Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Digital Government in Canberra

Greetings from the Australian Computer Society Canberra Branch where Miguel Carrasco is speaking on "Accelerating the digital government transformation".

The Prime Minister and Minister for Communications announced the "Australian Government Digital Transformation Office" (DTO) on 23 January 2015:
 "... so that government services can be delivered digitally from start to finish and better serve the needs of citizens and businesses ... The DTO will operate more like a start-up than a traditional government agency, focussing on end-user needs in developing digital services.".

Miguel Carrasco commented that the Australian Communications Minister is "enamored" with the UK Government approach to digital services. This, I suggest is not new, with the former Australian Government Chief Information Officer (AGCIO), Ann Steward, having spent some time as Director e-Government in the UK Cabinet Office. The DTO has issued a draft Digital Service Standard, based on the UK Government standard.

Miguel described the setting up a DTO as acting as a "beacon for talent", but said they did not have more than six months to produce results. He claimed that the start-up talent needed was not in Canberra. But he did not acknowledge the work of the ACT Government funded Canberra Innovation Network (CBRIN) which is fostering startups in Canberra. I just came from CBRIN, where former Senator, Kate Lundy, chair of the startup company Welcomer, has  launched of a new product which could be used by government agencies, as well as corporations.

In my view, new and existing professionals can be trained to undertake start-up functions. The ANU is doing this with their TechLauncher program (I have a team of students working on an education product).

Also the ACS runs a 12 week on-line course "New Technology Alignment" on how to identify such transformations in organizations (I am tutoring the course and the students are up to week 8 at present).

One aspect of DTO is the question of how it will work with the shared service functions in government.

ps: At the moment I am designing an innovation course specially tailored for Canberra and will be discussing it in "Innovations in teaching innovation" at CSIRO ICT Centre on the ANU campus, 4pm, 27 April 2015.

1 comment:

Kevin Cox said...

A DTO startup to encourage talent to come to Canberra could be one of the first DTO startups. Every large organisation on the planet seems to have its Innovation Centre. The British Government funds an Innovation Group in London. The Federal Government could even build on CBR Innovate and the Griffith Centre.

Canberra has plenty of empty office space that could be used for startups. The Federal Government was built on a culture of startups where the startups were the departments that moved to Canberra. People came because there were opportunities and the government built affordable housing. Set up good services like CBR Innovate, accommodation like Entry29, funding like the Griffin Accelerator, convert some offices to low rent accommodation and those willing to "give it a go" will come.