Our values and principles

Our team’s core values are:
Transparency, integrity, evidence-based, humility, openness, empathy, celebrate successes, share our failures, embrace complexity, empower others and harness creativity.

Our goal:
Co-design better digital experiences between people and the New Zealand government. We use evidence based approaches to explore, prove and test new ideas. Create a culture of experimentation and adaptivity - contribute to bigger change/movement.

Our principles:

  • Uniting to meet user needs
  • Doing the hard things to make it easy
  • Learning and improving rapidly
  • Openly showing and sharing our work
  • Proving value…and being prepared to stop when we don’t
  • Focusing on what makes the greatest impact
  • Building for reuse and openness
  • Accepting help and be up for a challenge
  • Act as a catalyst for change by empowering others

How we will work with you

  • Plan the approach based on your requirements and outcomes to ensure a best fit.
  • Provide our design expertise - creative spaces to collaborate within our lab environment, design resources and innovation frameworks.
  • Help you to create a cross-agency, multi-disciplinary team (with your stakeholders) that can work with us in the way needed.
  • Help you take advantage of rapid development environments. This will enable easier collaboration and an easier transition of ownership to agencies where required.
  • Ensure your IP is reusable; what is learnt by the team stays with your team. We’re big on building the capability of teams across the public service.
  • Share the work we are involved with by openly publishing the insights, methods, tools and code.
  • Provide a support team of technical experts and people with connections across industry and agencies. This encourages collaboration and helps alignment with other projects.
  • Provide some post-service support and advice for the work started with us.
  • Offer a range of services that cater to the design and delivery of services eg discoveries, alpha, beta reusable components.

Our services

Foundation services

These services are collaborative. We complement our cross functional team with your team and stakeholders. They are co-located together to explore the problem and understand people’s experiences. From this we can identify opportunities for integration with digital services. This is a good chance to quickly, simply (and cheaply) explore an issue.

Scoping (aka Pre-discovery)

Scoping works through framing and scoping to explore and seek insights about the user experience, the eco-system in which they have to navigate. It helps us to understand the intent of the challenge and define problem space, our approach, resources required, customer and SME engagement etc. Depending on complexity and previous knowledge it could be from 1 - 4 weeks eg Example: the TEC led Entering Tertiary life event ran over four weeks.


Discovery is an evidence led process to identify potential changes that will benefit customers. This involves a deep dive on a specific opportunity by looking at the problems customers are facing, analysis of the causes behind these problems, hypothesis led validation to test assumptions and ideation and prototyping to develop a range of change concepts that could help users. Depending on the work, it could be run over a 2-6 week sprint. Example: Improving the user experience for Rates Rebates.


Alpha is a design process that takes a Minimum Viable Product approach to test the feasibility of idea or concept. This is often run over a 4-8 week sprint. Example: Improving the user experience for Rates Rebates. We can go straight to Alpha as Explore/Discovery does not need to be done by Lab Plus, so long as the methods are consistent with our service design principles and approach. If going straight to Alpha, we need a bridging week to bring the team up to speed with previous work.

Beta - Reusable components services

When helping design and build new services, we identify potential reusable components that could be used by third parties or agencies. Current examples include a government services register and API (Application Programmable Interface) enabled entitlement business rules, which would be used by several “life event services” as well as 3rd parties.

Support services

Innovation toolkit

An important need for improving service delivery across government is access to consistent guidance, tools and support services. We’re continuing to develop a Service Innovation Toolkit to support this, such as mechanisms for customer research or code development. This will be openly available for teams to use.

Service analytics evidence base

The LabPlus team identified early the need to have an all of government view of services. As such, we are exploring the possibility of an integrated service analytics resource. The idea is to bring together data like deidentified web analytics, transactional service logs, helpdesk/telephony statistics to get a better picture of the experience people have with government across all channels. This is in early discovery at the moment with a prototype due early 2018 dependant on agency input.

Being a connector

In addition to connections within central and local government, our team has connections across business and non-profit organisations. We will work with third parties that are naturally motivated to deliver services on the back of government information and build on the functionality for customers. This model is referred to as Government as a Platform. We’ll help connect your organisation with
third parties to explore the opportunity of your services and promote the reusable components.

Strategic advice

Our team has significant experience with designing, developing and supporting digital services. We have worldwide recognised thought leaders in digital government involved and leading our team. Using this expertise, we’ll work with you to help you identify strategic opportunities within your organisation.

What you need to be aware of as a lead agency working with us?

  • Although we will provide the place, people, and expertise within the Lab environment, we will require yout people participate in a core team to do the work. You’ll need to free up 3-4 people from the most relevant stakeholder groups involved with user interactions.
  • The teams should include a combination of service designers, user researchers and subject matter experts (including technology). They should be open to new ideas, ways of working, challenging assumptions, naturally motivated to solve the problem and be customer centric. Ideally, they will be available for 100% of the time, but not less than 80%. We’ll work with you to manage expectations if time constraints are an issue.
  • Lead agencies will only have to provide people and we will handle the incidental costs like travel for this work. We do not have a huge budget per life event, but we have enough to cover some travel, logistics, vouchers for user research and a few others things as required. We’ll will work with you to ensure you get the most from the time, investment and expertise involved.
  • Agencies will be responsible for relationship management with their stakeholders, including organising subject matter experts and appropriate partner organisations into being involved. For instance, the TEC representative coordinated the appropriate people from TEC, CareersNZ, IRD, NZQA, MoE, various tertiary entities and others as was appropriate to the Entering Tertiary life event Scoping.
  • Lead Agencies remain in control with full responsibility for their life events and proactive entitlements. You remain responsible for what you choose to progress on the back of scoping, discovery and alpha work created collaboratively in the Lab.