Every Year Fiji Loses The Best Business Knowledge In The Country

Every year Fiji loses the best business knowledge in the country In Australia in the late eighties and early nineties there was a business competition called “the Hoover Marketing Awards”,
02 Sep 2017 11:27
Every Year Fiji Loses The Best Business Knowledge In The Country
Rosie Holidays managing director, Tony Whitton (left) and general manager, Eroni Puamau, were all smiles after receiving yet another award…the Rosie Group is a perennial award winner setting high standards in the tourism industry.

Every year Fiji loses the best business knowledge in the country

In Australia in the late eighties and early nineties there was a business competition called “the Hoover Marketing Awards”, sponsored by the company of the same name and dedicated to finding and publishing some of the best marketing case studies for that year in Australia, to be used as textbooks for the business directed universities.

Businesses in different categories would enter the story of their marketing success and winners would be given a very nice medal with a little opal embedded in it and the acclaim of the business world for being very astute marketers.

The award presentations would then be edited to remove any commercially sensitive data and published in book form.

The awards were eventually taken over by one of the National Marketing Associations and I have lost track of them, but there was a whole generation of marketing people who were better prepared to take on the world because of the knowledge that entrants made available.

Of course there was a black tie evening and lots of speeches and backslapping but the true benefit was the vast amount of experience that the book made available to people just entering the business (and the bulk of people already well place in the hierarchy).

Any business who was Awarded benefited directly by being seen as an organisation that needed to be taken seriously in the business world and became known as the place to join for the best of the graduating students.

Fiji has many companies who are at the point of excellence in the way they do business.

Some of the things they do are world leading, clever, innovative and inspired and these companies every year have the opportunity to be recognised (as they deserve to be) by their peers and the wider business community through the different Awards competitions held by either government of their business groups.

The Awards are created and supported by the sponsors in the belief that a growth in overall knowledge and excellence is remarkably good for Fiji and that Awards encourages the spread of the knowledge and desire to be up there with the winners.

That might be so, but one thing is missing.

All the business creativity and knowledge carefully collected and expanded in the Award Presentations is seen by only a few judges, the great night comes and goes and so does the learning, carefully taken away by the entrants to store in their private archives.

Fiji has enough talent and creativity to take on the world and theses awards usually clearly demonstrate that. With a pool of knowledge that great, Fiji can only advance rapidly. All it would take is for the knowledge to be shared.

Nonsense, you say, no one will share their secrets to their competitors! Over the last three weeks I have raised the concept of publishing Award Documentation with a number of industry leaders and every one of them agreed that this would only be good for Business in Fiji.

There were concerns that commercially sensitive data could not be released but, if the presentations were edited professionally and if they had the right of editorial approval they were prepare to make the information public.

This is what happened in the Hoover Awards and this is what made it work. Obviously, some of the Award categories, such as :


“The Best Frontliner” would not add much knowledge, but not every category would need to be published.

The criteria for publication would be “Does this material have the potential to improve knowledge and excellence in the category?” and the answer for those that do would be obvious.

Tony Whitton, the CEO of the Rosie Group and a perennial Award winner in the tourism sector, while agreeing the concept had great merit went one step further. He suggested that the material be used for presentation at selected and carefully targeted one-day seminars where the winners made the presentation and answered questions.

These seminars should be structured to be mentoring classes and the knowledge in the actual Award presentation would be passed on and expanded to suit the audience.

In some of the government sponsored Awards very specific groups are targeted (farmers by type of crop or method of marketing, importers.

SME operators and others) and the seminars and presentations can also be tailored to suit each target.

The edited written Award presentations should not only be available to practitioners in each segment but can also assist in developing positive characteristics, innovative thinking and attitudes in broader group and there is a case for the editing of the original Award material to be at two levels, highly informative for the segment practitioners and a more readable version for the general business group.


How can this be made to work?

At the moment there is a lot of excitement and hype around each of the Awards that are focussed on very narrow targets, basically the select group of people or companies that enter.

There needs to be a broader approach to the promotion of the concept where a larger group of people are excited about the Awards, not because of the prestige of being one of the group of winners but because the result of the presentations will provide them with some very tangible benefits in the transfer of knowledge that the publishing and availability of the information will facilitate.

The government has a clear, stated policy of lifting all of people up intellectually and of providing the tools for them to create a better life for themselves and to help the country grow.

The transfer of knowledge in a field they are interested in, from people or companies that are leaders, not just in Fiji but in the world; is an invaluable tool in achieving that aim.

If the concept is to really work there is a need for a committed sponsorship, probably including a media organisation (or several media groups) that can ensure wide availability of the published material and the presence of a trusted and professional editing service that contributors rely on with the handling of their often sensitive information.

The publishing of Awards material has to have tangible benefits for the contributors and these benefits need to be widely promoted.

All this knowledge and information, currently painfully and expensively put together each year by Award entrants and then totally wasted due to limited access, has the potential to create a very creative, innovative and highly respected business class and make Fiji the hunting ground for executive placement worldwide.

But only if we do something about making it readily available.

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