The John Britten Black Pin is awarded to a designer for their leadership, vision and achievement in putting New Zealand on the global stage.

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The John Britten Black Pin is awarded to a designer for their leadership, their vision and their achievements putting New Zealand on the global stage.

30 years ago, a young graduate met a farming couple,  and fell in love with a Merino teeshirt.  Two years later he bought 50% of their company, became its CEO, and set about transforming the business of Ice Breaker into a globally successful brand.

By now, most of you will have guessed that our 2023 John Britten Black Pin recipient is the successful entrepreneur and tireless advocate for design – Jeremy Moon.

 Jeremy’s approach to transforming Icebreaker was a masterclass in creating a design-led enterprise. To craft a compelling narrative, he originally worked with Brian Richards, who recalls:

“Jeremy’s piercing questions never changed. I always loved the intellectual scrap we had each time we discussed the brand. No other client has challenged me to the same degree and each encounter saw each of us sizing the other up, dancing round the ring, fighting for our respective ideas.”

 The outcome was the cutting-edge Icebreaker brand with clear points of difference:

“They were plastic; we were natural. They were about sweaty men; we were gender inclusive. They were about hard adventure; we were about kinship with nature” Icebreaker was indeed….. breaking the ice.

 More recently Rob Fyfe, sums up his experience of working with Jeremy, which again I totally concur with:

“He is the most relentlessly curious person I have ever met. When others were reaching a point of intellectual exhaustion, he would just be gearing up!!”

 And now in his most recent reincarnation, Jeremy has again applied his design thinking to a whole new category, and entered the Pet Food market with Animals Like Us, for which my two dogs are deeply appreciative….yes, that’s a brand shout out!

 From early in this journey Jeremy began to have bigger and broader influence, beyond his own enterprise. As a brand-centric business leader, Jeremy was appointed to Chair Better by Design, which came out of the 2003 Success by Design Strategy, which was itself a child of the now famous Knowledge Wave conference in 2001.

From 2005 his energetic leadership delivered multiple inspirational CEO Summits; the Design Integration programme with teams of professional advisors coaching leaders to become design-led, and annual international  Study Tours – all aimed at creating consumer empathetic competitive advantage in global markets, and to create a community of design thinkers and practitioners in New Zealand. Through this leadership Jeremy has now bought design thinking from the edge of the paradigm to the centre, and design thinking is now ubiquitous across the New Zealand landscape.

Twenty years ago, the Designers Institute presented the Design in Business Award to Icebreaker. Tonight, we honour its leader who went on to enable many businesses in New Zealand to become Better by Design.

Jeremy Moon, the 2023 John Britten Black Pin recognises the value of your leadership, and the legacy you have left for your country, and your planet. You are indeed not just good for NZ, but good for the world.

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Speech as read by Pete Chrisp, CEO New Zealand Trade & Enterprise