In October 2019, when the organisers of the Business Improvement and Innovation in Government (BiiG) conference farewelled over 800 public servants at their sell-out conference, they quickly turned their minds to plans for an even better event for 2020.
Early in the new year, the event was themed around the emerging ideas of a “new public work”, using 2020 as the perfect opportunity for a major reset for public innovation.
Three big themes – empathy, competence and trust were carefully chosen.
And then COVID19 happened.
What was already looking like a solid frame for the event, hosted by the Queensland Government, that has grown into one of Australia’s best and most creative conferences for public sector innovation, suddenly began to look even stronger.
By the end of March, as planning for the highly anticipated BiiG conference was mobilising, the “faculty” of contributors was an impressive mix of practical leadership and local and global thinking for better government – Christian Bason, Geoff Mulgan, Sarah Pearson, Genevieve Bell, Carolyn Evans, Glyn Davis, Ian Williamson, Anne Tiernan and Carolyn Curtis. The planning started to look positively prescient.
In so many ways, the business of government and the work of the public sector around Australia have been dramatically disrupted.
Now being held on 16 and 17 February 2021, in a new mix of physical (Brisbane) and virtual platforms, BiiG2021 will explore the many ways disruption has and is playing out.
We think it’s time to think again about public sector innovation and the way we tackle the big challenges facing us all.
Innovation in government, policy reforms and new approaches to service design and delivery can often feel like a giant jigsaw – there are many pieces to the puzzle but how do they fit together?
What COVID19 has demonstrated, often with brute force and breathtaking speed, is that we are doing some things well, but we can do better. And we need to act fast, as the agenda of big risks and opportunities in a very different and rapidly changing world becomes more crowded, connected and complex.
We have to reset, and that’s our purpose for BiiG2021.
A conference like no other, the February event will explore different patterns and possibilities for governments, business, universities and research, the start-up and innovation sector, and the community – to create public value and a positive impact on people’s lives.
We’ll see the way different pieces of reform and innovation are coming together as the “new public work”. That means new ways of working that improve performance and reinforce enduring values of good government and a high performing public sector.
It also means new ways to solve problems and, at the same time, gradually change underlying conditions and complex systems.
This is public work that more than ever blends the skills, resources and expertise of big institutions, public and private, community networks, solidarity and service. It is work that involves intense and disciplined experiments of policy, design and entrepreneurship, drawing more effectively than ever on the wisdom and experience of ordinary life.
We’ll hear from leaders and thinkers here and internationally who are helping to shape this public purpose work, that drives the quality of our lives.
The BiiG Network is an internal network within the Queensland Government, hosted by Queensland Treasury.
Griffith University are the Major Sponsor.
The Mandarin is Exclusive Media Partner.
Early Bird Registrations are now open for the live (in-person) event. Virtual Passes are also now available Australia wide.
The BiiG Network is led by Manager Rebecca Hannan.
Martin Stewart-Weeks is a public policy expert who consults on program design for the event.