Better, faster, stronger government

A new accelerator programme supported by Victoria Business School is helping put Wellington on the world map for government innovation.

The programme—Lightning Lab GovTech—developed by Wellington innovation hub Creative HQ and based on the methodologies used in their successful series of business accelerator programmes, provides a platform for selected teams to create ‘better, faster, and stronger government’.

Launched earlier this year, GovTech’s first cohort brings together 12 teams from central and local New Zealand government, the public and private sectors, and an international team from Taiwan Water Board, to design, develop, and test new approaches and technologies to improve government, civic, and social systems. Creative HQ head of acceleration Brett Holland says the innovations have the potential to be picked up by similar programmes and agencies overseas, “allowing Wellington, and by extension New Zealand, to become a global hub of government innovation”.

Recognising the programme’s potential, major sponsors Spark and Revera have committed to support the programme for three years.

Victoria Business School’s director of entrepreneurship Professor Stephen Cummings says it’s exciting for the School to lend its expertise to the venture.

“Our researchers and students can help provide insights around effective innovation and entrepreneurship in the civic sector.

“This is one of the first entrepreneurial incubators applied to civic enterprise and, as such, it’s already attracting international interest. One of the key issues of interest is around how to gauge the success of entrepreneurial ventures that can’t just be measured in traditional financial terms.”

The innovations to spring out of the programme should create real and positive changes, but Stephen says there are other flow-on effects.

“GovTech will also contribute to upskilling, training, and educating local entrepreneurial talent in the Wellington ecosystem and provide us with the opportunity to contribute to international scholarship in this under-researched area.”