Public sector experience and capability

Approved All-of-Government Consultancy Services Provider

Local knowledge, global capability

Perceptive is a full-service research, consultation and evaluation agency and an Approved All-of-Government Consultancy Services Provider (Policy, Research and Development).

Based in New Zealand, Perceptive is also also part of the global BBDO network. As such, we have access to extensive technology infrastructure and cutting-edge tools and resources and have a breadth of experience in working with government organisations. Our ability to tap into this strategic thinking means we can bring your insights to life in a truly meaningful way.

For more than 15 years, our team has delivered insights to both public and private sector organisations. Our work has informed stakeholder engagement, policy development, service delivery, and risk and mitigation strategies, and has given leadership teams the confidence and evidence they need to drive impactful change.

 Talk to an Expert

We have worked across a diverse range of public sector categories including:

  • Health and disability
  • Education
  • Sustainability
  • Transport
  • Environmental
  • Regulatory
  • Infrastructure
  • Recreation
  • Housing
  • Community and not-for-profit.

Who we have worked with

Members of our team have worked with:

  • Commerce Commission / Te Komihana Tauhokohoko
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) / Hīkina Whakatutuki

  • Kāinga Ora / Homes and Communities

  • New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) / Mana Tohu Mātauranga o Aotearoa

  • Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) / Te Mana Whanonga Kaipāho

  • Department of Conservation (DOC) / Te Papa Atawhai

  • Ministry for the Environment (MfE) / Manatū Mō Te Taiao

  • Retirement Commission / Te Ara Ahunga Ora

  • Ministry of Education / Te Tāhuhu o te Mātauranga

  • Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC) / Te Tāhū Hauora

  • New Zealand Infrastructure Commission / Te Waihanga

  • Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) / Te Amorangi Mātauranga Matua

  • NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) / Waka Kotahi

  • Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) / Toitū Te Whenua

  • Local Government / CCOs – Auckland Council, Waikato District Council, Nelson City Council, Environment Waikato, Dunedin City Council, Christchurch City Council, Auckland Transport.

Our team is a dynamic blend of specialists sharing a relentless passion for our work and its effectiveness for our clients.

Working with Perceptive

Our team is a dynamic blend of specialists who are all guided by three core values that inform the way we treat each other, with with clients, and operate as an agency: Curiosity, Collaboration and Growth. We also share one common trait: a relentless passion for our work and its effectiveness for our clients. 

From research design to reporting, our team evaluate step and milestone to ensure the are aligned to deliver insights that are not only easy to digest, but will engage stakeholders and empower them to drive positive change. This commitment was most recently recognised at the 2023 REAWARDS where Perceptive won five awards, including the top award for Insights Communication.

Data security is paramount in today’s digital ecosystem. That’s why we are proud to be an ISO27001 accredited organisation, adhering to the highest global standards for information security management. Our certification provides our clients with the assurance that their data remains protected at all times.

We are also a member and platinum partner of the Research Association New Zealand (RANZ) and our General Manager, Oliver Allen, is a member of the RANZ Board of Directors. Our clients, therefore, have peace of mind that Perceptive is part of an expert community and is accountable to the highest professional and ethical standards.

We have expertise in:

  • Large scale qualitative and quantitative research
  • Global brand tracking
  • Data science and modelling
  • Customer experience and satisfaction
  • Reputation assessment and monitoring
  • Behaviour change
  • Technology development and dashboard design
  • Data visualisation and design
  • Customer-centric research
  • New product development and concept testing
  • Community needs assessments
  • Community consultation
  • Policy analysis and development
  • Social marketing and communications development
  • Programme evaluation
  • Kaupapa Māori evaluation
  • Cross-cultural research.

Recent projects

To deliver best-in-class insights for our clients, we bring the right skills and approach to every project. These projects demonstrate our team’s successful track record in:

  • Working with a diverse range and size of public sector organisations.
  • Conducting research across a wide range of public sector stakeholders, the general public, businesses and other organisations. 
  • Undertaking research and evaluation with a focus on harder-to-reach audiences.
  • Working with Māori and Pasifika audiences.
  • Tackling research topics that are complex or challenging in nature.

Click a project name beside to learn more.

The Commerce Comission

The Commerce Commission’s Improving Retail Service Quality Final Baseline report identified billing as a significant pain point for consumers in the telecommunications market. Evidence suggests that consumers find billing documentation confusing and overcomplicated (both in layout and lack of clearly displayed information), and laden with jargon. This often makes it difficult for consumers to identify billing errors.
Perceptive were engaged to conduct research with consumers, which looked at bill comprehension, design, language, and calculations to establish if there were issues for New Zealand consumers when it came to understanding their telco bills. The study included an online forum, focus groups, and in-depth interviews, and covered the general population as well as minority and vulnerable groups including over 65s, Māori and Pasifika, low socio economic, people with English as a second language, and vision impaired consumers.
Key insights from this study included:
  • Consumers can be passive about investigating price changes (month to month) and additional charges.
  • Billing information varies significantly depending on telco and customer type.
  • Certain segments of more vulnerable customers experience additional challenges when it comes to understanding their telco bill.
Perceptive has also been running a nationwide telco satisfaction tracker for the Commission since 2022 across both residential and SME markets, to understand New Zealand consumers’ satisfaction with retail service quality. The study measures satisfaction across a range of factors including overall service, functionality (i.e. coverage, speed, data quality etc.), customer service, and issue resolution. From this study, the Commission can track the measures over time to gauge whether retail service quality is improving to reflect the demands of consumers.

Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust Board

In 2022, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust partnered with Perceptive to enhance their understanding of stakeholder experiences and needs. Insights from this project were used to inform the Trust’s Mana Tāmaki strategy and improve the organisation’s effectiveness across three core areas:

  • Enhancing the financial and economic returns for iwi members.
  • Advancing the cultural, social and environmental goals of iwi.
  • Exercising mana whenua, where the Trust is involved with consultation on local governance programmes, especially related to cultural, environmental and social outcomes.

The project engaged several stakeholder groups, including:

  • Iwi leaders
  • Local and central government
  • Non-government Māori organisation
  • Education institutions
  • Private enterprises.

Recognising the diverse range of stakeholders involved, a dual approach was adopted, employing a blend of online interviews and computer-assisted telephone interviews. These interactions were conducted in both English and te reo Māori. Given the varied composition of stakeholders, a paramount consideration was the need to uphold a high degree of sensitivity throughout the process.

Perceptive, in close collaboration with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Trust, managed all aspects of the project from research design and data collection to analysis and the creation of a comprehensive insights report.

Covid-19 Insights Tracker

This research surveyed a nationally representative sample of 1,000 New Zealanders each week on a variety of topics related to the crisis and their subsequent attitudes and behaviours. The results were made available via an interactive dashboard hosted on the Perceptive website as a free resource to the New Zealand business community.

Since then, organisations have continued to find value in the tracker’s insights with the New Zealand Treasury referencing its findings in two reports: Our wellbeing throughout the COVID-19 pandemic
and Te Tai Waiora: Wellbeing in Aotearoa New Zealand 2022.

Mind & Matters

In 2023, with the world—and New Zealand—continuing to experience change on multiple fronts, Perceptive and Sapien took the best of the Covid-19 Insight Tracker to produce Mind & Matters, a comprehensive check-in on the state-of-mind of the New Zealand public.

Mind & Matters is designed to help businesses and leaders better understand public sentiment. From macro trends to behaviours and attitudes towards key interest areas, such as job security, personal finance, mental health, the environment and more.

Like the Covid-19 Insights Tracker, Mind & Matters is freely distributed and published on the Perceptive website as a free resource to the business community.

Visit website

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)

When MBIE wanted to better understand perceptions of product safety across a range of consumer products, they commissioned Perceptive to run a two-part study with consumer and business audiences.

For consumers, MBIE wanted to understand how much consumers think about product safety during the purchase process, the usefulness of product safety labelling and other communications, and how to report a product safety issue as well as the barriers to doing so. For businesses across the product supply chain, MBIE wanted to understand the product safety steps put in place, the extent to which businesses investigate product safety up the supply chain, and how they deal with product safety complaints.

This project included focus groups, in-depth interviews, and surveys with a wide range of New Zealand consumers including vulnerable and hard-to-reach consumers (elderly consumers, Māori and Pasifika and people with disabilities). The study also included in-depth interviews with business decision-makers in relevant industries and industry bodies.

Our work provided MBIE with key insights around the credibility of safety messages and sources of information, barriers to making product safety complaints, and attitudes towards risk and responsibility. A comprehensive set of recommendations for both consumer and business audiences were provided to the MBIE team.

Health Quality and Safety Commission (HQSC)

Members of our team have conducted multiple projects on behalf of the HQSC. These include:

Surgical Safety Culture Survey (SSCS)

In 2011, HQSC began rolling out a suite of evidence-based teamwork and communications-based interventions to DHBs and private surgical providers.

In 2015, our team members started evaluating the impact of these interventions with a baseline study, followed by subsequent evaluation and monitoring in 2017, 2019 and finally in 2023. The team worked closely with nominated Safe Surgery Champions across all 20 DHBs to ensure surveys reached as wide an audience as possible. The results of each survey were used to inform changes in interventions and ongoing communication messaging.

This research tracked changes in attitudes and behaviours including the extent of briefing and debriefing, internal culture and communication, surgical leadership, patient care, and teamwork.

Mental Health and Addiction / tāngata whaiora

Members of our team began working with mental health and addiction staff and consumers in 2018, with follow up research in 2019 and 2022. A major challenge of this project was that a single ‘staff’ survey needed to be relevant to, and able to be answered by, a wide range of roles across the sector including nurses, doctors, community and peer support workers and family support staff.

To create a consistent and inclusive set of questions covering a wide range of topics, the team conducted several face-to-face interviews and ran comprehensive cognitive testing on the survey questions and topics. With no direct access to staff contact details, our team members worked closely with key people, resulting in a final survey response of over 2,500 mental health and addiction staff.

A similar approach was also taken with the consumer (tāngata whaiora) survey, which included a significant focus on Māori experiences with mental health and addiction services.

Infrastructure Commission (Infracom)

In 2020, members of our team conducted research on behalf of Infrastructure Commission.

The Commission required a baseline study of the current state of infrastructure in New Zealand from the perspective of the owners of that infrastructure (i.e. local and central government, CCOs, and the health, transport, energy and waste sectors). This baseline would inform the development of a 30-year infrastructure strategy.

Buy-in to this approach was key. The survey largely consisted of open-ended questions and was long and complex. To this end, the team worked directly with key infrastructure teams across all of these organisations to optimise engagement and to ensure that the outputs were meaningful and actionable. The survey approach was also highly flexible, both in terms of timing and ensuring different team members could provide their input at different points.

This work highlighted key consistent challenges across different infrastructure owners as well as outlier challenges. Key themes included:

  • The impact of climate change and natural hazards.
  • The need for flexible sources of funding and financing.
  • The need for building appropriate workforce skills.
  • Required changes to the regulatory environment,
  • The need to evolve business models and decision-making processes.

Everyone who took part was provided with a timely summary of the key findings and next steps.

Land Information New Zealand (LINZ)

In 2020, members of our team conducted research on behalf of Land Information New Zealand (LINZ).

In 2019, the LINZ Annual Report outlined a need for LINZ to be more strategic, innovative and customer facing in the delivery of its services to New Zealanders. To this end, LINZ commissioned an audience research study to inform decision-making around the organisation’s future positioning for its communications, channel selections, brand architecture, and visual identity. Of particular interest was to understand how LINZ could better educate their users, customers and stakeholders about their services and encourage them to engage with them more.

This project covered all four LINZ business areas—the Overseas Investment Office, Crown Property, Location Information, and Property Rights—and comprised of 164 in-depth interviews and two surveys with a combined sample size of over 3,000 respondents. Audience segments included the general public, iwi, private sector organisations, other government agencies, farmers, NGOs and the scientific community.

An unintended but highly useful outcome of this project was the LINZ team gaining an understanding of how the public views land information with regards to its social, economic, and spatial contributions, rather than simply as serving a legal and property ownership function.

As a researcher, consumer experience, and insights specialist, working with Perceptive on the different projects they undertook for Consumer Protection team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was always exciting. The level of expertise that sat in the room and the discussion we had, enunciated the fact that Perceptive understands their client’s needs and are very flexible and receptive to feedback. They also ensure you are getting the best value by advising you on the best line of action.

—Dr. Ruth Wilfred-Orhoevwri, Senior Market Researcher at Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment – Hīkina Whakatutuki


Social and environmental responsibility

At Perceptive, we prioritise being a great employer and nurturing an inclusive culture that values personal growth and continuous improvement.

As part of this commitment, we regularly conduct employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS) and engagement surveys. This provides us with invaluable feedback that helps us understand how we can better support our employees, enhance their experiences, and create an environment where they can thrive. Perceptive’s most recent survey returned an eNPS of +56.

Our focus on employee experience has seen the establishment of a dedicated Employee Experience Team and the subsequent introduction of several work-life balance and well-being initiatives including hybrid working, remote working, give-back days (e.g. tree planting), fundraising events, health and well-being workshops, and cultural celebration days.


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With a team of inquisitive minds behind us, we'll harness analytical research, deep dives into human behaviour, creative thinking and the power of technology to help you connect with stakeholders and gain a high-definition picture of the unique ecosystem your organisation operates within.