2019—2020

Our impact journey

On the path to making the things that matter, better.

At Springload, our mission is to make the things that matter, better — better for people, and better for the planet. Becoming a B Corp at the end of last year signaled our commitment to this, and helped us measure our internal business practices. But for our work to have impact, we also need to look beyond the studio and examine how we create change in the world.

As an agency, helping our clients digitally transform is one of the most effective ways for us to have a positive impact on people and the planet. So we’re now asking — how can we set up a framework to measure and capture impact for the future?

We’ve started by defining five ways we create impact at Springload:

Role modeling by being a good global and local citizen.

Creating for clients who align with our purpose and values.

Generating our own impact products and initiatives.

Collaborating with other impact-focused organisations to deliver products, services, and experiences for clients.

Supporting impact-focused organisations through sponsorship, advice, and services.

Last year I talked about Springload’s purpose-led pivot and our drive to use our digital superpowers to activate change for good. Now, during a global pandemic, we’re learning how to creatively balance purpose and profit, and help others in the process too — this report will cover some examples of how we’ve done this.

It’s been a challenging year, but that’s the thing about impact — it requires us to be ever-adapting to our environment. ‘On the path to making the things that matter, better’ is our first impact report, and I look forward to this being the start of an annual practice to make the work we do transparent, measurable, and more impact-focused.

Ā tērā tau,

Bron Thomson's signature.

Bron Thomson
CEO of Springload

A photo of Bron Thomson.

Role modeling

Being a good global citizen, and role modeling best practices.

We ask ourselves: if Springload was a person, what sort of person would they be? Then we work on embodying these values, from the inside out.

Carbon offsetting

We’re proud to say that Springload’s studio activity is now carbon negative.

Last year we produced 29.5 tonnes of carbon, and we offset this by donating money to buy 22 stoves for CookClean Ghana. Our support in providing these stoves has helped create safer, more sustainable cooking conditions for 22 families in Ghana by reducing toxic fumes, lowering fuel costs, and saving trees.

Every stove has a four year lifespan and each year our 22 stoves will save...

$2,073

in fuel costs (NZD)

70.4

tonnes of carbon

95

tonnes of trees

For every invoice we send out we fund a tree through Trees that Count. In our last financial year, we funded the planting of 1018 native trees in total. Using Tāne's Tree Trust carbon calculator, we can estimate that our trees will remove 225.15 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere after 50 years.

1018 native trees funded, 225.15 tonnes of CO2 removed.


Women in tech

The gender split across the team at Springload is currently 48% male and 49% female and non-binary — a statistic we’re really proud of, especially in the tech industry!

In 2019 we developed Grow, a series of free workshops dedicated to empower women with web development skills. So far 50 women have attended Grow workshops.

Looking ahead: to measure the real-world impact of these workshops we recognise we now need to track what our Grow graduates have gone on to do.

Creating

Engaging with clients whose work aligns with our purpose.

With each new project or client we ask: is this going to be a positive contributor to the next 10 years, or is it still part of the problem? We say no to new clients who we don’t believe are part of a better future.

School Leavers’ Toolkit

We worked with high school students on the Ministry of Education’s School Leavers’ Toolkit — a fully bilingual and accessible website that provides young New Zealanders with a toolkit of essential life skills, from housing rights to mental health.

Each year over 60k school leavers across Aotearoa now have access to the tools and information they need to get on in life with confidence.

NZ Customs

We designed a mobile app for Customs Officers, to help protect New Zealand’s borders. It reduced paperwork, improved data quality, and contributed to officers’ enjoyment of their work.

1.5

hours saved per officer per day

97%

of officers enjoy using the app

Looking ahead: we’ve established clear client match criteria. Now we need to work on our post-project processes, so we can capture the real-world impact our client work has.

Generating

Creating impact products and initiatives on our own or with partners.

We think of these like planting seeds. Some of these experiments (seeds) may not grow into anything, but like all innovative work, some of them may open up opportunities for impactful change in ways that we never expected.

Springlabs

One of the most significant initiatives we kicked off this year was setting up Springlabs. This is a dedicated cross discipline team that at its heart is focused on experimentation and generating projects that create positive change in the world.

We're exploring new ways of working, new tools and technologies, and new collaborations that allow us to accelerate and amplify impactful project ideas. Watch this space!

The Austin Assessment

We worked with Nicola McDowell, a doctoral candidate at Massey University, to develop an app to help children with Cerebral Visual Impairment (CVI) understand how their vision works. 

Kids with CVI range from functionally blind to having almost normal acuity. Often it’s misdiagnosed and incorrect medication prescribed, with potentially detrimental effects.

Our tool uses the camera in an iPad alongside a special card game app to support research into CVI. We built the first prototype as part of a hack day with the client (and creator of the diagnostic card game), and have now built the Austin Assessment into an app.

Simple Trace

On May 4, we launched Simple Trace, a free contact tracing service designed to help Kiwis get back to business and fight Covid-19 together. We released Simple Trace before the official government app, and this was our way of stepping up and responding to the urgency of the situation. 

Co-developed remotely by Springloaders in their spare time, Simple Trace helped remove barriers for businesses and gave the public an easy and safe way to play their part during the pandemic. Since launching, over half a million visits have been logged through Simple Trace.

Simple Trace has solved the contact tracing requirement easily for it. It’s paramount we can keep our customers and staff safe and Simple Trace allows us to do this.

Bronwyn Kelly
Co-owner of Maranui Cafe

661,710

sessions

20,719

sessions in one day

Online workshops

During lockdown we experimented with new ways to connect and collaborate remotely. We then ran free workshops to share our learnings and help others adapt to working from home too. We taught 37 attendees across four workshops how to brainstorm and prototype online using an online whiteboard tool called Miro. These workshops equipped people with practical skills and gave them the confidence during a time of uncertainty:

“This was a well designed, informative and fun workshop. I came away feeling confident I could have a crack at using some of the tools you showed me in my own work. Ka rawe!”

Jonathan Miller
Callaghan Innovation

Collaborating

Partnering with other organisations to deliver impactful products, services, and experiences for clients.

MyACC

In 2017 we launched MyACC, a self-service platform that empowers injured New Zealanders to manage their claims online and puts them back in control of their recovery journey. In its first year (2018), 1000 customers and 114 case managers were using it.

Over the past three years, we’ve maintained a collaborative relationship with a number of vendors whilst working on MyACC. The most noteworthy collaboration was with Solnet — an IT services company who were responsible for back-end development, DevOps, and IT support on the project — and it’s this partnering that has allowed us to deliver best possible support to Kiwis seeking help.

Supporting

Helping impact-focused organisations through sponsorship, advisory support, hack days, and pro-bono or social good rates.

New Zealand Festival

At Springload we believe in the power of art to inform, inspire, provoke, and provide fresh perspectives. For the NZ Festival 2020, we partnered with Kemi Niko & Co. to create a web app for their Urban Hut Club project — a series of huts built from recycled materials.

We created a web app to help guide adventuring audiences to the hidden huts along the Kāpiti Coast. People could locate the starting point for their discovery using an interactive map, tick off huts as they found them, and enter in a secret code that unlocked artist content to be enjoyed while visiting each hut.

Over 1,500 people used the app to explore our local coastlines, connect with their communities, and discover creative work from local artists.

Dignity

In January 2020 we signed up to Dignity, an organisation committed to reducing period poverty in NZ. Through their buy one give one scheme we’ve gifted 18 boxes of period products to NZ communities and schools. It also means there’s free period products for Springload staff in our wharepaku.

Looking forward

This year at Springload we’ve adapted and diversified the ways in which we use our digital superpowers to activate change for good.

Now we need to work on how we capture and measure the change we create in the world.

Looking ahead, we’ll be focusing on:

  • Generating more of our own impact ventures through Springlabs, a dedicated internal team of Springloaders focused on building practical solutions for people and the planet.
  • Expanding our Grow workshops to empower Māori and Pasifika with web development skills. We’re investigating other ways that we can showcase the benefits of a career in tech for rangatahi, their whānau, hapū and iwi too.
  • Increasing our cultural competency throughout the organisation so different community groups feel more included and valued.
  • Continuing to work with clients who align with our values and understand how to best capture and report on the impact these projects have.