In 2019, Michael was accepted as an Edmund Hillary Fellow. This lifelong fellowship brings world-class entrepreneurs and investors together in New Zealand to catalyse positive change. To Michael, becoming an EHF fellow is an important step in his mission to address our planet’s mounting environmental challenges by empowering educational pathways and innovation in environmental restoration technology.
Journey into Aotearoa
Michael first visited New Zealand as a speaker and consultant in 2007, when he was invited to consult with art and creativity school The Learning Connexion, where he designed and built out their 3D sculpture facilities. He continues as an organizational development consultant for the school today, and returns frequently to New Zealand as a speaker, consultant, and teacher.
Through his various speaking engagements in New Zealand, Michael connected with Tuia Innovation, a development and diversification agency focused on the Māori economy and Aotearoa’s natural resources. Today, he considers himself fortunate to remain under the group’s esteemed mentorship.
In 2018 Michael was invited to work with New Zealand’s Callaghan Innovation, a government-led development agency activating entrepreneurial innovation through a range of R&D services. There, he began as an organizational development consultant, and helped design the agency’s advanced fabrication facility’s redesign.
In collaboration with Callaghan Innovation, Michael has been traveling the globe researching, interviewing, and building case studies on critical success factors that establish innovation districts. He has visited thriving innovation quarters throughout Europe, Asia, and the Americas, where government, business, universities, and community work together to foster innovation.
Michael’s research and recommendations will inform the development of Callaghan Innovation’s Gracefield Innovation Quarter. This district will offer New Zealand’s top scientists, engineers and researchers the modern facilities needed to help transform the country’s economy to become more productive, sustainable, and focused on growing R&D.
The Edmund Hillary Fellowship
Michael applied and was selected for the internationally celebrated Edmund Hillary Fellowship. As a fellow, Michael will now formally focus on his vision to reverse worldwide environmental degradation by empowering innovation in restoration technology.
He is now striving to create an accessible innovation center where happy accidents arise from the intersection of education, technology, science, and indigenous wisdom. This project will position New Zealand to lead the world in education and innovation around environmental restoration technology, by establishing world-class yet accessible education and innovation centers. In his vision, these centers will foster the development of people, ideas, products, and materials that New Zealand will export to the rest of the world, and ultimately save the planet.
Michael’s vision will culminate in one such center, Indigeny; an open-source innovation incubator, blending the best of technology with indigenous wisdom to focus solely on the reversal of the devastating effects of humanity on our planet.