Research and Development Tax Incentive, with Callaghan Innovation

Collaborating with Callaghan Innovation to re-design the customer experience for RDTI.

Man writing down ideas on post its

Who we worked with

Callaghan Innovation

What we did together

A series of sprints to re-design the customer experience for the RDTI

The Research and Development Tax Incentive (RDTI) scheme is New Zealand’s largest government financial support mechanism for R&D. Offering a 15% tax rebate on eligible activities, its goal is to support and  incentivise innovative companies across New Zealand with their new and existing  R&D projects. A cross agency group between Callaghan Innovation, and their government partners worked in collaboration with Creative HQ to reimagine, design, and test a new customer experience for the R&D Tax Incentive Scheme (RDTI). The goal was to ultimately make the scheme easier for customers and advisors to understand and engage with the RDTI to support more New Zealand businesses with their R&D.

The multi-agency group wanted a different approach to tackling this problem, one that was able to deliver value quickly, and involve customers and stakeholders throughout the process to quickly validate options and address the identified pain points.

“That’s the difference with Creative HQ. They understand the process in an applied way, not just a theoretical way. They are expert innovation practitioners who have the intellectual capability to keep up with the content of complex conversations whilst keeping everything moving, it’s really important for projects like this”

Brett Calton, Acting Chief Product Officer

Callaghan Innovation

How we did it

We leveraged our depth of experience to develop and facilitate a programme of six sprints that were designed to go beyond generating great ideas to create tangible outputs that could be implemented during the sprint programme. This focussed on three key stages of problem discovery, design, and a build-measure-learn phase to rapidly generate and test outputs. 

We assembled a team of nine, representing Callaghan Innovation and members of the partner agencies, to participate in the programme. All participants had demanding day jobs, so the programme was designed to span four months with time between the 3-5 day sprints to develop and implement outputs. This approach to working built a collaborative and supportive team that was able to work effectively across agencies.

The RDTI is a complex piece of legislation that first required a discovery phase to ensure that the team had a clear understanding of the current customer journey, processes, and constraints to enable them to make effective decisions throughout the design process. Building on previous work, the group achieved this in the first four day sprint, paving the way for the remaining sprints to focus on designing, testing, and creating the future state RDTI experience for customers. We were able to contribute our expertise in human centered design and testing to help the team to iteratively develop their solutions based on validated insights from customers. The sprints also included innovative processes to develop and test the internal workflows required to implement the proposed changes.

As specialist practitioners of innovative processes, our facilitation built a platform from which the cross agency team could collaborate effectively and develop solutions that ultimately transform the way that customers experience RDTI.

The result

The programme resulted in the development of new customer-facing content, which included a redesigned RDTI website going live at the end of the sprint series. The sprints allowed for this content to be tested with real customers before going into production to ensure that it helped them to understand the RDTI process and how to engage with it.

Customer facing processes have been refined to provide all RDTI customers with an experience that is focussed on providing them with tailored support to help with the particular needs of their business and R&D activities. Internal workflows have also been adjusted to enable the delivery model, including re-examining how the agencies work together and exchange information within the constraints of the legislation. 

The sprint programme model has been successful in bringing the agencies together to work collectively on delivering a better product experience for their collective RDTI customers.

It has instilled an agile and iterative approach to their work which will continue into the future as new improvements are tested and implemented. This project has proven how a programme of sprints can quickly deliver major transformation for a cross agency government programme that has a big impact for New Zealand businesses.

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