Champion innovation, Turnbulls urge at Mandarin launch


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The Mandarin hosted an impromptu debate on innovation in the public sector at our official launch in Canberra last night. Is it bureaucrats or ministers who are risk averse?

Public servants must speak truth to power, former Sydney lord mayor Lucy Turnbull urged at a launch for this esteemed publication last night. And then her husband and a former top bureaucrat offered some competing truths of their own.

The magnum was cracked over The Mandarin at the National Press Club in Canberra, where a gathering of government players and supporters heard from Turnbull and The Mandarin team on the new venue for public sector leaders in Australia.

Former Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary and Institute of Public Administration Australia president Terry Moran opened proceedings by extolling the importance of discussion and debate on policymaking, as an “antidote to the more misleading and superficial commentary that tries to pass itself as public debate”. He opined:

“If you look at the website that we’re launching tonight, there’s a page on it called The Crane. It’s a reference to Chinese imperial bureaucracy — where your public service rank was shown by a large material badge with a bird on it.

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  • Svarkie

    How disappointing to read this article; especially when so many of us are championing innovation in our agencies. Leading cultural change is only made more difficult when the broader community and media are telling our staff that they are not innovative. Over a third of the staff in our agency have submitted ideas for improvement. Many of these are great examples of simple changes that would generate improvements for our members, savings to the bottom line, or new and better ways of doing business. A number of these ideas have already provided significant business benefits. The Public Sector Innovation Network has also been showcasing innovations that are happening right across the APS.