Twelfth Innovation Champions Meeting


The 12th Innovations Champions Meeting and the first meeting of 2017 was hosted at Bizlab, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s new innovation lab.

I’m excited to say the Public Sector Innovation Network (PSIN) has developed the Innovation Month 2017 theme: “Making it happen” this years’ dates will be July 3 to 30. More information to be announced.

Following December’s meeting request, APSC and the Department of Environment and Energy presented their findings after further analysis of the APS Employee Census and State of the Service results on emphasising innovation. 

The APSC found the following interesting links between having an innovation culture and traditional measures of staff engagement and leadership:

  • Management: Departments with staff that considered their work environment as having a higher emphasis on innovation had managers that communicated and encouraged innovation.  This was done in conjunction with a climate of accountability that accepted and learnt from mistakes, and proactively managed risk.
  • Department Size:  Typically larger departments were less likely to be perceived by their staff as encouraging innovation.  Staff in larger Departments also considered their work environment as focusing less on development of new ideas, having poorer change/risk management, higher levels of red tape and less effective internal communications when compared to average staff attitudes across the APS.
  • Function: Operational agencies were less likely to indicate that they had a culture of encouraging innovation.  Staff were least likely to be satisfied with their supervisors’ ability to communicate with influence.
  • Assessing staff demographics, comparisons could also be made on innovation-related attitudes. Staff who were more positive about their department’s innovation capability were generally younger, at a higher classification level, were newer to the public service, and commonly located in the ACT.

As an example of an agency rated by staff to be more innovative, the group received a presentation from Dr Maria Milosavljevic, Chief Innovation Officer of AUSTRAC, Australia’s Financial Intelligence Unit.  Two years ago the agency started transforming governance structures, which transformed the agency as a whole and promoted innovative thinking amongst staff.  Through this work, AUSTRAC has begun working closer with industry so it can faster detect and respond to financial crime and terrorism risks as they appear. The full presentation can be found here.

DFAT and the ABS also presented the results of their interviews with the 2016 APS Innovation Awards Finalists with a video developed with the support of the ATO Video Production unit. Findings will be released in part with the 2016 Innovation Snapshot and the video series will be available online at a future date.

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