Inland Revenue is the department charged with advising the New Zealand government on tax policy, collecting and disbursing payments for social support programmes, and of course collecting tax. Starting in 2015 Inland Revenue has been undertaking a transformation program to make it simpler and faster for New Zealanders to pay their taxes and receive their entitlements.
A survey conducted by the newly combined team in early 2017 discovered that while suppliers felt that the team overall did well in engaging with suppliers and vendors, some expressed an opinion that it can be difficult connecting with the right person at Inland Revenue, leading to inefficiencies in communication and confusion within the supplier community.
Based on this feedback the team wanted to run an interactive engagement process that reversed the typical dynamic of most surveys by explicitly inviting the audience to contribute ideas on how the team could work better with suppliers—instead of simply soliciting basic survey type feedback. HunchBuzz was chosen to run an initiative to generate ideas and feedback on how the Commercial and Procurement team could deliver better results for Inland Revenue, and cultivate a more productive and efficient relationship with the local supplier community.
Inland Revenue used HunchBuzz to create an accessible online platform for staff and suppliers to create ideas and deliver feedback. The process consisted of creating four challenges to contextualise and highlight areas that suppliers and the Commercial and Procurement team could create tangible improvements:
Over 100 people from Inland Revenue, their suppliers and the NZ Rise community were invited into the HunchBuzz platform to create ideas in response to these challenges. HunchBuzz managed bi-weekly sprints with Inland Revenue staff to review the ideas generated, provide feedback and to deliver results back to the community. HunchBuzz also engaged in face to face interactions with over a dozen different suppliers to seek feedback and deliver innovative ideas back to Inland Revenue.
More than 35 actionable ideas were generated by 84 users from 51 suppliers over a two-month period. Just as important were the communication and collaboration the initiative enabled. The project also highlighted some longstanding areas of dissatisfaction within the supplier community, but the simple act of acknowledging these gaps openly and inviting feedback on how to make improvements was seen as a constructive exercise by participants.
Feedback and ideas are being factored into various improvement initiatives within Inland Revenue and to the extent any feasible ideas require cross government buy in, Commercial and Procurement team have shared the ideas with the relevant agencies
HunchBuzz has helped the Commercial and Procurement team at Inland Revenue become a more innovative and inclusive business partner to the wider supplier community and more aware of suppliers needs. It confirms a growing pattern of organisations seeking to use innovative idea generation led techniques to solve problems, create insights and engage communities.