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2. Be clear about what you are trying to change and why

  • Identify the drivers for change or the desired intended outcomes.
  • Remember not to always try to solve the whole problem in one go, the service may be part of a wider journey and can start small and grow over time.
  • Understand the problem or opportunity that needs to be explored and how it contributes to higher living standards or better societal outcomes for New Zealanders.
  • Understand the operational landscape in which the context of a service is being delivered, including any third parties or systems.
  • Be aware of not pre-empting outcomes by listening to users and being open-minded about achieving your aims.

Why it matters

A service or programme of work should serve a purpose, for example to help people with home ownership when they are on a low or fixed income. Often in government we focus on existing programmes, projects and products, and their outputs.

Focusing on the benefits for people can help focus each stage of our thinking and planning. If we build for the sake of building, without clearly understanding the purpose at each stage of a project, we can miss the mark. Being clear about your purpose means you can:

  • measure the value of your work to demonstrate ongoing value
  • iterate, pivot, or shut down individual parts of a project or programme if necessary.

Government has to provide value to users, industry and the broader community while clearly focusing on ways to achieve well defined and measurable outcomes.

If products are implemented without a clear goal, you risk losing user trust and won't deliver ongoing value.

How to meet this principle

At a minimum you should describe:

  • the relevant outcome, policy intent or purpose of the service and what success should look like
  • how you intend to ensure an evidence-based and peer reviewed approach throughout
  • an understanding of the current state and the objectives, scope and benefit measures you will use to demonstrate and measure improvement
  • what the threshold or trigger would be to shut down or pivot relevant services should the purpose not be being met, and how this would be monitored and actioned.


  • Design and UX — accessibility, usability, service design, content design and management

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