Wellington-based innovation specialists Creative HQ relaunch their NZ GovTech Accelerator (formerly Lightning Lab GovTech) into the post-COVID world to support public sector projects as they deliver services for citizens.
Programme Director Jonnie Haddon says, “throughout the pandemic, the New Zealand Government has shown how innovative it can be, proactively and creatively adapting to new challenges – but New Zealanders are still coming to terms with the way the pandemic has fundamentally changed ways of living and working. New Zealand’s combined response has highlighted the importance of embedding innovation into everyday working, and the potential for reshaping how the public sector delivers services to citizens is immense.”
Now in its third year, the NZ GovTech Accelerator alongside the participating agencies has returned to focus on just that – embedding innovation capability within agencies to drive better and more people-focused government services.
The programme, delivered in partnership with Spark NZ and WellingtonNZ, has evolved to become a hybrid in-person and virtual version of the previous programmes to accommodate the need for flexibility the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted.
In previous years, the GovTech Accelerator has worked to create solutions to; develop financial capability (Spring), improve outcomes for seabirds (EARS), and reduce water loss from leakages (Taiwan Water Saviours). Quickly becoming a crucial component of enacting swift and meaningful change in New Zealand’s public sector. Of its 22 previous projects, the GovTech Accelerator has 13 projects currently active, 10 with specific funding allocated, 13 with insights being incorporated into their sponsor agency and seven projects active across multiple agencies.
When speaking of the previous programmes, Paul James – Chief Executive DIA and Government Chief Digital Officer – said, “You can see the innovation potential that has been brought to life by the process that the teams have gone through.”
This year the NZ GovTech Accelerator 2020 programme has welcomed eight projects, from local and central government agencies:
- Greater Wellington Regional Council: Water that Counts – Exploring the development of a management and sharing system for freshwater data in the Wellington Region.
- Kainga Ora: Building community at Grey’s Ave – Conceptualising how to successfully develop a connected, strong, thriving and inclusive community centred around the Grey’s Ave development in Central Auckland.
- Land Information New Zealand & PGF partners: 3D Mapping Aotearoa – Exploring how to better support new regional applications of elevation (LiDAR) data to improve regional economic, social and environmental outcomes.
- Wellington City Council: One Wellington – Creating an effective Council personal business communication channel to citizens.
- The DAO.Agency: The Wellbeing Protocol – Empowering communities through token economics
- Squawk Squad (sponsored by Spark) – Looking to create a sustainable financial model for their education platform that aligns with key government environmental objectives.
- Councils from the Wellington region: Procurement for Impact – Exploring how our
- regional councils and other partners’, regional procurement approaches, can be augmented and changed, for the better.
- Creative HQ: NZ Innovation Barometer – Ensuring the Innovation Barometer meets the needs of Senior Leaders, the team will test the data collection process and iteratively build a digitally interactive Product that visualises the data.
Programme Director Jonnie Haddon said ‘”We have a really interesting group of projects this year who collectively can reshape areas of our lives in the years to come. The process that they will go through accelerates the learning of the problem (and therefore the solution) in a way that is hard to do inside government. It’s a process that de-risks innovation, while best meeting citizens’ needs.”
The programme will run for 12 weeks, until December 2020, with projects set to be pitched at Parliament on 3 December.