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Home Features How realistic is a public agency that acts like a start-up?
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PEOPLEMalcolm Turnbull, Roy Green, Matthew Salier, Kristin Alford
DEPARTMENTSDigital Transformation Office
TAGS innovation, Entrepreneurship, Matthew Salier
The idea of replicating the mythical low-cost innovation of a start-up in government is increasingly popular. But there are limits to what bureaucrats can learn from business, experts tell The Mandarin.
The elusive goal: emulate the best examples of private sector innovation in government. Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has been a long-time advocate, and now has a “Digital Transformation Office” to test the theory.
But how realistic is a start-up mentality inside government?
There’s clearly fundamental differences between a team of public servants and a successful start-up. But business professor Roy Green believes there’s no reason why some of the key elements like design-led innovation and disruptive business models can’t be imported into the public sector. It just might not be the actual small start-ups that offer the best examples to follow.
Green suggests governments follow the lead of large corporations. Faced with competition from small, low-cost start-ups, many are trying to harness the same kind of creative energy through internal start-ups and business incubators. These in-house innovation efforts build on the idea of a Skunk Works — a research and development team given the latitude to tinker with new ideas — but take it a few steps further.
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The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
Stephen Easton is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Canberra. He's previously reported for Canberra CityNews and worked on industry titles for The Intermedia Group.
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