Ministry for Primary Industries


Sustainable Land-use Information Portal.

Faced with the challenges of climate change, emissions trading schemes, water quality and changing markets, landowners now, more than ever, need access to data that assists them in making better land use decisions. We worked with The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to design, prototype and test a tool that surfaces data-driven insights for exactly this purpose.

The goal

The aim of this project was to validate the need for a data-driven tool for landowners and what features it would need to be successful. The analysis of this testing, combined with research into data sources available to MPI, formed the foundations of a plan for delivering the first release of the tool to market.

Mapping the decision making process

In order to understand at which points in the decision making journey data would be useful, we interviewed farm advisors, agribusiness bankers, an Economic Development Agency (EDA) and advisors from MPI. These interviews shaped our understanding of the entire land use change journey, as well as which insights the tool should prioritise over others.

Decision making process diagram.

We then developed a medium-fidelity prototype to test our hypotheses with advisors and land owners. Our testing validated the need for this kind of tool and formed the beginnings of a long-term roadmap for MPI.

Prototype, test, repeat

After testing with ‘dummy’ data in round one, the next step was to get real data into the tool and test whether it would still hold up in a real-world scenario. During this phase we developed and tested three medium-fidelity prototypes, each time using the results from prior tests to inform the next iteration.

It’s not just about data

Throughout our interactions with advisors and landowners, we came across a recurring theme. Our data-driven insights were often met with a ‘So what?’ moment. It became clear that the tool would need to be supported by qualitative content, case studies and contact information for real people to talk to next.

Post it notes with key findings

Adapting during lockdown

Due to the impact of Covid-19, we modified our user testing methodology to include remote testing. This methodology worked better than expected and this new approach gave us the ability to test our prototypes further afield than we first hoped for.

Project in numbers


Interviews and tests.


Hours of research.