9 weeks: Shawn O’Keefe reviews R9 Accelerator’s journey

R9 government accelerator-01

It’s important to remember the journey the R9 Accelerator teams have been on, as well as where they are heading. Their experience began at a R9 Rev Up! event run by the Hack Miramar team where government agencies shared their problems and opportunities. This was the catalyst for the formation of teams and team ideas. It was at this point where they could apply to the R9 accelerator. They pitched their ideas to the panel and ten teams got the green light.  Teams work alongside customers and agencies to tackle the main pain points for businesses working with government. Consumer-focused and user-centric strategies are what drives the innovation in this accelerator. The government accelerator concludes with a demo day involving government agencies, stakeholders and strategic investors. There, a selection panel provides feedback and chooses the teams that will be receiving funding and moving forward.

We are currently in week nine of the programme. Four and a half weeks are left until demo day which is scheduled for June 2nd. It’s a challenging time in the programme. The last two weeks have been about continuing to push MVPs (Minimum Viable Products), developing customer interaction and engagement. In week eight and nine the focus will be on how to pitch your idea, tell your story and share your value proposition and solution with government agencies and customers.

Although the pressure is on, creative juices have been flowing thanks to many useful mentors and events that keep the teams progressing. One event called ‘PowerPoint karaoke’  hosted by Lightning Lab XX got participants to pitch slides they have never seen before. This gave great practice with pitching ideas as well as being a lot of fun. We also had Rochelle Stewart-Allen, Senior Advisor for the Open Government Data Programme at LINZ, come in. Rochelle was amazing at inspiring some of the teams and illustrating the opportunities available with open data. As well as great mentors and events, an exciting opportunity arose for one of the R9 teams, Traject, to speak at the most recent 7×7 event.  They shared their ideas about open source methodology with a focus on getting ‘tech talent’ credited in NZ. I also gave an overview of the final weeks of the programme and put my own ‘start up’ on the chopping board. We talked about what worked and what didn’t to help teams think of how to tell a story. This is just a very small snapshot of the many wonderful people and events that have added to the experience of this accelerator in the past few weeks.

The teams are continuously having breakthroughs and realisations but now need to plan for the pitch. They can see the finish line but time is running out. These teams are working on some really hard problems, problems government agencies have been trying to crack for ages and haven’t been able to. The most exciting thing about R9 is that people can make a difference and help to solve some of these issues; it really can impact many lives and make the world a better place.

 

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