The government of New Zealand organized an innovation showcase this week, offering some user-centric solutions and a little humility in response to community complaints.

What may be somewhat unusual from some governments, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment Agencies laid it right out with a declaration of their own government’s shortcomings.

“Agencies have little integration and wait for the customer to integrate most interactions,” said the Ministry of Business. “Customer experience and data is fragmented across different agencies. Customers told us they wanted agencies to work together to better support their needs.”

Also of interest, the showcase demonstrated that the ministry and the government realized the answers to their community would be found from developing user-centric programs.

Here are some highlights:

Graduate Talent Program: A cross-agency initiative to recruit graduates with a “curiosity and passion” for the community, with skills to meet user needs with emerging technologies and data, which ultimately will help foster changes to government culture, practices and processes.

Consistent User Experiences Initiative: An idea still in the works for creating seamless, consistent user experiences across all government agencies. In its early stages, the design includes a system of components and guidelines that will grant access to government functions and information to recognize users at any time, and available if systems go down.

Recognition System: For users to log into government online – and have the service platform recognize the user, with the capability to draw upon all available resources inter-agency.

A FAQ Bot: An AI-powered chat bot delivered through Software as a Service model, which will be capable of answering user questions anytime of day or night, and in multiple languages.

And,

Hacking Jam-a-thon: The government’s effort “to solve wicked problems through innovative approaches.” These are events held throughout the year that draw upon public agencies, the transport industry, tech industry, the general public and students to come up with customer-centric solutions.

Challenges have included road safety and accessibility, with specific proposals for policy changes, the creation of a decision-making tool, and a new service for selling intellectual property.

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