Thursday, 28 September 2017

Reinventing government one click at a time

Dominic Campbell of FutureGov appeared at this Rising Minds event in Sydney this morning. Campbell said that questions of power and equality drive him. He said that what he does is work against privilege.

"Digital is a paradigm shift," he went on. He wants to use the disruptiveness of the internet to increase fairness, but government so far is "really just spoofing it", he averred. They are mostly just wrapping a digitised veneer around a broken system.

To truly transform government means truly understanding citizens' needs, Campbell said. "How do you totally redefine government?" He likened the task to keeping a heritage facade but knocking down the rest of the building standing behind it but, he asked, can you ever truly recode the DNA of an organisation?

"Human-centred design is the way to unlock this stuff in the hearts and minds of leadership," Campbell said. He suggested trying to build organisations around the terms people google, rather than sticking with the existing definitions and silos of an organisation. You have to restructure along customer journeys, he went on. And as soon as you get into service redesign you get into organisational redesign, he said.

To achieve real change, you need to build parallel structures, then switch off the old one and transition to the new. He mentioned several times a Melbourne startup called Casserole Club, which matches people who need meals with people nearby who are willing to share their cooking. Casserole Club, he said, is the Tinder for feeding people. This kind of model takes out 50 to 100 percent of the cost of providing the service, he said.

He also mentioned the Public 100 accelerator program in London, and said that "no data about me without me" is a goal of his work with governments, citing his involvement in the child protection area.

About the personal profiles that social media companies, and other internet plays, keep about individuals living in the community, Campbell said that people don't really care about losing control over their online profiles, and that we need stories in the media to raise awareness about the dangers of control over this information by private companies who use it to turn a profit. Social media, he said, has already won the battle because of the user experience it provides to people.

Campbell mentioned an initiative by Steve Ballmer called 'Where does the money go?' Canberra could do with just being levelled, he said wryly. Government, he went on, should be an inverted triangle. "Those bits of government that deliver for people will be most legitimate," he said.

He also mentioned the rise of city states, and asked rhetorically how London can separate itself from Britain because of Brexit.

Above: With humour, Dominic Campbell showed the Rising Minds audience a 10-year-old slide that he had once used in presentations to government.

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