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Inaugural Lightning Lab GovTech Demo Day deemed huge success

New tech and entrepreneurial thinking is looking to save albatross from extinction, giving Kiwis a blockchain-based digital identity, and humanising the way agencies prevent and respond to family violence in Aotearoa.

These were just a few of the problems being addressed by 12 teams from local, central and international government agencies participating in Creative HQ's Lightning Lab GovTech accelerator which held its inaugural Demo Day event to a full house at Wellington's Embassy Theatre on Tuesday.

Lightning Lab GovTech provides an opportunity for local and central government agencies from NZ and abroad to tackle problems using proven innovation frameworks, methodologies and support. The teams not only work on co-creating breakthrough innovation, they learn new ways of tackling problems, which is needed to drive a culture change across the public sector.

This year the teams worked on 12 projects chosen from over 60 that were nominated for the programme by local, central and international government.

EARS, the Electronic Automated Reporting System created by team ‘Safer Seas for Albatross’, took home the CISCO People’s Choice award for their innovative measurement system designed to reduce bycatch mortality of the Antipodean Albatross with the goal of stopping or reversing the current decline. The team, made up of Sally Hett, Paul ‘Scratch’ Jansen and Nathan Walker, are creating a product that incentivises fishing companies to better understand their fisherman's catch while also ensuring it is caught in a sustainable way..

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester opened the evening describing Wellington as an innovative, creative capital that is ready to embrace and grow the GovTech sector.

Speaking halfway through the event Minister David Parker remarked on the outstanding cohort of projects and cancelled his afternoon’s plans to to stay and watch the rest of the teams pitch.

Jonnie Haddon, Programme Director of Lightning Lab GovTech, says “the programme tackles government problems through rethinking service design, but was about so much more. It is about completely redesigning the way in which government serves and empowering the people doing it with new skills and ways of thinking.”

Stefan Korn, CEO of Creative HQ, says the need for smarter problem-solving in the public sector has never been higher. “Now more than ever, the government needs to harness the power of innovation and technology. Local and central governments around the world are being held to higher account by their stakeholders, who are more engaged and connected to the world around them.”


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