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GovTech accelerator invites startups to disrupt the public sector

17 Jan 2018

The challenges facing governments around the world have never been more significant.

Problems like global warming, cybersecurity and privacy are “big-picture” problems, but there are also the day-to-day challenges of digital transformation, citizen-centric government and participatory democracy that are faced by agencies in most countries.

These challenges create a big market opportunity.

During a recent visit to Wellington, Silicon Valley-based venture capitalists Steve Mellor and Larry Howell estimated the global “GovTech” market (technology and innovation for governments) at $400billion.

With a passion for civic engagement, innovation management and strong expertise in public sector innovation, Creative HQ will take “GovTech” to a new level in Wellington in 2018.

With partners the Wellington Regional Economic Development Agency (WREDA), Victoria University of Wellington and various government agencies, the Lightning Lab GovTech accelerator will launch in mid-2018 with a cohort of up to 10 local and international teams working on revolutionising the public sector.

Lightning Lab GovTech provides a structured and methodology-based experimentation environment for rapid innovation in the public sector with the aim to deliver seamless digital public services that delight consumers.

Building on Creative HQ’s experience as a delivery partner for the R9 Accelerator within the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Creative HQ will engage national and international agencies to put together teams for the GovTech accelerator next year.

The programme will be run in Wellington, giving national teams a strong connection to government and international teams will have the benefit of experiencing Wellington’s mix of public sector and creative talents.

WREDA business growth and innovation general manager David Jones says, “As New Zealand’s tech capital, home to both government and the country’s most innovative digital businesses, Wellington is the ideal centre for driving the leading edge of GovTech forward.

“One of the newest and most wide-open fields of tech application, government represents a tremendous opportunity. In partnership with both national and local government, participants in the new Lightning Lab GovTech accelerator will gain from Creative HQ’s expertise as they create solutions to improve the frontline performance of government agencies around the world.”

“We’re building on a three-year legacy and experience with the R9 Accelerator where we worked with agencies like NZ Customs, Stats NZ, Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Education on solutions that make a difference to both NZ businesses and the lives of our citizens,” says Creative HQ acceleration head Brett Holland.

“We will be working closely with government agencies to continue NZ’s GovTech success story and NZ’s digital government transformation”.

The Better for Business R9 Accelerator has been a strong advocate for bringing the public and private sectors together to improve interactions with government and develop new ways of working together.  

As one of the first GovTech Accelerators in the world, it has brought together entrepreneurs and public sector employees to test, prototype and develop solutions using LEAN and Agile principles.

“During the three R9 Accelerator programmes, over 25 teams have developed some innovative solutions to problems identified by government agencies,” says Lisa Casagranda, Better for Business director.

“Creative HQ have been our delivery partner for the Accelerator programmes, bringing their deep experience with Lightning Lab into the GovTech space.”

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