Impactful stories of Aotearoa

How businesses are using digital to create change for people and the planet

Tēnā koutou

Last year, when Bron, our Founder, felt she needed more support she reached out to Emily, our former Chief Financial Officer turned co-CEO.

“Emily said to me, ‘tell me what you need. Whatever it is. I’ll support you,’” says Bron. “I realised that not only did I not need to do this on my own, but I could be (and Springload could be) better off if we were doing this together.”

This resonated with Emily. “I know how important it is, and what it feels like, to both have support and also to be supportive,” she says. “I’ve had amazing allies, people that have taken the time to pass on their knowledge, afforded me opportunities and opened up doors that I hadn't considered available to me.”

Our impact report shares stories of businesses we’ve collaborated with to create change in Aotearoa over the past two years. If you take one thing away from these stories: collaboration is crucial for creating impact.

How might values-aligned partnerships help create your vision of a better future?

A photo of Emily and Bron, Springload’s co-CEO’s.

What does digital impact look like?

Five principles that run throughout our work and examples of how digital has helped our clients create change for good over the past two years.

A green leaf shape and circle to represent sustainable planet.

Sustainable planet

Reducing coffee and food takeaway waste with an app to manage reusable containers.

Three semi-circles curved side down, stacked in a traingle shape to show equity.

Educational equity

Helping rangatahi feel empowered to make informed decisions about their education, jobs, well-being, housing, and payments with online support and resources.

A semi-circle with two shades of yellow to represent health and wellbeing as a sunrise.

Health and well-being

Providing clean, safe drinking water for communities across Aotearoa with clear information for water suppliers and the public.

A red circle sandwiched between two semi-circles to resent inclusivitiy.

Inclusive content and design

Co-designing a whānau-centred experience using storytelling to encourage Aotearoa New Zealanders to reduce their drinking.

A purple slide right to access icon to represent digital accessibility.

Making services, support, and products available to everyone through accessible forms.

Sustainable planet

Making it easier for Aotearoa to meet its climate goals through tools and accessible information on waste reduction, renewable energy, and forestry.

Again Again

Making waste-free takeaways the new normal

Plastic items from takeaway food and drink dominate the litter in the world’s oceans. In Aotearoa we chuck out close to 300 million disposable coffee cups every year.

The founders of Aotearoa New Zealand startup Again Again were thinking about this when they decided to tackle single-use food packaging waste, aiming to create a new behaviour and a new way of thinking that’s all about the cycle of reuse.

Partnering with Again Again, we created an entire reusable container management system, mobile app, and web platform, giving vendors and the public easy ways to have takeaway without the throwaway.

Visualising impact in a simple but meaningful way

Hannah, Again Again’s illustrator, created the sea creature theme for the impact screen, helping users visualise the impact of their actions, both as individuals and collective Again Again users.

A person using the again again app on their phone while purchasing a coffee.
Again Again prototype testing at Peoples Coffee Lukes Lane.
A photo of three screens from the Again Again app.

“While our coffee cups were 100% commercially compostable, they still required energy and resources to create. In addition, despite our best efforts and that of our waste supplier and compost centre, our audits revealed we had compostable cups ending up in landfill. Again Again has provided us with a really great solution. It’s another small step in helping us put our best (& lowest carbon) foot forward.”

Auckland Zoo

Learn more about the cafe owners, managers, and front-of-house teams using Again Again to support a circular economy at Again Again stories.

More stories about digital supporting sustainable ways of living

Ministry for Primary Industries: Helping the forestry industry reduce carbon emissions by equipping Te Uru Rākau New Zealand Forest Service with the knowledge needed to build a user-friendly climate change information system.

Climate Change Commission: Driving climate action in Aotearoa by building a website that holds the Government to account using clear, impartial, evidence-based advice.

How can digital tools scale-up sustainability practices for your business?

Educational equity

Creating accessible pathways and support for over 1.6 million students and teachers.

Ministry of Social Development

Connecting rangatahi to support and resources

We helped Aotearoa’s youth gain independence and confidence by connecting them to the support and services they’re entitled to through Youth Service Ratonga Taiohi, an MSD initiative.

MSD needed a refreshed, modern website that would appeal to young people, and also give the service providers information they need.

We knew that most young people would be looking at the site on their phones, so we designed with mobile at the forefront of our minds — including bold colours, square aspect ratio images like Instagram, and scannable content.

Adapting and collaborating to create impact

During the Covid-19 2020 lockdown we trained Youth Service coaches to do user testing remotely all over the country. Collaborating with the coaches who were already working with rangatahi was a great way to access quality insights and build on existing relationships.

With its mobile-friendly clear content and accessible build, it's now easy for everyone to find Youth Service's information and resources — so much so that Youth Service won Best Plain English Website, Public Sector at the Plain English awards 2021.

Close up of the Youth Service ‘housing’ and ‘wellbeing’ page.

Massey University Open Days

Inspiring students to dream about their futures

Choosing a university is a big decision, particularly for school leavers. They’re embarking on a new, life-changing journey. Their university will become their new home.

In 2020, with NZ’s borders closed due to Covid-19, Massey University decided to make their open days event exclusively digital so anyone in the world could participate.

Having a great event felt especially important for keeping students inspired and hopeful for their futures, and for showing them that study and university education is still possible, even during a global pandemic.

A welcoming digital atmosphere for over 6,600 attendees from 242 cities around the world

We created a welcoming digital atmosphere that showed manaaki, and built whanaungatanga — connection and community — between the prospective students, their families, and the university using:

  • English and te reo Māori content
  • livestream videos
  • pre-recorded videos
  • live chat
  • clutter-free design
  • digital goodie bags with online voucher codes released throughout the event.

Massey University’s virtual Open Days event was a huge success and continues to be useful to Massey for new events and ways to engage remote students.

Mobile screenshots of the Massey Virtual Open Days website, including the event program and a ‘next steps’ page.

Innovation came out of necessity: reaching vulnerable people during a pandemic through collaboration with Youth Service coaches, and overcoming border restrictions to welcome prospective students from around the world with Massey’s Virtual Open Days.

How might digital help you adapt to create impact?


Freeing up time-poor teachers and engaging students using AI

Australian teachers spend much of their day in classrooms leaving them with little time to prepare lessons and high-quality resources for their students. For early career teachers, this results in up to half leaving the profession within the first five years.

Inquisitive is an educational software-as-a-service platform that weaves the requirements of the Australian Curriculum and the state into lessons, saving classroom teachers’ over 100 hours per year in lesson preparation, planning and tracking.

Supporting learning in two thirds of Australian primary schools

An AI teaching assistant personalises the teacher experience and resources over time, so teaching programmes remain fresh.

Since its release, 2 in 3 Australian primary schools use Inquisitive which helps:

  • students across 4,800 schools engage with high-quality resources
  • save 34,000 teachers over 100 hours per year, allowing teachers to focus on students and feel supported to stay in the profession.

Ministry of Education

Transforming Aotearoa’s curriculum platform to support teachers

We helped transform Aotearoa’s curriculum platform so it can better support teachers to educate tamariki and rangatahi.

Te Kete Ipurangi (TKI) is the digital home of the NZ school curriculum and provides educational resources. The Ministry of Education (MOE) wanted to update TKI to better support teachers.

We used personas to show how the current platform impacted teachers’ work-life balance and ability to support their students’ learning needs. These stories allowed the MOE team to empathise with teachers and drive the case for change in their organisation.

Our report supported MoE’s successful $10 million business case to redevelop the platform.

More stories about creating accessible pathways and support in education

Ministry of Education: Making it easier for teachers to access the learning they need to deliver excellence and equity for all ākonga with Professional Learning and Development.

Ministry of Education: Supporting school leavers to take the next step by making a website toolkit of essential life skills, from housing rights to mental health. Each year there are over 60k school leavers across Aotearoa, meaning that since the student toolkit release, over 180k young New Zealanders have had access to the tools and information they need to get on in life with confidence.

Health and well-being

Helping people understand where they’re at and feel empowered to access support through storytelling, inclusive content, and an iPad game.

Massey Ventures at Massey University & Nicola McDowell

Empowering children to understand how their vision works

Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) is a visual condition. Many children with CVI struggle to make sense of what they see. Often it’s misdiagnosed and incorrect medication prescribed, with potentially detrimental effects.

We worked with Nicola McDowell, a doctoral candidate at Massey University, to develop the Austin Assessment game, named after the child with CVI who inspired her research.

It’s a card-matching iOS app that gathers touch data and identifies variations in behaviour, and uses iOS eye tracking to track eye movements.

“No child should have to struggle through life with undiagnosed visual issues that greatly affect their education attainment, social interactions and overall well-being. The Austin Assessment has the potential to make a significant difference for thousands of children around the world, by helping to identify their visual issues early, which will allow them to receive the support they need to go on to reach their full potential.”

Nicola McDowell
PhD. Lecturer and Researcher at Massey University

Helping children reach their full potential through early identification and support

Nicola has used the Austin Assessment iPad app to assess approximately 800 children since its first release in 2019.

After analysing the data of 270 children aged between 5-13 in one school, 26 were identified for needing further assessment. This quick and easy screening method can create life-changing impact for children.

Early identification using the Austin Assessment app allows children to get the support they need, so they can go on to thrive in their learning, socialising, and sense of well-being.

Nicola with Austin. Austin is matching cards on a tablet’s screen while Nicola takes notes.
Nicola with Austin, the child who originally inspired Nicola’s playing card game experiment to study CVI. Austin is playing the Austin Assessment iPad app, which is named after him.

“Just assessed a 16 year old for #CVI using the #austinassessment. Clear as day she has visual perceptual difficulties. She almost cried with relief as it explained all the difficulties she's had at school her whole life. This is going to change her life.”

Nicola McDowell
PhD. Lecturer and Researcher at Massey University

Follow @nicmcdowellnz on Twitter to stay updated on how she’s using Austin Assessment to gather better data, advance research, and improve the lives of children with CVI globally.

More stories about making health and well-being accessible across Aotearoa

Dignity: Making it easier for people and businesses to support period equity online by providing pro bono brand and UX guidance.

Taumata Arowai: Helping water suppliers know what they need to do to provide clean, safe drinking water for everyone in Aotearoa.

Inclusive content and design

Creating inclusive, authentic digital experiences that reflect the values and experiences of the people they’re built for.

Health Promotion Agency

Co-designing with Māori to create a whānau-centred experience

We collaborated with Māori to design and build an audio storytelling app to encourage people to reflect on alcohol in their lives, whānau and community.

In the app, real people share their stories. Our Experience Designers worked with HPA cultural advisors to identify key audiences then defined early concepts with Māori in design workshops on marae.

Co-designing with whānau, iwi, marae-based service providers, subject matter experts and cultural advisors

Once the early concepts had been identified, we co-designed a framework understanding of how alcohol harm occurs, and what is needed to overcome its effects, to ensure te ao Māori and Māori voices were incorporated into the early ideas. This framework guided the design of the self-help tool.

We worked with Indigenous Design & Innovation Aotearoa to design the tool, ensuring te ao Māori was embedded in the strategy, design direction and craft of the interface. The final product is a thoughtful listening experience that puts whānau Māori and their stories first.

Photo of prototypes.
Left: Prototyping the alcohol journeys storytelling app. Right: Activities from the “research”, “discovery”, or “co-research” phase.

More stories about creating inclusive digital experiences that reflect the values of the people they’re built for

Massey University: Creating an inclusive university website in collaboration with the team at Massey and kaupapa Māori creative agency Ariki Creative. Modern, inclusive, and inspiring visual design was applied, embodying the principle of manaakitanga. User testing and extensive user research throughout kept the three million students and staff who use the website at the heart of the project.

Mīharo: Creating positive social change in Aotearoa using digital strategy to build relationships, share rich stories of cultural impact, and develop resources and tools that empower Māori and Pasifika.

Digital accessibility

Making services, support, and products that work for everyone.


Making an inclusive, accessible form builder that empowers everyone

Think about the last time a form failed you. Maybe you tried to book an appointment and got an unhelpful error message. You didn’t know which field the error referred to or how to fix it, so you gave up. This happens when forms don’t work for everyone.

We developed Formally as an online form builder that puts accessibility and inclusion at the forefront of every feature. It’s better for people and businesses. Plus, using it will help you build a more digitally inclusive space where everyone can participate.

A screenshot of the Formally form builder.
A screenshot of the Formally form builder. This is showing the ‘Build’ tab of the form builder, but there is also a ‘Translate’ tab.

We’re currently using Formally on client projects and developing it further with another local business before releasing it publicly.

We developed Formally an online form builder that puts accessibility and inclusion at the forefront of every feature. It’s better for people and businesses. Plus, using it will help you build a more digitally inclusive space where everyone can participate.

  • promoting the importance of digital inclusion and accessibility
  • giving everyone the tools to create accessible forms without the price tag of a bespoke app
  • connecting more people to services, to their communities, and to tasks and information they need in daily life through the uptake of Formally by businesses
  • reducing the carbon emissions of form hosting by offering a centralised place to store forms. People will be able to offload their form functionality to Formally, allowing them to run more simple sites that generate lower emissions.

Visit getformally.com to learn more and sign-up for early access.

More stories about digital tools that empower and connect people

ACC: Ensuring everyone can access the medical care they need through MyACC by providing an actionable accessibility audit.

React Accessible Accordion 3.0: Helping everyone access information online by building the open source and standardised component. It's free for developers to take and use for any project, and since its release in 2017, its had over 16.5 million downloads.

To download it yourself go to our GitHub: React Accessible Accordion 3.0 on GitHub. Tweet or email us if you use it! We'd love to see how you're making an impact on digital usability with React Accessible Accordion 3.0.

Looking forward

Clients and projects we’ve been recently working on. We look forward to sharing their impact stories next year.

Meridian Energy: Giving Kiwis the power to make a difference by designing a customer-centric website that makes joining easy and costs transparent.

Tertiary Education Commission: Delivering a careers planning platform to help New Zealanders aged 7-70+ forge career pathways and find work, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and an economic recession.

Grow your business with purpose

How can you use digital to help your business create impact at scale?

Create impact at scale

by growing your existing online offerings and creating new value propositions that reach more markets. Start with a free digital strategy kōrero.

Make it easy for everyone

to use your products and services with our accessibility audits. We’ll help you identify accessibility issues and give you guidance on how to fix them.

Build a digitally inclusive space

where everyone can participate using Formally, the only online form builder to put accessibility at the forefront of every feature.

Contribute to a greener web

by carbon offsetting your existing websites, apps, or products, or working on new sustainable projects.

Tell your story

to connect with your customers over a shared purpose, and create clear opportunities for impact with UX and content training.