attendees to hear leading business innovators share strategies, challenges, trends and expertise required to excel in today’s business environment,” says NZME ceo Jane Hastings.

“Through the panel discussion that will follow the keynote attendees will be exposed to a unique mix of strategic insights and practical solutions that can be implemented to improve business performance,” she said.

“The company is excited that these forums will create synergy where key business professionals can connect, share knowledge and discuss growing New Zealand business in an ever-changing landscape.

“Collaboration and fostering great partnerships is at the core of successful business practice in New Zealand.

“New Zealanders are known for our ingenuity and innovation on a global scale and we believe the PwC Herald Talks breakfast series will be the perfect forum to motivate further success. We want everyone to walk away from each session armed with new knowledge and being inspired to do business better.”

PwC ceo Bruce Hassall said: “Innovation is core to New Zealand businesses that are evolving and utilising technologies to remain relevant in these rapidly changing times. PwC Herald Talks provides an excellent platform to discuss innovation and other key areas of focus that are fundamentally changing the way organisations operate in New Zealand and globally.”

The first breakfast event will be held on Wednesday 1 July from 7am until 9am at SKYCITY, with Innovation as the focus topic, featuring a line-up of respected professionals. “Breakfast attendees will discover how to drive sustainable and continuous innovation in their industry,” Hastings said.

The keynote speaker is Associate Professor Mark Sagar, director of the Laboratory for Animate Technologies at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute. The NZME release says Dr Sagar “knows first-hand that innovation is the key to business success. As a pioneer in innovation with his work in computer-generated faces, he has won two consecutive Academy Awards in the Sci-Tech category for his innovative work”.

Sagar previously worked as the special projects supervisor at Weta Digital, using technology for the creation of the digital characters in blockbusters such Avatar, King Kong, and Spiderman 2.

He holds a Ph D in bioengineering and is a recipient of the University of Auckland’s 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. His laboratory is a leader in pioneering neurobehavioral animation that combines biologically based models of faces and neural systems to create live, naturally intelligent, and highly expressive interactive systems.

A panel discussion on innovation will round off the event, featuring PwC ceo Bruce Hassall, Callaghan Innovation ceo Dr Mary Quin, and Spark Ventures ceo Rod Snodgrass, with business herald editor Liam Dann as the adjudicator.

The PwC Herald Talk series is being presented by the New Zealand Herald, PwC, Newstalk ZB and event partners SKYCITY and Kea.

  • Tickets for the inaugural breakfast on Wednesday 1 July are on sale now for $89 per person and available for purchase here
  • Read july 2014 M+AD interview with Prof Sagar here

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