This Resources section presents a selection of papers and presentations written by Public Purpose as well as some interesting resources from other people and organisations.
A paper for IPAA looking at ways the public sector should be responding to the regulatory challenges of the new economy.
“How policy makers and regulators respond to the new economy depends on the frame within which they approach their task and the nature of the task they think they are being asked to undertake. Drawing on the work of John Hagel and Mark Moore especially, this paper argues that the task should be defined primarily as “scalable learning” to move the insights, assets and capabilities developed in and across the new economy as quickly and effectively as possible from the edge to the main stream. How well that transition occurs will have a big impact on how successfully Australia’s “public production” systems adapt to, and take advantage of, the experiments and innovation which fuel much of the new economy’s work and impact.”
A response to Tom Burton in The Mandarin about the progress, or lack of it, in digital disruption in the federal public sector.
“Tom may be right in the end and we will simply have to expect less in the endeavour to change the way we govern. And perhaps there are irreducible complexities and fraught tensions deep at the heart of doing government well that can’t be glibly tossed aside by a mix of naïve, if well-meaning, digital enthusiasm. But it can be done well and it is being done well at an increasingly impressive pace and scale. I have seen leaders and organisations in government who are already on the case. Their work and ambition suggests there’s a real risk it could work.”
A second paper to the AGLN testing some ideas about leadership and technology in the public sector.
“In the context of government and the public sector, the job of technology is to both disrupt and sustain, to create dramatic new possibilities for efficiency and productivity, for empowerment and engagement and for genuine and genuine participation in the business of governing. But its value will derive from the ability to line up technology’s potential and promise with the distinctive work of politicians, public servants and other ‘public purpose” participants. Technology has to embed itself in the routine, culture and structures of the public sector even as it inevitably works to disrupt them.”
A paper I gave to the AGLN exploring aspects of the collaboration and connection implications of digital technology for public sector leadership.
”Gerald Weinberg draws on the work of Russian anarchist Pyotr Kropotkin who, in his Memoirs of a Revolutionist, explains that “like all young men of my time, with a great deal of confidence in the necessity of commanding, ordering, scolding, punishing and the like. But when, at an early stage, I had to manage serious enterprises and to deal with [free] men, and when each mistake would lead at once to heavy consequences, I began to appreciate the difference between acting on the principle of command and discipline and acting on the principle of common understanding. The former works admirably in a military parade, but it is worth nothing where real life is concerned, and the aim can be achieved only through the severe effort of many converging wills.”
“The implications of this report are that workforce transitions – how individuals move from one job to another and how industries move from one labour market structure to another – are crucial. Although change is inevitable, future destinations are not. Based on this narrative of the future, individuals, communities, companies and governments can identify and implement transition pathways that achieve better outcomes.”
“I recently read the unflinching external review report on the DTO’s Gov.au “alpha” release [www.dto.gov.au/standard/assessments/gov-au-alpha/] and it made me wonder what would happen if we applied the discipline and structure of good digital asset design -in this case, rebuilding the federal government’s web front end -to the business of policy making. The question forms part of a longer standing speculation about the relative lack of progress we’ve witnessed in the application of the tools, culture and practice of “digital transformation”, which have mostly been used in a service delivery context, to the way we conceive of, and execute, the policy process.”