The APS gets another 'innovation hub' for cross-agency projects

By The Mandarin

August 29, 2018

The Digital Transformation Agency has opened a new work space dedicated to cross-agency collaboration, according to the Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan.

“I am pleased today to launch the Digital Transformation Agency’s first co-Lab Innovation Hub (co-Lab), providing a dedicated space and resources for government agencies to come together to collaborate on new and innovative digital projects,” said Keenan in a statement this morning.

“Cross-agency collaboration is essential for the effective delivery of government services and fundamental to our focus on transforming the way Australians interact with their government.”

The Mandarin understands the new innovation lab is located in Surry Hills, and the reference to this one as “the first” co-Lab in the statement hints that there might be more in other locations if the model is successful.

Update: the DTA revealed the plan is to open another co-Lab in Canberra towards the end of this year in a later statement posted on the agency’s website.

Keenan said the purpose of co-Lab was to “enable multi-disciplinary teams from different government agencies to work together, in partnership with the DTA’s own experts and private sector specialists” and the Department of Human Services would be the first department hosted at the new facility.

According to the minister, this is because DHS is “in the midst of one of the world’s largest business-led IT system transformations” — a reference to the Welfare Payments Infrastructure Transformation project.

“The engagement with co-Lab will drive better and more coordinated digital service delivery across not only DHS, but the wider government,” Keenan said, but he did not specify exactly what capabilities the comparatively tiny DTA could bring to the project that the giant DHS lacked.

The new innovation lab will also link with the IT industry, and contribute to developing IT skills in the APS, according to the minister: “co-Lab will also engage with innovative businesses to identify and adopt new approaches and best practices and gain insights into the latest technology to improve the delivery of government services.”

“co-Lab will also help accelerate DTA’s goal of lifting digital capabilities within and across government, delivering on the government’s commitment to build digital skills and expertise within the Australian Public Service.”

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