R9 Accelerator Team

The hacker, the hustler and the visionary – solving government problems in a new way

The hacker, the hustler and the visionary – solving government problems in a new way

Last updated 24 April 2017
Last updated 24 April 2017

Like any government, ours has some ‘wicked’ problems to solve, like what to do about the 58,000 people with mental health conditions who can’t find meaningful work. Or the fact we have nearly 4,500 children living in foster care, another 1,000 on the waiting list and yet no coordinated nationwide placement programme.

Solving these big national problems usually takes a long time and a lot of money.

That is where the R9 Accelerator comes in. It is a radical evolution in the way government solves problems, that speeds up the process. It does this by using continuous collaboration, co-creation with customers, lean start-up methodology, innovative tools and digital channels.  Its two main aims are to reduce the effort of business dealing with government and to develop a new approach to government problem-solving.

A key learning of the Accelerator is that for innovation to follow through to outcome, ideas and teams are best supported by a wider innovation ecosystem. A future outcome of R9 Accelerator is to create a connected and supported innovation community within the New Zealand Government with entrepreneurs, business and the global GovTech community.

Our R9 Accelerator is attracting global interest

R9 is one of the first large-scale GovTech accelerators in the world.  It’s part of the Result 9 Better for Business partnership of 10 business-focused government agencies committed to making it easier for business to interact with government.

The Accelerator Programme is kicked off by a R9 Rev-up event for interested individuals to meet with government agencies and stakeholders. Small teams with a mix of people from both the public and private sectors then apply to take part in the programme. The best eight teams go forward and generally comprise a “hacker” to do the technological development, a “hustler” to market the product and a “visionary” to lead business development and stakeholder engagement.

Teams work through three months of testing ideas with customers, prototyping solutions and then pitching their ideas to public and private sector investors. 


Group of people around a table

R9 Accelerator 3+ brings in business mentors to help teams meld tighter and accelerate faster throughout the programme

Results so far

To date the R9 Accelerator has delivered two successful internal government projects and four successful start-up businesses which are expected to be standalone and generating income within the next 6­–12 months. The start-ups are:

  • Team2Shakes – a solution that gets professionals set up with authority to represent their clients with government interactions. They estimate $22 million of customer benefits annually to clients in saved time through their use of technology to replace paperwork
  • Team Traject has moved the accredited employer application form for Immigration NZ from a slow, paper-based process to a smart, online, user-friendly form in plain English
  • Team CoHelix – a product to allow employers to complete, check, sign and store all employment documentation online
  • Team Visard –the world’s first Mobile Visa App to help Chinese tourists get tourist visas quickly.

This year the programme attracted over 120 entrepreneurs and it looks to continue in popularity each year.

Read more about R9 Accelerator.

Front page image caption: Teams consist of a wide variety of personality types, from hackers and hustlers to visionary entrepreneurs. Pictured are the Accreditron team members (from left to right): Jeremy, Ashlyn, George and Dana.