Lab+: storming and forming

In the last week, the Lab+ team* has rapidly undergone storming and forming, bringing together enthusiastic experts from across government to work on a new way of delivering government services. We are creating a purposefully diverse group of design, architect/technical, content, domain experience, engagement and user researchers, and we will introduce the team here on the blog in a few days.

Part of the broader Lab experiment is to baseline your team so you can assess progress of the team and identify areas for coaching and support. Our team underwent our first assessment and it was really helpful to get the whole team to look at how well we are working, what we can improve, and ensure everyone is on the same page.

Meanwhile, we are also finalising our approach for the 10 weeks, the stakeholder and user mapping (including system users as well as end users) and what the specific outcomes of the work program will be. The primary focus as mentioned last post, is to explore what integrated services could look like, including the possibility of an operating model change for government wherein it provides the “platform” upon which both government, industry, NGOs and others can build a range of services, products and analysis to serve the needs of the community. Obviously this is a vision driven by the two key ideas of user-centred service design and consumable federated government services. We will be taking an agile approach to our work, including discovery for two candidate life events, with one progressing to an alpha service for New Zealanders. Below is what we hope to deliver and your feedback would be very welcome. We will blog out research, analysis, designs, code and insights as we go:

Tangible outcomes

Service design and user research on two candidate life events/services, including:

  • stakeholder and user analysis
  • user-journey mapping
  • early design on a potential future state for the life event unbound by system constraints or silos
  • a first version alpha service for one of the life events
  • a service register and finder to make it easier to find services both programmatically (through a data API, likely on data.govt.nz) and through a user interface on the alpha service.

Documentation outcomes

  • Explanatory documentation — to explain the outcomes, the future state prototype including an architectural analysis of the future state, what components/assumptions, implementation information, functional requirements for core all of government systems.
  • Service Innovation Toolkit — tools and methods used, lessons learned and other support for service delivery teams.
  • All user research analysis — all artefacts, mappings, analysis, composite views of the life events, and analysis of work to date and identifying areas of cross over or gaps in service delivery for users.
  • Costs/benefits analysis of Lab+ — finally we will analyse the cost effectiveness of this approach in building new services.

Finally, as we set up it is always worthwhile ensuring you have the right culture in your team. Luckily we are working within the Lab which provides a useful framework to get us all in the right headspace quickly to get things done! Below are the Lab principles we have committed to as a team, which we think you will agree are a great basis for our ambitious experiment.

Lab principles

  1. Uniting to meet user needs
  2. Doing the hard things to make it easy
  3. Learning and improving rapidly
  4. Openly showing and talking about our work
  5. Proving value or stopping
  6. Focussing on what makes the greatest impact
  7. Building for reuse and openness
  8. Accepting help and challenge

We agreed to apply all principles in our work, and that realistically at this early stage, that we are strongly applying the first four right now. We are building a strongly evidence based approach into our roadmap which will support the next two principles and will certainly ensure anything we build will be done openly and explicitly for reuse. Finally we want people to challenge, engage and contribute to the work, and we will seek expertise and support as we need it.

Hopefully we will see some of you at the first Open Lab meet-up this Friday, but it will happen every week so come along whenever you can!


* Lab+ is housed in the Service Innovation Lab, which is an experiment carried out under the leadership of the ICT Partnership Framework’s (external site link)3 Service Innovation Group (external site link)4.  It's managed by the Service Innovation Team in Department of Internal Affairs (external site link)5 (DIA) in partnership with Assurity Consulting.

Check out some background at week 1 of the Lab+ work.

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