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A better tomorrow requires change today

Pia Andrews, Guest Post. 17 October 2018, 8:33 am
A better tomorrow requires change today

Editor's note: Pia Andrews is known to many in the New Zealand digital space as a thought leader in terms of governments use of digital technology. Currently based in Australia, Andrews is the executive director of the New South Wales' government's Digital Government unit, and is working to build "Policy and Innovation for all of government, an agenda including open government, digital transformation, technology, open and shared data, information policy, government as a platform, public innovation, service innovation and policy innovation."


"The best way to predict the future is to invent it." Alan Kay

Digital government means many things to many people. It could be about digital channels for service delivery, process automation, perhaps even emerging technologies and trends.

In the New South Wales government, "Digital Government" is so much more. It is about understanding and embracing the social and technological changes of our times, moving from centralised to distributed systems, from closed to open and more. It is an ambitious, optimistic and inclusive agenda to co-design a better future where all people can thrive.

We want to tackle the necessary transformation of our public services for a better future, from policy to services and everything in between. We also want to model more collaborative, open and inclusive ways for how public services can work with the sectors, communities and citizens we serve.

After all, if we don't actually change anything today, how can we expect a different tomorrow? More urgently, if public sectors don't embrace change rather than just respond to it, how can we be resilient in the face of exponential change, or effective in serving the public?

This is an open invitation to the people and organisations of NSW as well as our Local, Federal and international colleagues to join us in the journey to collaboratively create a better tomorrow. We want to work with you and show what is possible.

So, who are we? Apologies in advance for the acronyms. We are the Digital Government Policy and Innovation (DGPI) Branch in the NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI). We report to the Government Chief Information and Digital Officer (GCIDO) Greg Wells, and we are led by Pia Andrews, our Executive Director for Digital Government. We also work closely with other NSW Government functions including the Office of the Customer Service Commissioner (CSC) and Data Analytics Centre (DAC), and across all NSW Government agencies. We also collaborate closely with all the other GCIDO Branches, namely the CISO, ICT Procurement, ICT Investment, Government Technology Platforms, ICT Assurance, Spatial Services and the NSW Telco AuthorityDFSI as well as with our colleagues in Service NSW.

Our Digital Government strategic goals are:

  1. Delivery of measurable benefits & service improvements for the people & communities of NSW across the entire gov system.
  2. To model new ways for modern public services to innovate, collaborate & work more openly, empathetically and effectively across agencies, jurisdictions and sectors.
  3. Demonstrate & enable meaningful all-of-public service transformation of strategy, policy, systems, services & culture.
  4. Establish government as a social & economic platform upon which individuals, communities and businesses can thrive (GaaP)
  5. Establish systemic levers to drive all-of-government behaviours from our public institutions.

We have five teams, each focused on a key aspect to support and lead digital transformation across NSW Government. Let us know what you think:

  • Policy Lab our policy team is focused on modernising our policy practice, working across policy communities, Ministerial support, and of course, the policy areas that underpin digital government: technology, emerging trends, data, information (in collab with the data team). We will be exploring and demonstrating more innovative, collaborative and open approaches to policy development.
  • The DNA (digital.NSW Accelerator) - our accelerator and service innovation lab has three key functions. Firstly to work with agencies to support and accelerate digital transformation and design led service initiatives. Secondly to collaboratively map and understand the holistic life journeys of NSW citizens to inform areas for service improvements and all of system transformation initiative, and finally to explore and prototype the reusable components and digital public infrastructure we need for the future.
  • Data Policy & Practice - this team is the heart of our use of data for evidence drive driven policy and work across our Branch, but also provides all-of-government support, policy, leadership and collaboration for dMarketplace, the NSW Government program for unlocking the potential of data for better social and economic outcomes.
  • Innovation (Partnerships & Pipeline) - this team coordinates and engages with cross sector partners in innovation and digital transformation, and will maintain and all of government CX Pipeline to help agencies and all of government prioritisation and investment. This team is based at the StartupHub in Sydney, so please drop in to say hello :)
  • Digital Transformation - this team will develop and maintain the NSW Gov Digital Design System as a mechanism to support greater digital transformation across government, and will use system thinking, prospective design and collaboration to co-design better futures for NSW, which helps us understand some of the levers, digital public infrastructure and transformation opportunities we need to explore.

More generally though, we invite you to please discuss, support and constructively contribute to the public services you engage with to be what you need them to be. A little better isn't going to scale to the exponential needs gap emerging in our communities, and an effective public sector is an important part of a modern democracy. We believe it is important to build up the expertise and capability of public sectors to build better public services.

Comments welcome below. We are collaborating with our HR folk to announce a Digital Talent Pool in the coming weeks which you can apply for. Contact us on [email protected] if you want to talk to us about collaborating, if you are interested in coming to us on secondment from another agency, or if you want to chat about what we are trying to do :)

We believe the public sector can and should be a social and economic platform upon which society can thrive. A node in a network, not a king in a castle. Please help us make it so.

Pia Andrews is the Executive Director Digital Government, Policy & Innovation Department of Finance, Services and Innovation in New South Wales. Cross-posted with kind permission.


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