Government Services

A30 Policy Challenge


At Australia 3.0 we continually push the envelope to explore how digital transformation can deliver greater benefits for our country.  Over the years we’ve hosted forums, hacks, ideations, virtual roundtables, panels which all have posed provocative propositions that our industry has always risen to tackle the task head on.

Most recently we created a new approach to catalyse ideas into collaborative action – the Directed Hack.  In 2016 we focused on two Wicked Policy Challenges working with government in NSW throughout August to December. Below is a summary of the process, the questions, outcomes sought and results. There is a lot to learn from the open innovation process and we look forward to continuing to use this approach to drive digital transformation.

Priority Question – “What ICT solutions can help to increase the agility, innovation of government ICT procurement?”
 Outcome – Develop an ICT procurement framework to be tested using a live example of an ICT platform with a NSW government agency. PDF


a3-0-open-data-final_thumbPriority Question – “What ICT solutions can help to increase the usability of Open Data from the NSW Government?”
Outcome – Develop a data marketplace along the lines of ‘Trip Advisor’ or ‘Wotif’ which would help companies and citizens discover and more effectively use data sets which has been published.  a3-0-open-data-final

How Does a Wicked Policy Challenge work?

The Wicked Policy Challenge is intended to take the best of the creativity unleashed by a traditional hack-a-thon and direct it toward a real world problem of greater complexity than can be addressed in a single intense session. The Australia 3.0 approach is to work with teams to work in sprints to address the client problem to deliver a rapid result with real outcomes. Find out more >>

The winning teams presented their solution at the 2016 Ministerial Forum Australia 3.0 and IFIP Presidents on 30 November as part of the ACS Reimagination Summit and the ACS Digital Disruptor and Pearcey Awards in Sydney on 1 December.

A3.0 Government Services Challenge 2014: Data as a services enabler


This year’s A3.0 Gov Services Facilitators

 Abul SQ

Abul Rizvi

Former Deputy Secretary, Digital Economy, Department of Communications

Ian SQ
Ian Oppermann,

CEO SIRCA Technology
A3.0 Gov Services

Objective: establish a collaborative forum of stakeholders committed to identifying sustainable new approaches to public service innovation through a Government Services Innovation Hub connecting digital, data and democracy.

The federal government’s policy for E-Government and the Digital Economy[i], released in September 2013, are investment in ICT skills. Cornerstones are more effective use of technology in the public sector and encouraging innovation and research with the goal of lifting productivity and economic competitiveness. It also contains the following action:

“Seek proposals from agencies, researchers and the private sector for joint private-public projects using big data that have promising efficiency or service quality payoffs (for example, analytics for welfare or medical benefits fraud detection; or predictive personalisation that reduces customer turnaround times). The highest-return proposals will be supported to proof-of-concept and beyond”.

This year Australia 3.0 government services stream will propose concepts which show real promise for efficiency or service quality payoffs using government data and which delivers

  • Benefit to Australian Industry
  • Benefit to government
  • Greater decision making transparency for the citizens of Australia
  • Reduced risk of implementation
  • Protection of the rights and sensitive personal information of citizens.

Not a place for the IT industry to sell IT solutions to administer the current system

  • It is no longer about mechanizing the process
  • It is not about selling “Big Bang” IT solutions
  • Technology is there to sustain new ways of delivering Government Services
  • No one knows who designed the system we have or why it is this shape

It’s a new way of harnessing, realizing and proving innovation in Government Services while

  • Allowing Government to focus on where it provides the greatest value
  • Allowing Government to adapt to changing citizen expectations
  • Ensuring the oversight role of government is facilitated not undermined
  • Allowing greater transparency in decision making
  • Supporting evidence based policy making as a fundamental principal


Over two days in Melbourne 28-29 August as part of the iAwards participants will congregate at MCEC

A3.0 Government Services 2 day Program 

Day 1 Thu 28 Aug
9:00-10:00am Empathise – feedback from interviewees and yammer
10:30-12:30noon Define – Focus of the session
  Ideate Part I – presentation of 3 raw models developed
1:30 – 3:30pm Ideate Part II – hack, mash and stretch the models
4:00 – 5:30pm Prototype – rebuild the model(s)
5:30 – 6:00pm Day 1 Wrap-up for Government Services
Day 2 Fri 29 Aug
9:00-10:00am Opening Plenary: Technology transforming competitiveness with Hon Bruce Billson MHR
10:30-12:30pm Test – run scenarios against one model.
12:30-2:00pm Working Lunch or join VIP lunch Pearcey Oration by Senator Kate Lundy
2:00-3:30pm Wrap-up Plenary Theme Adopting digital solutions with Hon Paul Fletcher MP


If we have been successful in identifying a new approach to execute the innovative capability in Australia to build new ways of delivering Government Services through collaboration two outcomes will be achieved:

  1. Organisational scope for the initial development of Australian Government Services Innovation Hub.
  2. Project proposals that use government data for innovative service projects/pilots/prototypes


Australia 3.0 will bring together prominent leaders and advocates engaged in the Government Services debate and these are some of those who’ve been involved over the last few months.

  • Dr Sarah Dods – Research Program Leader, Digital Economy, CSIRO
  • Dr Phil Robertson – Chief Operating Officer, NICTA
  • Ian Birks – Chairman Australian Services Roundtable
  • Dr Ian Oppermann – CEO SIRCA Technology
  • Dr Nick Tate – Director, RDSI Project, University of Queensland, National Immediate Past President, ACS
  • Bruce Thompson – Deputy Secretary, DEPI, Victorian Government
  • Paul Russell – General Manager, Innovation Enablers & Technologies Queensland Government
  • Prof Paul Jensen – Professorial Research Fellow, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research
  • Kelly Hutchinson – Researcher, Melbourne Social Equity Institute & Melbourne School of Government

The Context

Increasingly governments have promoted a policy position that leverages the Internet to engage more effectively with citizens or other stakeholders. Policies areas targeted include increasing transparency via more detailed or frequent data. Policies to make accumulated public data sets (in a form which strips out personal information) accessible to private users and developers who can generate new value from them. All of the above adapt traditional decision-making and aversion to disclosure to a more open, interactive environment. Many programs are impossible to execute without effective use of ICT but challenges remain on how to deliver on the efficiency or service quality payoffs promised by big data. The move to greater focus on digital delivery of Government Services there are inherently a series of workforce and skill challenges that also need to be addressed. On the demand side the level of digital literacy will be a critical success factor for citizen uptake of services. Likewise a range of new skills and capabilities need to be introduced into Government agencies to achieve a positive digital transformation and both industry and research/academia are ready to play an active in assisting this transition. There is a growing perception that the state’s ability to provide various forms of public service can be enhanced through public-private partnerships, the use of new technologies, as well as various strategies for increased public participation. Global growth in “innovation labs”[ii] to address complex public issues that more traditional governmental structures seek to resolve are characterized by a direct connection between the public and private sectors to develop new solutions. As an industry-lead approach the proposed Government Services Innovation Hub will provide a new model for collaboration.

Open invitation

In addition we need innovators, visionary and leading thinkers from other sectors that have scaled problems that fit the definition of ‘Wicked’. Seeking those who have engaged in the Government Services and the public sector and those whose approach cuts directly to the source of the problem. Leaders in Australia’s private and public sector are invited to participate including: Government services providers, Government agencies, public service executives, ICT industry protagonists, technology leaders, community associations, citizen advocate networks, social sector service providers, analysts, policy makers, researchers, designers, innovators and entrepreneurs.

Focusing on the most critical element of any transformation process is the change and adoption that has been one of the greatest barriers. This will be our challenge but we’re sure it will be a rewarding experience for all who come to the table with an open mind and a commitment to change.

Register your interest to participate in Australia 3.0 Follow us on Twitter @aus3point0 or #aus3.0 [i] Available online [ii] Available online   Gov Service Partners

In 2014 the Australia 3.0 Government Services stream will examine how Australia’s data opportunity can underpin better Government Services delivery.

The Government Services stream at Australia 3.0 in 2014 will be run as an ‘ideation’ session for a thoughtful dialogue on the future role of technology in driving better Government service delivery outcomes by use of Big Data Analytics and Open Data analysis. Related underpinning issues such as skills of the future, privacy concerns and security dimensions will also be covered. A series of questions will be posed in this dialogue, starting with:

Question 1 – what is the role of Government? The digital transformation of recent decades has been almost entirely driven by dynamic, competitive markets and inventive entrepreneurs. While governments in many places have attempted to use policy intervention to build technology-intensive economies or nurture national champions, the majority have found success elusive, underlining the importance of evidence and pragmatism in appraising the role the public sector can play. At the same time, the public sector as a whole accounts for about a third of GDP, and many programs are impossible to execute without effective use of ICT. For these reasons, public services are an obvious place where policy can provide leadership.

Question 2 – What are the Major Challenges to be addressed to drive productivity in Government Services delivery?

Question 3 – Government ICT Policy – What are the limiting factors on Engagement and Open Government? The government has promoted a policy position that leverages the Internet to engage more effectively with citizens or other stakeholders, including via social media. Policies areas targeted include increasing transparency via more detailed or frequent data.  Policies to make accumulated public data sets (in a form which strips out personal information) accessible to private users and developers who can generate new value from them. All of the above adapt traditional decision-making and aversion to disclosure to a more open, interactive environment

Question 4 – What limits opening up Government Data? Despite calls from both Federal and State Ministers, Australia appears to be relatively slow to “open up” data sets, falling behind some countries such as the USA and the UK. There are many reasons why this may be the case. Often data custodians are concerned about the unintended consequences of release of data (in particular, the impact on individual privacy). The cost of making data available is also a consideration. Concerns about data quality and the conclusions which will be drawn from incomplete or inaccurate data is also a concern. What are the most important actions we can take to help facilitate release of data?

Question 5 – What is the role of publically funded innovation in terms of driving Productivity? Policies encouraging innovation, funding research and providing incentives for entrepreneurs are very important over the medium term in developing a more sophisticated economic base. The Government spends $8.8 billion annually on scientific, medical and academic research and R&D incentives for private research and development of about $18 billion a year. This is a significant long-term influence on the technological makeup of our economy. There are large variations in the measurable economic returns from different fields of research and between more commercially oriented and less commercially oriented research settings.

Question 6 – What are the workforce and skills challenges that need to be solved in achieving improved Government service delivery? With a move to greater focus on digital delivery of Government services there are inherently a series of workforce and skill challenges that need to be addressed. On the demand side the level of digital capability and literacy will be a critical success factor. More significantly from a design perspective, there will be a range of new skills and capabilities that need to be introduced into Government agencies to achieve a positive digital transformation. Some of these new skills may involve a blending of existing workplace skills and the adoption of new ways of doing things. It is likely that new job roles and responsibilities will need to be created. The role that both industry and research/academia can play in assisting this transition should be considered.

Ian Oppermann, Ian Birks and Nick Tate

Australia 3.0 Government Services Stream Leaders

2014 Stream Partners

ACS Logo colorASR logo.jpeg SIRCA logo

Government Services References

2014 A3.0 Government Services 2014 Primer 

A3.0 Government Services 2014_tmb

Australia 3.0 Government Services History

Australia 3.0 Government Communique_tmbIn 2013 from May-August Mining Stream Leaders,  Ian Birks and  Ian Oppermann worked with Government Services Stream Subject Matter Experts Athol Chalmers and Alan Dormer to prepare for the 8 August Australia 3.0 Forum. All contributed to the final Australia 3.0 Government Communique

View the Government Services blog post, read the 2013 Recommendations and make a comment here >>