Bootcamp & Battle Scars – the new frontier of business

Welcome to Bootcamp & Battle Scars, a new podcast bringing together a range of voices from business in New Zealand to discuss lessons and learnings from, or on the quest to, the frontier.

This is a space where we quiz experts to find out what it takes to take an organisation to the forefront of productivity or innovation in New Zealand. There are two constants in any successful innovation practice, lifelong learning and failure (of one shape or another) and we’re keen to get into the nitty gritty of both. We ask, what are the best doing? What can we learn from them? And what do we need to be considering on our journey to sustainable business success?

In our first episode we chat with Adrian PackerMehdi Shahbazpour and Ross Pearce. We dive into framing up the “Bootcamp and Battle Scars” conversation and, more importantly, discuss why we think it’s a critical one for business today.

“Last century was all about greed and how much money could be made. This century it’s got to be different because that old mindset created the problems we’ve got in front of us right now,” says Ross. 

The environment and the community are now fundamental to a business being successful, Ross goes on, “it’s not about how much money I can make this year, it’s what I can achieve with a business, a sustainable business, that has a minimum impact on the environment and is really supporting the community I work in.”

To find solutions to the problems businesses face today, we need to develop new mindsets and tool sets. Building ambition, utilizing collaboration, creating shared value, and prioritizing leadership will ultimately shift our ecosystem forward. These are all elements discussed by Ross, Adrian, Mehdi and Greg in detail.

Strong leadership is a requirement for frontier firms, somebody who is passionate, has a clear vision, understands what’s happening in the world around them and has the ability to bring people with them. Ross adds that “particularly in New Zealand I see more managers than leaders…it’s easy for a leader or founder of a business to get sucked into the day-to-day, rather than keeping ahead and providing the strategic leadership. This really should be a bigger part of the role, not the other way around.”

Hand in hand with leadership is ambition. But what comes first, the ambition or the business idea? Is ambition inherently there or can it grow along the journey? Our panel debate this and the idea that ambition is a business process, a ‘collective ambition muscle’ that an organisation can create and foster as a key competency. 

“They [organisations] can develop that innovation ambition on a competence that they built, they actively work at thinking bigger and develop a genuine belief that they can get there” says Adrian.

Another key feature of a frontier firm is their ability to collaborate and share their IP. “The opportunities that sit in front of us are far more complex than they used to be,” says Ross.

“In order to be successful, we need to collaborate and be good at it” says Ross. 

This in turn generates shared valued, it’s less about Corporate Social Responsibility and more about Creating Shared Value. “Look at your suppliers, look at your customers and try to invest in the relationship with them…look at the support that you can give to others, and they can give back to you in order to help you reach higher levels than you would be able to on your own,” says Mehdi.

To hear the full episode of Bootcamp & Battle Scars check out Spotify or Youtube.

If you or your organization are keen to join the Bootcamp and Battle Scars conversation or you have a question for any of the team, drop us a line at and we'll be in touch!