An event to remember

Helen Bailey is a member of the iGen team at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

If you haven’t heard, we held our inaugural Innovation Week at DAFF from 2-5 May.

We think the best words to describe our event are ‘exciting, inspiring, successful and motivating’.

Exciting…because, as far as we know, it was the first event of its kind in the Commonwealth public service.

Inspiring…because the 33 fantastic speakers effused a ‘can do’ attitude to implementing innovative ideas.

Successful…because more than 750 people turned out over the four days to hear about the innovative practices of the public and private sectors.

Motivating…because attendees came out of every session invigorated and determined to keep forging ahead with new ideas.

Many long days and weekends went into organising the event but we feel that all our efforts paid off.

We were blown away by the high calibre of every presentation—all the speakers were informative and entertaining!

There were some particularly excellent presentations about innovation in general, including one from the dynamic CEO of Deloitte Digital, Pete Williams, who gave a frank account of how a culture of innovation was taken up by his traditionally conservative accounting firm.

Along the same lines, Paul Duncan from Landgate— Western Australian Land Information Authority—shared how his agency thrives on, and implements, innovation.
And the upbeat Bryony Cole from Yammer made us think about the power of online discussion boards and social media in the workplace.

But not to be outdone, our own DAFF colleagues jumped on stage to reveal their creative ideas: Karl has developed a simple way to track the lessons learned from past experiences to help us work smarter in future projects; Rob and his team in ABARES have developed a unique land mapping software; and Garry has some great ideas about how government agencies can commemorate the centenary of ANZAC in 2015 while also contributing to a more sustainable environment.

For anyone wishing to hold such an event in the future, we’d be happy to share the lessons we learned this year.