Gary Banks: ANZSOG conference takeaways

Technology and cynicism in the Information Age prompted questions of transparency and engagement at this week’s ANZSOG conference. The school’s dean, Professor Gary Banks, outlines some key themes and ideas from the unashamedly “insiders” event of the year.

ANZSOG’s annual conference is unashamedly an insiders event. It is the setting for a lively conversation about issues that matter to senior public sector managers. And it is enlivened by both academics and practitioners from what this year’s dinner speaker, Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Chris Eccles, called the “public purpose sector”.

But it is not an exclusive event. The couple of days spent in Melbourne involved nearly 300 people who shared an interest in the conference theme of “Transparency and Engagement in the Information Age“.

Did they get value for money? I guess we will find out as the evaluations roll in. But the only complaint I have heard so far was about the difficulty of mentally processing all the information and ideas that emerged. Fortunately, we had already decided to issue a “proceedings” earlier than usual this year, which hopefully will help.