Built To Give Back

5-mins with Alex Hannant

5mins with_Alex Hannant

What gets you up in the morning?

Usually the cat and Morning Report… 

What keeps you awake at night?

Keeping track of various work streams and competing demands.Questioning whether we’re doing our job as well as we could / should be doing it. 

Tell us about your favourite place in NZ

Tricky question, just too many places! I’m going to cheat here and have a few. First, Mount Victoria in hometown Wellington - a majestic and tranquil spot with an awesome 360 degree view of the city. Second, Banks Peninsula - I love driving over the hill (the view is breath-taking) and have a huge soft spot for Akaroa's waterfront cafes and restaurants. Hahei - best beach in the world. Duke of Marlborough in Russell - one of the best pubs in the world. Central Otago - enough said.

What’s your signature meal?


What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry so much, back yourself more, stand-up to bullies,and learn Mandarin. Be kind, honest, and curious.

What challenges do you think NZ is facing? 

The hollowing out of the regions and a two-track economy which is creating very different life experiences for New Zealanders. I think this is a trend disrupting societies and communities all around the world as technology and globalisation create huge opportunities for some and profound challenges for others. How we create new economic models and provide access to opportunity will be key to balancing increasing inequalities. I see our working in supporting innovation and social enterprise as a key part off this.

Also climate change or the downstream effects of climate impacts concern me deeply - food systems, water systems, trade, migration, livelihoods- any sober look at the way the world works reveals an interconnected system highly dependent on a benign and regulated natural environment.  

I fully get why we don’t get our collective heads around this on a day-by-day basis but it’s maddening that we’re prepared to expose ourselves to such big risks when we’ve got it so good. Innovating through these risks is probably the only way we’ll get on top of them, so enabling and investing in innovation (at all levels) is a top-ranking priority. 

Lastly, I think there’s something about how we maintain our identity and values in a world with increasingly characterised by information overload, rapid change, high expectations, and homogenised thinking and experiences. Holding on to who we are and standing up for the things we really believe in will define our future success as a nation.          

New Zealand is full of incredible businesses that give back to their communities and inspiring people that make it happen. Read more about these cool people in Built to Give Back.