NSW Innovation Observatory

Helping Sydney become the startup capital of Australia

NIO Case Study Image

The Problem

How do you turn Sydney into the startup capital of Australia?

Innovation NSW (part of the Australian government) had a deadline to meet; in 6 weeks they would unveil the opening of their flagship Startup Hub, a globally significant innovation centre first of its kind in Australia, and unmatched in the southern hemisphere in size.

But there was one thing missing; they needed a digital solution that would connect all of the startups across 11 floors and at different stages in their journey, and foster a community of collaboration between startups, entrepreneurs and the government.

What We Did

ustwo were given just 6 weeks to create a solution that would support the startup community in the Hub and provide them with access to government resources, information, and funding and networking opportunities.

Rather than just developing yet another passive information kiosk, we created a digital observatory where entrepreneurs could explore their startup journey and share their expertise and learnings with the community.

Based on insights from users we developed different stages for the entrepreneurs to explore, from those still in the ‘Ideation’ stage to those in the final ‘Expansion’ phase of their startup journey. Each stage surfaced relevant information, case studies, government contacts and funding opportunities.

Users could also use the platform to share their knowledge with other entrepreneurs and contribute to the growth and engagement of the startup community in the Hub.

The final output is NIO (NSW Innovation Observatory): a digital experience embedded in a touch screen kiosk that lives in the Startup Hub in the centre of Sydney.

What We Learned

With a tight turnaround to design and build NIO, we understood the importance of embedding ourselves with the user and genuinely understanding the startup community we were designing for. Gathering weekly feedback on the user value of our product was essential to gauge success or failure early in the project, and develop a platform that was truly beneficial to entrepreneurs.

Meaningful Impact

NIO is currently going through a feedback stage as it gathers input from users and startups who work at the Hub, and their feedback will grow the portal and improve its future offering.

“ustwo lifted the optimism of what can be done in 6 weeks. Quite impressive.”

Abraham Roberston, NSW