This post is the second in our fortnightly series documenting the successes, challenges and overall progress of the NZ entrepreneurs and govt innovators currently working on government/business interaction opportunities as part of the R9 Accelerator, powered by Better for Business and based out of Creative HQ. Each post alternates between the 10 teams to profile 5 each fortnight, see here to meet all 10 of the R9 Accelerator teams in the first of this series.
Where has your team experienced the most growth over the last two weeks?
Quicker Kiwis | We’re starting to understand the pain point from the government point of view and are working more cohesively as team. We’ve also had our first pivot – at first we were targeting digitisation of data for frequent travellers, but now we’ve shifted to how to get from A to B and how we can use that to inform our process and solution (we’re starting to look at accreditation). We shifted from just digitisation of elements of travel process to speed it up, to the problem itself.
CoHelix | It’s often a bit like we’re in the middle of a forest creating our own track – we’ve developed the skills to quickly spot our shortcomings and move out of them rather than getting stuck in a rut! We have a team check in every morning before we start for the day which helps us get on track with one another.
Tender Chat | We have another team member present, Kurt, he is working here more often so we’re 1/3 bigger!
MiBiz | We’ve had growth in the number of empty coffee cups! And also grown in our experience of identifying solutions, i.e looking at funding and growth strategies, as a team we now trust each other to do what we each do best!
2Shakes | We doubled in team members; Nicole & Caroline joined our team! We’re starting to understand and realise the massive complexity in what we’re trying to solve. This feeds through to number of entities we’re now talking to and the amount of customer engagement needed. We’re tweeting, we have blog posts going up and a live website 2shakes.co.nz. And last but definitely not least we grew in gaining an awesome mentor; Scott Champion, the CEO of NZ Beef and Lamb!
What is/are the current challenge(s) you are tackling at the moment to make progress?
Quicker Kiwis | The current challenge is engaging with our early adopter user group appropriately. We’re determining how we communicate with customers without stepping on anyone’s toes, as well as managing our stakeholders and being discreet as well as clear in what we’re saying. We’re looking at risk assessment in all our external communications and working towards a very tight ship on this front.
CoHelix | Having too much focus and then not enough, and struggling with neither amount of focus being the right one, our opportunity is very broad and we’re working on streamlining it into something meaningful.
Tender Chat | Our current challenges are getting people who are tendering with government to be engaged with the government and with each other, and finding customers to talk to – we have a specific demographic that isn’t necessarily skilled in tendering. We’ve found so far that bigger companies are easier than smaller companies and we’re focused on developing our problem into something of value that the customer wants.
MiBiz | We’re having trouble connecting with people and finding customers to talk to at the moment, and we’re also working on establishing what the real pain point is for people. But we have had people putting others in touch with us who want to know more which has been great start in terms of affirming that we’re identifying a valid problem.
2Shakes | We want to reduce environmental compliance for increased efficiency – to do this we are engaging with central government, regional councils, industry organisations, and people who buy farm produce. It is quite challenging to keep up with the pace of it all, we’re learning new things as we go along and having to backtrack and take this info back to customers.
What has been the most energising part of the R9 experience so far?
Quicker Kiwis | The mentors and the environment are very energising. It’s great to have lots of backing help. The mentor session with Jesse, talking about peaks and troughs and giving a retrospective was a definite pick me up! Another big win for us has been getting early adopters on board and finding people are interested in our problem and how we’re going to execute on solving it. The customer interest and sponsor engagement has been great motivation for us to really push the boat out, helped crystalise our idea, and get everything sorted.
CoHelix | Most recently the social dinner we went to last Friday night with some people partaking in Lightning Lab XX. We’re so busy in the office and it’s a good way to get out and get to know people. Our team is awesome!!!
Tender Chat | Seeing the progress we are making over the past couple of weeks, meeting new people, collaborating, learning new things and loving the journey we’re on!
MiBiz | Talking to the mentors who are inspiring and passionate about what they’re doing, seeing that they want to help us is energising!
2Shakes | We spoke with another organisation who said at first that they had already solved our problem, and that it wasn’t scalable or useful, so our idea came crashing down for a second! But then as we talked further it was related to only that one piece of the industry. After we realised this our idea was totally validated and we were on a massive high after that! A big win for us coming from a big player in the industry!
What it the most useful bit of learning or advice you have taken away from the programme over last two weeks?
Quicker Kiwis | Learning about the most effective lean sales processes and seeing them set out in a logical systematised process. This has helped us to target our early adopters. We learnt it’s not a 3 step process but it’s looking at sales data that we’ve got already, tweaking it and recalibrating from that.
CoHelix | Definitely the yarns with mentors! We learn’t not too sit at our desks to long so we don’t get stuck in a single track perspective. The 8 new mentors all gave us mind blowing information. Look at the customer hypotheses first, then the problem hypothesis before you go anywhere near the solution hypotheses. We found the lean startup machine (validation board) very useful.
Tender Chat | The access to to mentors, in particular; Doug, Paul Taylor, Yoseph. The international exposure to US government mentors is enlivening, it’s created a sense of access to contacts far and wide and showed us that we can really make a difference with our opportunity, the idea isn’t as farfetched as we originally thought. Everything is awesome, you could say we’re living the dream!
MiBiz | Our mantra has become – focus, speed and follow through (inspired by something Nick Churchouse said to us).
2Shakes | Through what we’ve learned doing our market research we now see the sheer amount of potential clients we have. We learnt not to despair, and instead keep chuggin’ on and you’ll find the answer – a bit like Dory from Nemo – “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.”
This post is part of the R9 Accelerator’s fortnightly update. Sign up here for programme insights from Director Shawn O’Keefe, information on the teams and their progress, the latest press and relevant #govtech resources.