New innovation partnership to help improve New Zealanders’ lives

New Zealanders are set to benefit from a new partnership that will help government agencies devise innovative solutions to important issues, such as housing inequality, clean water and sanitation, as well as health and wellbeing.

The three-year sponsorship deal between Wellington-based innovation hub Creative HQ and the Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund will allow Creative HQ to support teams of public sector innovators through the NZ GovTech Accelerator programme. This gives participants the confidence and leadership skills to tackle local, national and global problems.

Head of GovTech Jonnie Haddon says their mission is “to make the Wellington region and the country well known for having a trusted and inclusive public sector.

“The accelerator is a 13-week government innovation programme that takes place annually in Wellington. The programme aims to solve root-cause problems, facilitate collaboration, and upskill participants – driving better outcomes for citizens,” Mr. Haddon says.

“We’ve seen New Zealand enhance its performance globally in this area, and we want to be seen as world leaders in the years ahead.

“You can spend your way out of recession, but you need to innovate your way out of a pandemic.

“The GovTech Accelerator programme is ideal for entrepreneurs, leaders and changemakers in government agencies looking to identify the problems that need solving and to use creativity and technology to solve them. We take projects and staff from government agencies and apply proven innovation methodology to create solutions that best meet the needs of citizens.”

Now in its fourth year, the GovTech team has worked on 30 projects, of which 19 are still active and 13 have received specific funding. Successful past projects range from trialling a new local currency in Cannons Creek in Porirua to help improve community wellbeing, to harnessing social media to allow Kiwi youth to communicate their ideas and desires directly with policymakers.

Westpac NZ Government Innovation Fund Director Simon Rogerson says the partnership with Creative HQ will ultimately help empower employers and Kiwi communities to improve their wellbeing, productivity and much more.

“The Innovation Fund works with government agencies and other sectors not just to solve problems but to uncover opportunities, so partnering with Creative HQ feels like a perfect fit for both organisations,” Mr. Rogerson says.

“Creative HQ has already supported dozens of projects that have brought real benefits to everyday New Zealanders, and we’re delighted to stand alongside them as they help innovators take on the challenges of the future.

The GovTech programme has also been opened up internationally, with teams from Australia and the Philippines considering joining this year’s programme.

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