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Helping those that need help the most

We too were a small band of merry misfits, tasked with expanding the service offering of the cross-agency juggernaut/success story that is SmartStart as part of a design sprint.

Our team involved members from Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) and Inland Revenue (IR). We were guided along the sprint process by Creative HQ, who persevered with us while we struggled with defining problems, creating solutions, and generally pushing boundaries!

The sprint breakdown



Our approach

The first step was to understand the information that we currently had around parents and in particular those in our target group.

We then used that information to brainstorm and create ideas. This was interesting as we all had different ideas and opinions as to what the right path was. It seems that’s the benefit of the Sprint approach – bringing together a range of opinions, thoughts and experiences to create something beneficial for users.

These ideas were then refined and honed into one beautiful, working prototype that could be tested with customers.

Our concept

Customer testing

While there was definitely a point of discomfort in terms of personal information, the team was quite surprised that it was not at the point we thought it would be. In other words, people are more than happy to share quite a lot of information with government – and expect that government will share that information amongst itself.

At the end of the week we felt we had a robust product to take back to the SmartStart team and had answered some fundamental questions, including:

  • Are people are happy to share information with government?
  • Do people care about how and where their information is shared within government?
  • Do customers see value in being able to only provide information once, to be used (if required) across multiple applications?
  • What format of information do people respond to, and how can we help them feel more engaged and in control of their decisions?

What did the team think of the process?


Beth: “I enjoyed the process – it challenged some of my ideas a lot. We achieved a great result – and it’s good to see that you can get those results in a short time frame. It was a valuable experience for all of us, I think, and cemented the fact for me that anything we do in government must be co-designed with users to give maximum benefits.”

Indi: “The entire sprint was a great learning opportunity, it’s amazing how much can be done in a week; we were able to research, sketch, prototype and test a new product. I found it really interesting that certain questions raised red flags for customers. This highlighted the need to ensure that the service explains clearly why questions are being asked and what customer information will be used for."

Lab+ is housed in the Service Innovation Lab, which is an experiment carried out under the leadership of the ICT Partnership Framework’s Service Innovation Group. It's managed by the Service Innovation Team in Department of Internal Affairs in partnership with Assurity Consulting.

Check out earlier blog posts about Lab+ and the Service Innovation Lab.

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