SA finding success with its safe place to fail: 90-day projects


South Australia's new public service commissioner

South Australia has now completed 63 Change@SA projects allowing government to work better. SA Public Sector Commissioner Erma Ranieri told the ANZSOG conference she wants the 90-day project idea to “go viral” among the state’s 100K employees.

Change@SA has helped facilitate a range of innovations including allowing nurse-led hospital discharges and reducing fishing licence application times, and South Australia’s Commissioner for Public Sector Employment Erma Ranieri hopes others will take up the state’s innovative approach to push change themselves.

Key to this has been the 90-day project concept, which aims to achieve concrete changes to services, engagement, productivity or organisational performance within a 3-month timespan. For a sector often maligned as being slow to react and poor at innovation, the condensed timeline is designed to counteract the inertia that often swallows up other initiatives.

Importantly, it “gave us a chance to fail, and if we did, we got out really quick,” Ranieri told the Australia and New Zealand School of Government conference last month. “So for trialing it’s just perfect.”

It’s helping to build a culture “that celebrates innovation”, she argues.

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