A collection of books, articles, videos, etc that you may find useful to prepare yourself for the R9 Accelerator

We’ll be building this section over time

Innovation tools

Design Kit

Design kit

Design Kit is a fantastic collection of resources including some videos of ultra inspiring people and methods that you can use in your own design thinking projects.

We really like this guide to doing interviews – an important part of R9 Accelerator – and collages which we just like because who doesn’t like an excuse to revisit primary school homework assignments?

And to really spark the innovation spirit read about some real human-centred design projects like combating jaundice in the developing world.

Lean Startup Canvas

Lean canvas

Lean Canvas is a one-page business plan optimised for Lean Startups. It helps you get everything essential about your business onto a single page. Here‘s one you could do online, but there are a bunch of versions that can be discovered through consulting .

Also check out the Social Lean Canvas which is designed for social entrepreneurs to build great business models.

Service Design Tools

Service Design Tools

As the picture says, an open collection of communication tools used in design processes that deal with complex systems. Or as we would put it, cool tools for doing cool things. The site is a bit academic feeling, but it’s a good way of seeing what tools are available.

One of our favourites is Lego Serious Play where you use Lego to envision a product and think about how people will interact with it. There’s more information about this one on Lego’s website or you can read about Central Otago’s WasteBuster’s experience.



Survey Monkey

Lean Startup is all about validation. Validate your assumptions. Validate your market size. Validate that people want the product you’re building.

Doing a survey can’t beat interviews when really understanding your customers, but it has the advantage of being fast and allowing you to get some great data in order to make decisions.

What’s important is thinking ahead of time what data you want to get so you can shape your questions. For a really in depth article on the importance of surveys and how to do them right, see here.

There are a lot of different online survey tools, Survey Monkey, pictured above is just one of them. They also have a good article about writing survey questions.



PersonappPersonas are representations of different groups of users outlining their goals and motivations. It’s a really helpful tool because it makes you focus on your users’ needs.

Good personas feel like real people – they have their own story, context and attitudes. provides a good guide to creating personas.

Normally you start with research, but you can also start with assumptive personas. Assumptive personas are just made up personas representing hypotheses that you will then go out and test (remember Lean Startup is all about validation).

Above is pictured Personapp, an online tool for making personas, but you can make them all sorts of ways.


Books on Lean Startup and other startup goodness

The Lean Startup


A book, a website, a movement.

Where better to start then by reading The Lean Startup by Eric Ries – the founder of the Lean Startup methodology.

It’s a really enjoyable read outlining the principles of Lean Startup, where it came from and how you can use it. There a lot of great examples of Lean Methodology in action, which makes it easy to understand the concepts.

Available at Amazon and a lot of other places.

Zero to One

Zero to One

Zero to One by Peter Thiel

Available at Amazon and a lot of other places.

Courses on Lean Startup

How to Build a Startup

A highly recommended, one month course by Steve Blank introducing the basics of the Customer Development Process.

It’s free. It’s online. It’s awesome. What more do you need to know?

Signup on Udacity.

They estimate it will take 6 hours a week, but you can do it at your own pace. You could also do it as a group – hey what a fantastic way to start bonding as a team in preparation for R9 Accelerator.

Helpful NZ government guides


business govt website is the government’s website for New Zealand’s small business. It works with agencies from across government to package, snapshot and demystify their information in a way that makes sense for small business, so they can get on with making their businesses a success.

Examples of the cool stuff you’ll find on this website:

  • Employee cost calculator which helps small businesses estimate how much hiring a new staff member will cost.
  • Compliance matters a tool which helps small businesses discover what their compliance requirements are.
  • One check which allows you to do one search to see whether your business name is available as a company name, a domain name and a trade mark.
  • Plus loads of information on starting and stopping a business, hiring staff, tax and finances, importing and exporting and more and more and more. Basically just an awesome source of information for small businesses.

Statistics NZ’s Market Mapper and Industry Profiler

Market mapper

At first glance Statistics NZ’s Market Mapper is not the prettiest of tools, but it does some useful things.

Accessing Statistics NZ’s goldmine of numbers (statistics mine) you can create maps of your target market by age, sex, income, household or family type.

Also skipping over to the Industry Profiler you can dig deep into New Zealand’s different industries, limiting profiles to regions, or segments of the industry. You can look at number of businesses with less than 20 employees, quarterly worker turnover rates.

Research from Better for Business


A brief overview of the New Zealand business landscape and introduction to the customer insights from Better for Business.

Downloadable as a pdf Better for Business Customer Insights

Result 10 customer research

This research was done by our friends at Result 10 – which is about making New Zealanders’ dealings with government easy in a digital environment. It provides an evidence base for a shared understanding of customer experience when interacting with government.