Josh Hobbs

Josh is a fine example of kiwi ingenuity. His journey is one that started out at sea and through his pure fascination for technology, along with an inbuilt desire to do good for others, he’s been brought back to shore to help look after the whenua he loves.

Born and bred in Tauranga, Josh started his career out as a chef in the Royal New Zealand Navy and this gave him the opportunity to widen his world. In his travels and shore leave days, his eyes were opened to technological innovations in places like Singapore and Dubai. But when he returned home to Aotearoa, New Zealand, he saw a place that felt a little behind the technology times.

This realisation sparked an interest in technology and what he could see it enabled – innovative thinking, problem solving and furthering business. This was the turning point for Josh that moved him away from working at sea and into IT – and he landed his first roles in business development for telecommunications companies like OneCall and Spark New Zealand.

After a number of years working in the IT space, Josh experienced a personal tragedy that shifted his focus away from supporting and developing existing technology, and towards innovating and creating new solutions. A friend was killed in a workplace accident and for Josh, a father to a blended family of six kids, this tragedy really struck home. He decided he wanted to create solutions that help people to be safer, everyday.

That’s when Josh found the Master of Technological Futures programme and set his sights on finding a way to make a difference. Not being a traditionally trained engineer, but yet someone with insight into technical solutions, Josh was able to approach problem solving from a human focused point of view and avoid getting too hung up on the technology tools. With his mission of safety first always in mind and through a human centric design methodology, he developed his Master’s project – a road inspection technology that uses captured images and machine learning to assess and prioritise defects for maintenance.

Fast forward to the present, a graduate of the Master of Technological Futures, Josh is now the Innovation Ventures Lead at CCL, a technology transformation business that’s part of the Spark New Zealand Group. Josh’s colleagues often joke how he’s managed to carve himself out a totally new role for himself, one where he gets to work on the leading edge of machine learning tech delivering solutions that provide real social and business outcomes. Watch this space for more, Josh is definitely someone who’s got a million ideas on the boil and with his human centric approach, we’ll certainly see many come to fruition.

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