Minister for Government Digital Services Visits the Lab

Karl McDiarmid, General Manager of Service Innovation at the Department of Internal Affairs, describes a recent visit from the Minister of Government Digital Services to the Service Innovation Lab.

The Hon Clare Curran, Minister for Government Digital Services visited the Service Innovation Lab on 13 December. Hosted by Colin MacDonald, the Government Chief Digital Officer, the purpose of the visit was to share with the Minister how the Lab fits into digital government transformation and to show her some of the cross-agency initiatives currently underway. [For background on the Service Innovation Lab, see this blog post.]

You can watch video highlights from the Minister’s visit here.

The visit involved people from across government and also from external organisations. NZ Police talked with Minister Curran about some of the ways we’re working together to improve services for citizens who are victims of crime (the Victims of Crime Life Event); the Tertiary Education Commission talked about the work they’re doing to improve the experience of students entering tertiary education; and the Citizens Advice Bureau presented the work they’re doing on redeveloping their IT platform. Currently the Citizens Advice Bureau handles more than 520,000 client interactions in person and the website receives 3 million+ page views per year.

The Minister also got to hear from the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) on a range of initiatives, including:

  • digital democracy, helping people participate in government decision-making, better than they can now [see the recent blog post on Reimagining participatory democracy.]
  • the Rates Rebate project which is in the early stages of exploring how this subsidy can be better provided to citizens; and
  • ‘common components’ which are like building blocks for better service development. A good example of this is a service locator which will help citizens find services in their area. This component will be used initially in SmartStart and will then be made available for wider use.

A highlight for the teams involved in the visit was the opportunity to not only share their work, but to talk with the Minister about what they were doing.

“I want to encourage more ideas, more new thinking and the ability for people working in the government space to talk to people like me who get to make decisions. I’m trying to create opportunities for that to happen better, no one has all the answers, we need to work with others. Thank you for the good work you’re doing.”  – Hon Clare Curran


The Service Innovation Lab 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 DIA in partnership with Assurity Consulting. It's part of the cross-agency work being done to achieve to deliver the Service Innovation Work Programme outcome that "People have easy access to public services, which are designed around them, when they need them".

The Lab will continue to run in 2018, providing a neutral space for agencies and organisations to come together to develop public services that are inclusive, trusted and designed by New Zealanders for New Zealanders.

The Lab will move from its current location in the Todd Building Customhouse Quay to 79 Boulcott St and will formally open at the new premises on 23 January 2018.

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