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The Ticker Take: Lightning Lab Tourism week four

19 Jun 2019  By Bridget O'Connell | | @tourismticker

Some plans have practically gone to the dogs

The Ticker‘s Bridget O’Connell on week four of the Lightning Lab Tourism accelerator.

Most teams are neck deep in the murky waters of problem discovery, and we are no exception. We’ve been dreaming up personas, dredging for assumptions and then setting out to test these assumptions. This means interviews, interviews, interviews.

For many on the programme, this entails scouring the mean streets of Christchurch, lurking in the airport (with permission of course), or politely diverting tourists at nearby hotels or hostels (again, with permission granted) for a quick card sort.

However, for those of us with a business-to-business concept, the process is a little bit slower as we are scheduling face-to-face meetings with willing local industry types – luckily there are many (thank you to all who have volunteered time so far, and for those who haven’t heard from us yet, you will – or do get in touch).

On top of the bonus of interviewing coming quite naturally to two journalists (‘Interview script? Pah, who needs an interview script.’), this part of the programme has been hugely valuable in terms of the insights it has thrown up thus far – and it’s still early days for us with many more meetings to complete before we clear the waters.

There are a few teams that are already drying off, looking ahead to start the second phase of the programme – the sales sprint. By in large, these teams are ones that have existing businesses, who are on the programme to recalibrate their concept, bring some rigour to their business, or in one case, to recharge mojo – entrepreneurship can be a testing and lonely road.

In between all of this, the guest speakers keep coming thick and fast. Over the past two weeks, we’ve had time with Christchurch Airport chief executive Malcolm Johns, Centrality’s Andy Higgs, Tourism Industry Aotearoa’s Insight Leadership Panel; Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Simon Upton; Creative HQ’s Head of Acceleration Brett Holland, and many others. Plus we have had all the regular meetings with our agile coaches, business coaches, leadership coaches to keep up with.

While getting time and access to all these visitors and coaching is a major and hugely beneficial part of the programme, the tension around how each team uses their time remains. By all accounts, the number of scheduled visitors is set to slow going forward, which probably means the pace of the sprints is going to pick up!

And so to last week’s Good, Bad and Ugly session where the tantalising prospect of the programme’s first pivot was dropped. No details were shared. Just the context that the addition of a few wild card questions at the end of the card sort interview threw up the possibility that an idea that has been years in the making may be set for a fundamental overhaul. I’ll let you know when I know more.

The Lightning Lab Tourism accelerator runs until 23 August and is supported by Callaghan Innovation, Christchurch International Airport, Centrality, Tourism Industry Aotearoa and ChristchurchNZ. It is being delivered by Creative HQ – a member of the Global Accelerator Network.


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