Three things the public service needs for API-driven innovation

Culture, not technology, is the roadblock to innovation in the public service, according to one “digital disrupter”. She shares her experience with the NSW government on data-driven projects.

The main roadblocks to the Australian government’s new innovation agenda are not technology focused but aspects of the public service culture, says “chief disrupter” Anne-Marie Elias.

Optimistic for real outcomes from the Innovation Statement announced last year by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Elias has enough public service and ministerial advisory experience under her belt to be pragmatic, pointing to three key enablers that will be the “devil in the detail” of whether the innovation strategy can succeed.

She believes a seachange in procurement practices, a willingness to publish flawed data in the open and a widening of the conversation to avoid the “usual stakeholders syndrome” will be what really makes or breaks the success of the federal, or any state, government innovation strategy. “We prototyped the model in North Sydney through The Collective NSW and scaled it across two-thirds of the state within 12 months.”

In 2014, Elias led an experimental change management program within the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services. It aimed to take a fresh look at the intractable problems of supporting the state’s most vulnerable families who had often been through generational cycles of support services and low incomes.

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