Learning by doing: skills developed through the GovTech Accelerator - GovTech Accelerator
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Learning by doing: skills developed through the GovTech Accelerator

“Learning the GovTech design process and building my expertise in government digital services has helped equip me for success in my new role at MSD.” 

A lot can happen in six months. 

Holly Grover, an integral member of the DIA My Info My Way 2019 GovTech team, has since got a new role at the Ministry of Social Development and won the NZ Hackathon ‘Hack the Crisis’ against 50+ teams. 

We spoke to Holly about how the skills developed through the GovTech Accelerator helped her achieve these milestones. 

Negotiation and prioritisation

Accelerators are challenging, fast-paced environments by nature. Holly thrived in the GovTech Accelerator, finding opportunity in each new tool, skill and sprint. One of the most useful skills has been the negotiation skills, taught by negotiation expert Stuart Van Rij. He helped the team learn how to execute high stakes conversations, navigate contrasting opinions within groups, and how to manage complex stakeholder requirements.  

Holly said the programme taught her the importance of prioritisation, saying, “I learnt to identify when to pivot, how and when to say no tactfully – or not yet – and how to prioritise the most important tasks and challenges when progressing quickly.” 

Articulating complex ideas clearly

The GovTech accelerator culminates with a Demo Day pitch in front of 600+ people, including Ministers and CEs. The ability to articulate a complex idea clearly through the pitch presentation set Holly up with the skills to work with her team to deliver the first place earning pitch in the ‘Hack the Crisis’ NZ (facilitated by Creative HQ) for her team’s project DrawThis!  DrawThis! connects older and younger people through audio descriptions and Art, fostering connections that were potentially hindered by the shift to Covid-19 Level 4. In just 48 hours, the Draw This! team created, tested and validated their solution, receiving positive feedback from both young and elderly people. Understanding the problem, through learning from those who experience it, helped them build a fit-for-purpose solution. 

“As well as the overall process, there are so many small tips I learnt along the way – like adding that single, ‘so what?’ line in a presentation to reiterate the message and address audience concerns head-on.”

Holly is now on the digital frontline of government services, as a Product Owner for MyMSD, an online platform that New Zealanders use to access MSD services.  

Holly’s experience is not unique. When participants return to their agencies, their growth is apparent to their managers. 

“The opportunity to have someone from the team doing something like that – something new and exciting – I couldn’t buy that. It was fantastic, they grew a lot and brought that back into the organisation. Incredibly valuable.”   Dr Ang Jury, Women’s Refuge Chief Executive

If you’re interested in being part of the NZ GovTech 2020 cohort, get in touch today. 

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