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APS Innovation Week 2012

A number of Australian Public Service agencies are working together this year on Innovation Week 2012. Innovation Week is about collaboration and creativity – sharing new ideas, solutions and ways of thinking in order to get better results and outcomes by the public sector.
 
It’s a chance for public servants to hear about some of the great and innovative things happening in the public sector and elsewhere, to participate in a range of hands-on projects, and to think about innovation in the context of their own work. There are a number of open events as well as closed/agency specific events. Why not have a look at the scheduled events and see if you would like to attend one?
 
Innovation Week 2012 is supported by the leaders of the APS. The Innovation Action Plan, which was signed by the Portfolio Secretaries, stated that “Recognising that long term value is captured through dissemination and diffusion of innovations, the APS and its agencies will institute mechanisms to recognise, celebrate and share innovation efforts. This will be done by … agencies holding innovation themed events to discuss, share and celebrate public sector innovation within their agencies.

From the Innovation Policy team at the Departmentment of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.

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28 Responses to
APS Innovation Week 2012
Savanna100 10:16 am
24 May 12
#1

Pity the APS “Command and Control” mindset won’t be looking at a US innovation called “Results Only Work Environments” (read more at http://www.gorowe.com) this idea is based on allowing employees complete flexibility so long as the work gets done. A quote for their website (below) explains it but I
reckon it’s beyond a bridge too far for the control freaks in the upper echelons of the APS.

“ROWE recognizes that life is an individual experience and that no two lives are identical — and leverages this to achieve better performance from each individual. ROWE is not Flextime. ROWE is not Telecommuting. ROWE is not Job?Sharing. ROWE is not about allowing your people to work from home a couple of days per week. In a Results-Only company or department, employees can do whatever they want whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. No more pointless meetings, racing to get in at 9:00 am, or begging for permission to watch your kid play soccer. No more cramming errands into the weekend, or waiting until retirement to take up your hobbies again. You make the decisions about what you do and where you do it, every minute of every day.”

Overheard 10:41 am
24 May 12
#2

There’s something of an irony in that this statement: “Recognising that long term value is captured through dissemination and diffusion of innovations, the APS and its agencies will institute mechanisms to recognise, celebrate and share innovation efforts. This will be done by … agencies holding innovation themed events to discuss, share and celebrate public sector innovation within their agencies.” would rate into the red on the Gunning Fog Index of obfuscation and verbosity.

http://gunning-fog-index.com/

Many years ago, the term ‘walk the talk’ was all the rage with the then Public Service Commission. It’s a phrase that usually makes me want to vomit, but intrinsically, that’s the challenge for any organisation, public/private/NFP/community: why not do one or two of the things we said we’d do? (That’s about the only show tune I’ll take lifestyle advice from, thank you Juan Peron.)

Otherwise they’re just pretty words to bandy around and look good in preambles to corporate and business plans. But does the organisation/agency/department REALLY want its minions busting the mold and doing something ‘courageous’ (thank you, Sir Humphrey)?

Actions always speak louder than words. So I will now shut up and note that these views are mine and mine alone (that bloody Evita again!!) and do not reflect any official or unofficial position of any public or private organisation I am involved with other than Overheard Productions.

poetix 10:52 am
24 May 12
#3

‘This will be done by … agencies holding innovation themed events to discuss, share and celebrate public sector innovation within their agencies.’

If I am reading this correctly, they are going to have meetings about it. Innovation rules!

bugmenot 11:19 am
24 May 12
#4

Here’s an innovation: drop the meaningless jargon and write clearly. Start here:
http://www.weaselwords.com.au/index3.htm

Para #3 just screams for this game:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buzzword_bingo

dpm 11:20 am
24 May 12
#5

poetix said :

‘This will be done by … agencies holding innovation themed events to discuss, share and celebrate public sector innovation within their agencies.’

If I am reading this correctly, they are going to have meetings about it. Innovation rules!

I particularly like the ellipsis in that sentence, which I read as a ‘(drumroll)’. It all makes much more sense then! hahaha! :-)

ECE 11:52 am
24 May 12
#6

I went to the Global Service Jam in February, organised by the PSI team. I had an absolute blast, met a whole bunch of interesting people (both working within and outside of the APS) and learned a lot. I’ve got my ticket to GovJam and can’t wait! Keep up the great work, guys – the event list this year looks fantastic.

Overheard 12:11 pm
24 May 12
#7

ECE said :

I went to the Global Service Jam in February, organised by the PSI team. I had an absolute blast, met a whole bunch of interesting people (both working within and outside of the APS) and learned a lot. I’ve got my ticket to GovJam and can’t wait! Keep up the great work, guys – the event list this year looks fantastic.

The great APS disease: FTLAs. It’s the language of exclusion and just a bunch of assumed knowledge.

Are we supposed to know or guess what PSI is?

ECE 12:19 pm
24 May 12
#8

Overheard said :

The great APS disease: FTLAs. It’s the language of exclusion and just a bunch of assumed knowledge.

Are we supposed to know or guess what PSI is?

Fair cop! It’s the Public Sector Innovation team.

EvanJames 12:23 pm
24 May 12
#9

Overheard said :

Are we supposed to know or guess what PSI is?

Pounds per Square Inch. It makes your tyres hard. Or soft.

Public_Sector_Innova 12:27 pm
24 May 12
#10

Hi – ‘PSI’ is used by some as a shorthand for public sector innovation.

Savanna100 – interesting idea. Do you happen to know if there’s any research about its outcomes or how it works in practice?

For the more sceptical of you – why not come along to one of the events and see and hear about some of the innovative things being done in organisations to get better results?

Overheard 1:42 pm
24 May 12
#11

Public_Sector_Innovation said :

Hi – ‘PSI’ is used by some as a shorthand for public sector innovation.

Then spell it out first and put in in brackets (PIIB) for every second use if it’s going to be used again. Note that if you’re not going to use it again, there’s no need to PIIB.

It sounds bloody-minded, but so many agencies are so mired in bloody acronyms and initialisms that they don’t realise how exlusive they’re being to anyone a) outside the organisation or b) just coming into them.

THAT is a blocker to PSI or AFI for that matter. (Anyone’s innovation.)

Overheard 1:42 pm
24 May 12
#12

EvanJames said :

Overheard said :

Are we supposed to know or guess what PSI is?

Pounds per Square Inch. It makes your tyres hard. Or soft.

Thank God you’re here!

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 1:46 pm
24 May 12
#13

Public_Sector_Innovation said :

Hi – ‘PSI’ is used by some as a shorthand for public sector innovation.

Savanna100 – interesting idea. Do you happen to know if there’s any research about its outcomes or how it works in practice?

For the more sceptical of you – why not come along to one of the events and see and hear about some of the innovative things being done in organisations to get better results?

Will you be engaging any Paradigm Evangelists?

devils_advocate 2:46 pm
24 May 12
#14

Savanna100 said :

Pity the APS “Command and Control” mindset won’t be looking at a US innovation called “Results Only Work Environments” (read more at http://www.gorowe.com) this idea is based on allowing employees complete flexibility so long as the work gets done. A quote for their website (below) explains it but I
reckon it’s beyond a bridge too far for the control freaks in the upper echelons of the APS.”

This isn’t strictly true – if you walk into the office every day, kick goals with both feet, and actually contribute to leadership and team outcomes, nobody in management cares about how many or which hours you log behind your desk. Yes, coworkers and juniors may make snide comments about turning up late or taking long lunches, but if you are indispensible and reliably get the job done to a very high standard then you can pretty much get away with whatever you like in terms of working hours, etc.

johnboy 2:54 pm
24 May 12
#15

Savanna100 said :

Pity the APS “Command and Control” mindset won’t be looking at a US innovation called “Results Only Work Environments” (read more at http://www.gorowe.com) this idea is based on allowing employees complete flexibility so long as the work gets done. A quote for their website (below) explains it but I
reckon it’s beyond a bridge too far for the control freaks in the upper echelons of the APS.

“ROWE recognizes that life is an individual experience and that no two lives are identical — and leverages this to achieve better performance from each individual. ROWE is not Flextime. ROWE is not Telecommuting. ROWE is not Job?Sharing. ROWE is not about allowing your people to work from home a couple of days per week. In a Results-Only company or department, employees can do whatever they want whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. No more pointless meetings, racing to get in at 9:00 am, or begging for permission to watch your kid play soccer. No more cramming errands into the weekend, or waiting until retirement to take up your hobbies again. You make the decisions about what you do and where you do it, every minute of every day.”

That’s pretty much how we do things at RIotACT. But as a small organisation accountable only to our shareholders (much of which is ourselves) we’re highly empowered individually to deliver outcomes.

In larger organisations it gets harder. You need to get information from other workers, you need to get approvals from higher up, you need other people to do parts of the work you’re putting together.

And all that gets easier if everyone is sitting at their desks at roughly the same times every day.

bugmenot 3:20 pm
24 May 12
#16

One glaring problem is the APS. Nothing stifles innovation better that a mix of bureaucracy, endless reviews/panels/taskforces/micro-managers/trepidation due to accountability/process obsession/you’re not allowed to do XYZ/focusing on minute details etc (from what I’ve heard, it’s common in IT). eg. http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Diary-of-a-Government-Contractor.aspx

I’d begin by fixing internal problems before pushing yet another Action Plan/”innovation conciousness” etc. Who comes up with this stuff?

Overheard 3:43 pm
24 May 12
#17

bugmenot said :

One glaring problem is the APS. Nothing stifles innovation better that a mix of bureaucracy, endless reviews/panels/taskforces/micro-managers/trepidation due to accountability/process obsession/you’re not allowed to do XYZ/focusing on minute details etc (from what I’ve heard, it’s common in IT). eg. http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Diary-of-a-Government-Contractor.aspx

I’d begin by fixing internal problems before pushing yet another Action Plan/”innovation conciousness” etc. Who comes up with this stuff?

Thanks for the link. Proves once more that fiction can’t hold a candle to truth.

But if it did, I would have to first file the ‘Holding A Candle’ forms in triplicate (make 15 copies, throw twelve out, keep one on a registry file, return the carbon copy when stamped by an approved delegate, except the delegations list is kept in a locked filing cabinet in a disused basement…….)

devils_advocate 3:47 pm
24 May 12
#18

johnboy said :

And all that gets easier if everyone is sitting at their desks at roughly the same times every day.

I think that working hours are a small, small part of it. Save the rare situations where you a) don’t have notice of a deadline at least 24 hrs in advance and b) it requires ongoing collaboration up to the deadline, many workplaces work fine as people are often in touch via email in real time or, for example, I send through the work when I leave late at night and the recipient (who may be an early starter) has the jump on it by the time I get in/back from lunch.

The problem of interdepence you refer to often can evolve into situations where nobody wants to take responsibility for anything, so endless layers of bureacracy sign off on even piddling things. A level of autonomy creates responsibility and accountability.

Things like actual ability, willingness to engage in appropriate risk, and some capability in planning a process are the critical ingredients to actually getting things done. Any meatsack can turn up to warm a seat at designated hours, given a choice I prefer staff that achieve things.

Savanna100 10:13 am
25 May 12
#19

Public_Sector_Innovation said :

Hi – ‘PSI’ is used by some as a shorthand for public sector innovation.

Savanna100 – interesting idea. Do you happen to know if there’s any research about its outcomes or how it works in practice?

For the more sceptical of you – why not come along to one of the events and see and hear about some of the innovative things being done in organisations to get better results?

Have a look at the website link I put in, it may revela many more links. Som e major US entities are trialling it. I originally heard about in Daniel Pinks amazing book “Drive”

Savanna100 10:18 am
25 May 12
#20

devils_advocate said :

Savanna100 said :

Pity the APS “Command and Control” mindset won’t be looking at a US innovation called “Results Only Work Environments” (read more at http://www.gorowe.com) this idea is based on allowing employees complete flexibility so long as the work gets done. A quote for their website (below) explains it but I
reckon it’s beyond a bridge too far for the control freaks in the upper echelons of the APS.”

This isn’t strictly true – if you walk into the office every day, kick goals with both feet, and actually contribute to leadership and team outcomes, nobody in management cares about how many or which hours you log behind your desk. Yes, coworkers and juniors may make snide comments about turning up late or taking long lunches, but if you are indispensible and reliably get the job done to a very high standard then you can pretty much get away with whatever you like in terms of working hours, etc.

Wow, which APS do yu work for, I want some of that. One of my colleages is away from work very depressed at the moment because she overhead the boss discussing her with another colleague and complaining because she went outside for two short smoke breaks a day (one and the morning and one in the afternoon) …so, welcome to MY APS, yours should like its on another planet :-)

Savanna100 10:23 am
25 May 12
#21

johnboy said :

Savanna100 said :

Pity the APS “Command and Control” mindset won’t be looking at a US innovation called “Results Only Work Environments” (read more at http://www.gorowe.com) this idea is based on allowing employees complete flexibility so long as the work gets done. A quote for their website (below) explains it but I
reckon it’s beyond a bridge too far for the control freaks in the upper echelons of the APS.

“ROWE recognizes that life is an individual experience and that no two lives are identical — and leverages this to achieve better performance from each individual. ROWE is not Flextime. ROWE is not Telecommuting. ROWE is not Job?Sharing. ROWE is not about allowing your people to work from home a couple of days per week. In a Results-Only company or department, employees can do whatever they want whenever they want, as long as the work gets done. No more pointless meetings, racing to get in at 9:00 am, or begging for permission to watch your kid play soccer. No more cramming errands into the weekend, or waiting until retirement to take up your hobbies again. You make the decisions about what you do and where you do it, every minute of every day.”

That’s pretty much how we do things at RIotACT. But as a small organisation accountable only to our shareholders (much of which is ourselves) we’re highly empowered individually to deliver outcomes.

In larger organisations it gets harder. You need to get information from other workers, you need to get approvals from higher up, you need other people to do parts of the work you’re putting together.

And all that gets easier if everyone is sitting at their desks at roughly the same times every day.

Technology JohnBoy, you can do practically anything with it these days. Before working on my websites this morning, I skyped my partner who’s currently in New York city, did some work on an impending Iphone app application and order some groceries and other things online. Some of these things are much more complicated to do than merely communicate with various people in your office. the APS should have access to Skype, ibooks, etc. Thank God they havent twigged to how wonderful Evernote is or we would lose that for sure !!

Savanna100 10:25 am
25 May 12
#22

bugmenot said :

One glaring problem is the APS. Nothing stifles innovation better that a mix of bureaucracy, endless reviews/panels/taskforces/micro-managers/trepidation due to accountability/process obsession/you’re not allowed to do XYZ/focusing on minute details etc (from what I’ve heard, it’s common in IT). eg. http://thedailywtf.com/Articles/Diary-of-a-Government-Contractor.aspx

I’d begin by fixing internal problems before pushing yet another Action Plan/”innovation conciousness” etc. Who comes up with this stuff?

Can I just say “AWESOME” !!!! WELL SAID !

johnboy 10:27 am
25 May 12
#23

Savanna100 said :

Technology JohnBoy, you can do practically anything with it these days. Before working on my websites this morning, I skyped my partner who’s currently in New York city, did some work on an impending Iphone app application and order some groceries and other things online. Some of these things are much more complicated to do than merely communicate with various people in your office. the APS should have access to Skype, ibooks, etc. Thank God they havent twigged to how wonderful Evernote is or we would lose that for sure !!

You’re assuming a motivated and productive workforce.

Until the Public Service can sack malingerers they’ll need restrictive work practices.

devils_advocate 10:51 am
25 May 12
#24

johnboy said :

Until the Public Service can sack malingerers they’ll need restrictive work practices.

+1

bitzermaloney 11:35 am
25 May 12
#25

Public Service Innovation… I haven’t heard of such oxymoronic BS since “Military Intelligence” or “Honest Politician”.

Seriously, with all the red, white and blue tape that dictates how the PS runs and an overarching attitude to wait for the private sector to act there will be no genuine innovation in the PS unless it’s filled in triplicate between 12:00 -12:30am on the night of the first full moon fo each leap year, certifed by a JP and cross-certified by the Queen.

poetix 11:44 am
25 May 12
#26

Public_Sector_Innovation said :

For the more sceptical of you – why not come along to one of the events and see and hear about some of the innovative things being done in organisations to get better results?

I won’t take up your kind offer because I would rather have my liver eaten daily by an eagle with a particularly blunt beak and very poor eyesight.

Also, I am not in the public service.

Someonesmother 4:17 pm
25 May 12
#27

Oh for heavens sake! It will be a gab fest for the executive to babble on about how special and clever they are.The ‘real’ innovative APS employees will be the ones below EL1 level who are still at work holding the fort.

PantsMan 4:57 pm
25 May 12
#28

Is this serious? Want innovation, then get the public sector out of people’s lives and cut taxes.

The people who came up with this have clearly run out of ideas to justify their existence, and are also sufficiently dim-witted as to wantonly provoke the readers of the The-RiotACT so.

Extend to them no mercy.

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