Case studies

Innovation Month 2019 brought so many awesome events we wanted to share some of them with you, in case you missed out. On this page you'll find a few tasters of what went down across the month.

People vs Technology – what drives innovation?

The Great SES* Debate went down at the Department of Human Services as part of Innovation Month to an enthusiastic audience. The debate question… what drives innovation - people or technology?

The pro-people team boldly claimed that you cannot have technology without people – that on its own, technology is useless. Among many, one of their opposition-crushing examples was that of Steve Jobs and his role in innovating Apple back from the brink of collapse. Jobs was fired from the tech giant in 1985, only to be rehired again in 1996 to save the company, which Jobs did with his invention of the iPod. The point being, it was a person and his ideas, not technology that brought innovation to that company and ultimately lead to its reprise. Jobs later said that being fired from Apple launched him into the most creative period of his life. A pertinent example of their argument.

There were fiery rebuttals from the technology team delivered with dramatic Darth Vader style entrances, a Flintstones/Jetsons metaphor and fast facts a many. They argued that you cannot have innovation without technology – that the way of the future will remove humans from the equation all together with the likes of augmented intelligence, virtual reality and predictive analysis all set to replace us (eeek!). A slightly unnerving yet entertaining return serve from the tech heads.

After six rounds, it was time to call a champion with a surprising result – a tie! But while the judge officially called it Even Stevens on the day, we think the real winner of the debate was public sector innovation itself.

So now we’re curious … what do you think drives innovation? People or tech? Drop us a line (psi [at] industry.gov.au) or tweet us (@psinnovate), we’re keen to know!

*SES = Senior Executive Staff, a.k.a the ‘big bosses’, for those outside Canberra