Attending this two-day conference with a bunch of government folks to discuss all tings open government, Web 2.0 and innovation. It is being co-hosted by CISCO and the Centre for Social Impact. Here’s my notes from today’s session.

Session 1: Revitalising Participatory Democracy

  • Governments are recognising the need for greater community input to government.
  • Public services in transition between 20th century model to 21st century one – from government control to citizen engagement; from bureaucracy to democracy.
  • Starting point not public sector reform, but promoting innovation, open and transparent government and citizen engagement.
  • Public sector reform cannot come solely from within – needs a bold vision and collaborative networks.
  • Public servants will be intermediaries
  • Technology cannot create new participatory form of government, it needs a change in mindset
  • Two things need to change – structure and culture. Junior public servants and those at the coalface need to be given greater authority and latitude to provide information and make decisions at the community level. Leadership needs to be transformative with more emphasis on skills that encourage collaboration and partnerships.

Session 2 A new manifesto for Public Sector Innovation: A global perspective Dr John Kao

  • 98 million references to innovation on Google!
  • “Creativity is the universal human ability to generate new ideas, Innovation is creativity applied to a purpose to realise value.”
  • “Innovation refers to the set of societal capabilities that allow the continuous achievement of a desired future state by transforming what is possible to what is valuable.”
  • Innovation is not “a thing” it is not a point, it is a territory. It is science and art; engineering and design; incremental and disruption; top down and bottom up; inside out and outside in; public and private. It is complex.
  • Old skills don’t fit new needs – now require big picture, risk embracing, judgements made on gut feel personal values, openness of creative process.
  • The big challenges of the day are “Wicked” – see here for more on wicked challenges.
  • Innovation is important as we have to do more with less.
  • How to do innovation – it’s complex. New disciplines for doing innovation are conceptual clarity;big idea/vision; establish a sense of urgency; communicating for alignment – taking about “it”; enabling what is emergent – balance what we know with what we don’t
  • Doing the work using design thinking – intense collaboration, focus on customers, process and ideation skills, prototype and iteration, improvisation, failure as an integral part of the process.
  • Social media’s power to affect the commons is real.
  • Innovation stewardship – someone in an org needs to take on this role, whether it’s the CEO or someone else. Need a strategy and to resource it.
  • Need to manage the paradoxes of innovation, constant management of things in oppositions, e.g. operations vs. experimental; traditions and the new; the know and emergent; continuity and surprise.

There is a live Twitter feed that you can follow here. The hash tag is #anzpss

More tomorrow!