[Originally published on the Australian Government Public Sector Innovation Network under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY AU licence]
Forget the box! Don’t just think outside of the box, forget it entirely!
That was just one piece of advice that was discussed at the 2nd Western Australian Public Service innovation workshop on Thursday 24 November in Perth. It was a great event with a lot of energy and enthusiasm for how to do things better and some good ideas were put forward.
The theme of the day was collaborative partnerships in action. Speakers included:
- Dr Terry Cutler, who spoke about how the fundamentals of the innovation system remain unchanged, but the nature of innovation is changing. Megashocks and megatrends are shaping innovation and these changes make collaboration in the innovation process more important (but possibly more difficult)
- Hon. David Bartlett, who talked about the necessary preconditions for successfully exploiting disruptive new internet technologies and applying them to solving long-standing public policy problems
- David Shi, speaking about the NSW Department of Transport’s experience with using the platform Kaggle to hold a data competition to get better information for predicting transport times for motorists
- Carolyn Curtis, describing the Family by Family project at the Australian Centre for Social Innovationusing co-design to help families in crisis
- Brodie McCulloch from Social Innovation in Western Australia (SiiWA) talking about the work being done to support businesses and entrepreneurs to deliver social goods, and
- Myself, giving an overview of the public sector innovation toolkit.
We also heard from Western Australia’s Chief Scientist, Professor Lyn Beazley, on the innovation context in WA.
The afternoon involved discussions about specific innovation issues and actions that could be taken to address them. A number of the issues discussed were things I had heard before in other forums (or encountered myself). This reinforced for me the message of the day – that collaboration is essential when innovating in the public sector. Many of the problems faced will be similar across jurisdictions, agencies, and work groups, so the more that we can share information and experiences, the easier the innovation process will be.
It was a valuable event and it was good to see the enthusiasm for innovation from public sector colleagues in Western Australia. I confidently look forward to hearing about future innovations from the WA public service!