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Hi all, we are in the final sprint for our Lab+ experiment in exploring new models of government service delivery on the back of "government as a platform". You can backread the journey to date using the LabPlus tag on this blog. This has been a short, sharp 12-week initiative and we'll be wrapping it up and writing it up by 30 June. Below is a status update and what we plan for the coming month. Make sure you come along to our weekly OpenLab before the end of June to hear more and chat to us :)


  • We have analysed the user research from a variety of government service design and delivery initiatives, and found some great work we could build upon. We'll blog some insights about that this week.
  • We have conducted our own independent user research using the "life event" lens to validate and test assumptions about government service design, and to explore the needs of users independent of any specific agency or even a government lens. This gave a lot of fascinating insights that, in combination with the previous research, is the backbone to our future state designs and experimentation.
  • We have started experimenting with what a public and machine readable register of human services might look like. To start with, we have drawn the Family Services Directory together into one machine readable file and published it on the test site for experimentation of a reusable services register as a prototype common service (thanks Ministry of Social Development!). We are working with some other life event service delivery teams who wish to reuse both this register and would also love a central government services register. We have mashed together several 'human services registers' we found just within the Department of Internal Affairs to get an experimental prototype for the purpose of testing. If it meets a need, it could be a candidate reusable component.


  • We are building four possible future states for service delivery, all based on user-centred design and research, but all giving us an opportunity to test a range of ideas and assumptions with people. See the last 3 slides in the original scope for the design and technical assumptions we are testing. Three of these will be wireframes and one will be a mockup implementation (so we can test assumptions about what would be required in the backend). We will have something to show you all soon, as well as follow-up analysis of what would be required to deliver such future states. We look forward to your testing and feedback of these ideas.
  • We'll be writing up a first draft how-to for building government as a platform for agencies based on our experiment in trying to design and build in this way. It will also talk about what government as a platform is explicitly not. For example, government as a platform is not just putting in place shared platforms or secure API gateways. The how-to will ideally be wrapped into the broader guidance for government once tested and improved upon.
  • We are doing two design sprints with another life event and an agency initiative. We'll ask our colleagues from the participating agencies to share their experiences in the coming weeks. These mini projects will be to test a different way of working across agencies to see what additional value arises.
  • We'll be providing some early analysis of the value proposition of "government as a platform", focusing on the potential value to people, government and non-government sectors.
  • We'll be showcasing the work of some previous service delivery teams to both celebrate their successes, and to draw lessons learned for moving forward.
  • Finally, we are collecting the user needs and functional requirements of the system for government as a platform. This includes internal surveying of service delivery teams and technology teams in government, but also a public industry and community user needs workshop next week. Space is limited but you can participate online as it will be live streamed for online contributions and discussion. Please RSVP through EventBrite.

We'll talk about next steps in a few weeks. Our immediate intention for this experiment was to test our assumptions about service integration, to explore some hypotheses including how government as a platform might work properly in practice, to explore what "good" could look like for people, government and industry/community, what would be needed to achieve that "goodness", and to explore new ways of working in government to design better services for Kiwis. We have made great progress on all fronts and we're looking forward to sharing outcomes and insights over the coming weeks.

Open Lab

And don't forget the Service Innovation Open Lab MeetUp every Friday from 4–5 pm at the Todd Building, 95 Customhouse Quay.

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.

Follow us on Twitter at @NZLifeEvents.

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