Navigating the innovation ecosystem to turn woolly ideas into reality has become easier with the launch of Wool Impact’s navigator.
Wool Impact commissioned a review of the innovation ecosystem for wool to identify the barriers and opportunities to enable more innovation.
This identified the need for a central point of information and co-ordination support to find the right expertise, capability, and resource support to go through the innovation journey.
Wool Impact has appointed a Wool Impact navigator who can connect individuals and businesses with the necessary expertise and support to bring their innovative wool ideas to life.
“The Wool Impact navigator is here to do just that; innovation with strong wool is needed to increase demand and value for strong wool growers and participants in the value chain,” Wool Impact chief executive Andy Caughey said.
He said there is no shortage of innovators and entrepreneurs with passion and ideas for wool, but they are not well supported.
There is also a range of world-class strong wool expertise and manufacturing capability in NZ that is not well known.
“Add to that the range of public and private support for innovation and there should be a thriving innovation eco-system out there.
“Unfortunately, we have heard repeatedly that it can be just a little bit challenging to find the right expertise and support to turn those woolly ideas into reality.
“We have a lot of wool, over 100 million kilograms of it, so we’re talking about products that will use hundreds and ideally thousands of tonnes of it.
“Our farmers aren’t getting paid enough to cover costs so any new uses need to be able to support a price that is two to three times at least what it is now.”
Anna Crosbie, who has been appointed to head the navigator role, is tasked with supporting innovation that will significantly increase the use and demand for NZ strong wool.
Crosbie helps businesses and organisations to develop ideas into investable propositions and to nurture innovation through the pre-revenue stages of product development.
Her knowledge spans industry, government, iwi, consumer and community perspectives and she has deep knowledge of the support that is available to those looking to innovate.
The navigator will also enable increased domestic manufacturing using NZ strong wool.
In addition Wool Impact has launched a new website designed to serve as a resource that showcases brands using wool, highlights the exceptional value of wool as a fibre, explores exciting innovations in the industry, and connects wool growers, industry professionals, brands seeking sustainable performance materials, and consumers interested in supporting responsible choices.
“In our ever-evolving world, it is crucial to have a central platform where the wonders of wool can be celebrated and shared.
“By encouraging collaboration and fostering relationships, we will strengthen the wool community worldwide,” Caughey said.