Smart Government Australia 2011 Conference – My account of Day 1

OK. It’s good to get back into Govloop.

I recently spoke at the Smart Government Conference held in Canberra, Australia. I also chaired the first day – tiring, but fun.

Not all the conference papers are available just yet, but I want to do is share my account of day 1 of the conference with you. I’ll update this post when the rest of the papers are made available.

I’ll also be interested in seeing what comment, if any, you have on my presentation and paper.

In my opening remarks I spoke about the theme of people power and what meant for our institutions. In my comments I emphasised the need for authenticity. Here are the notes for my opening comments. I spoke around them, but these notes should give you a feel for where I was coming from. Then to our first speaker Senator Kate Lundy – I managed to rustle up some extracts of interviews with Kate from quite a while back to illustrate how far ahead of the game Kate’s ideas were over 13 years ago.

Kate’s keynote address was inspirational, practical and emphasised the progress that has been made. Kate also said that placing social media in PR/Marketing areas was a big mistake and was a fair indication that people just don’t get it (social media). Kate’s comments on this also related to the need for authenticity. Kate is a firm believer in the need for authenticity in when engaging with the community.

Unfortunately, Kate’s keynote address was not recorded. However, the gist of it was how much things had changed, more needed to be done and that we were living in exciting times. Kate also pointed out the achievements of government. APS Reform, Innovation and Gov 2.0. Fantastic stuff for sure.

It was then onto Glenn Archer, First Assistant Secretary Policy and Planning Division, AGIMO. Glenn’s presentation on improving the productivity and capability of Government was very informative. Among other things Glenn highlighted the challenges posed in todays environment where, in a nutshell, citizens expected more from government and the public service. Not just in terms of service delivery, but in terms of opportunities for collaboration.

A considerable part of Glenn’s presentation was spent outlining AGIMO’s new IT roadmap (my words not Glenn’s). It is a work in progress at this stage, but from what we saw very comprehensive. Yes collaboration and engagement are in there. When Glenn’s presentation slides are available I will post them.

Next we had the inspirational Darren Whitelaw, Senior Communications Strategist, 360m. Darren talked about progress with Gov 2.0. It was great stuff so go check out his Gov 2.0 Report Card. The take aways for me were don’t treat social media as as a broadcast tool, be authentic and that we are still saddled with areas that just don’t get social media.

Then it was on to yours truly. My presentation was simply entitled Public service renaissance. I stressed that while there is progress the culture of the public service was still problematic. I drew a path looking at the public service through a renaissance lens, corporatised organisational story telling, the need to capture raw stories, the darker side of public service culture, six pillars of a public service renaissance and the need for a means of open and safe disclosure. I then put forward the idea of an APS culture app.

Here are my documents.

Public service renaissance paper – Pages, Word and PDF formats

Public service renaissance presentation – Keynote, PowerPoint and PDF formats

Here is a one pager showing the six pillars of a public service renaissance.

The fifth pillar (Values) was updated to Public service (as in what we do), after listening to the wonderful New South Wales Information Commissioner on the second day of the conference.

So all in all the morning was a combination of the positive and practical with a strong emphasis on the culture of the public service.

So imagine my surprise when the afternoon became one where the focus was very much one of ‘just do it’ (social media), from agencies working in the cultural sphere. We had fantastic presentations from Monique Potts, Producer and Project Manager, ABC and Tony Watson, Chief Information Officer, National Film and Sound Archive. Their can do and innovative approach really sets an example for the rest of the APS.

We then heard from Tom Burton, Executive Manager Gov 2.0, Stakeholder and Communications, Australian Communications & Media Authority. Tom is a walking social media encyclopaedia. It would be well worth asking Tom to speak to people in any organisation. Again, a just do it approach.

After our panel discussion – How to show leadership to implement new programs we heard from the wonderful Eileen Culleton Emergency Gov 2.0 Wiki visionary and project leader. Eileen’s presentation was fantastic and, for me, put everything on a human scale. It was great to finally meet Eileen.

Lastly we had a hook up with Detlef Eckert, Director Policy Coordination and Strategy, Directorate-General for the Information Society and Media, European Commission. If you think we have challenges in Australia just imagine those associated with a whole of EU approach.

And in between all of this the Digital Culture Public Sphere was launched. Talk about serendipity.

A great day, an inspirational day. With great people.

And talk about timely. The new ACMA Engage website has just been released.

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