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Rights: © Copyright 2013. University of Waikato. All rights reserved.
Published 24 September 2013
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Innovation draws on a broad range of personal skills and attributes. Fabien Maisonneuve of Zealong discusses how persistence and a strong belief in his product helped Zealong’s founder Vincent Chen achieve success in the market. 

Thinking deeper:

  • Explore other Innovation stories to find other examples of where persistence has been an important personal attribute in innovation.
  • Have students consider what sort of school and life experiences may help individuals to develop persistence.

Transcript

Fabien Masionneuve:

I think a good innovator should have a strong belief in what they’re doing because they will certainly have to overcome a lot of issues on the way. It’s always going to be easier to try and replicate what the competition does if what they’re doing is successful – I might just do the same and hope to hit the same markets. But it’s much more interesting to try and think outside the box and have a strong belief in what will be good for your customers, knowing what they want, what they demand and really be persistent about it.

I think Vincent Chen’s story is about persistence. He’s met a lot of difficulties along the way from 1996, the initial dream, all the way up to 2009, the first commercial export. They had to go through Custom issues, immigration law issues, growing organically, getting ISO 22000 certified. It’s 12, even 15 years of extra work that you might not have had to do if you maybe just grew tea anywhere else where it’s already a given.

But I think now overseas, people see the difference. You’ve got Chinese tea and you’ve got New Zealand tea, and your New Zealand tea is organic and ISO 22000 certified – it certainly makes a difference in people’s mind. They know that their tea is safe to drink, they know what’s in it, they know what is not in it. And if they’re not sure, they can just ask us – we can trace it all the way back to the block it was picked from.

Acknowledgements:
Fabien Masionneuve, Vincent Chen & Feng Lin, Zealong Tea
Camellia Tea House