Global Govtech Accelerator to Drive Public Sector Innovation
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 $400bn.
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 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 incredible mix of public sector and creative talents that have
allowed us to become one of the most respected governments in the world.
David Jones, WREDA’s General Manager, Business Growth and Innovation 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 forwards. 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 Brett Holland, Creative HQ’s Head of Acceleration. “We will be
working closely with government agencies to continue NZ’s GovTech success story and NZ’s digital government
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. Creative HQ have been our delivery partner for the Accelerator programmes, bringing
their deep experience with Lightning Lab into the GovTech space,” says Lisa Casagranda, Director of Better for Business.
“The Better for Business programme will continue to identify opportunities to improve the business customer experience
with government further. It’s time for the next evolutionary step in New Zealand’s GovTech space, and we support
Creative HQ’s launch of the Lightning Lab GovTech accelerator”.
From the R9 accelerator, Creative HQ was invited to speak at the World Bank’s Global Innovation Forum, after being
called one of GovTech’s most innovative programmes. The World Bank recognised the R9 Accelerator as a great example of
public/private collaboration with an effective procurement practice and scalable and repeatable model across sectors.
Lightning Lab GovTech will also be supported by Victoria, University of Wellington who will conduct several research
studies wrapped around the Lightning Lab GovTech accelerator. Professor Ian Williamson, who is Pro-Vice-Chancellor and
Dean of Commerce at Victoria Business School says of the partnership:
“Victoria is excited to partner with Creative HQ in this initiative, which has real potential to boost Wellington’s
growing international reputation as a hotspot for innovation. Victoria Business School in particular, has proven
expertise in building entrepreneurial talent and a focus on increasing the quality and impact of the entrepreneurial
programmes. We’re looking forward to providing new research opportunities for our students and academics, and contribute
to the success of local innovators in acceleration programmes.”
The programme will cement Wellington’s position as leaders of the GovTech space globally with a view to transforming the
way government’s work digitally.
Creative HQ is a wholly-owned subsidiary of WREDA, Wellington’s Regional Economic Development Agency. We help people
unleash their inner entrepreneur.
WHAT IS LIGHTNING LAB?
Lightning Lab is New Zealand’s premier business acceleration programme. Lightning Lab gives young ventures access to
some of the world’s top coaches, mentors and business minds. Ventures get a period of intense, focused attention that
will provide them with the opportunity to learn at a rapid pace. Lightning Lab has been running since 2013.