What (could be) happening at Innovation Month 2014

The Public Sector Innovation Network Co-ordination group has been busy developing event ideas for Innovation Month 2014.

Based on your input, here are some concepts and working titles we have developed:

The Innovation Summit (working title)
Likely a one day event focussing on how the public sector can, and is, becoming more innovative. The Summit will be a combination of talks from thought leaders and sharing of departmental case studies.

From Little Things, Big Things Grow
How little ideas can have big impacts – a discussion on how in innovation it isn't always the big idea or the big budget that has the biggest or most important impact.

Integrating Innovation into your Department
Based on the outcomes of the capability reviews innovation is an area needing development for many agencies. This event would be a discussion on how this can be done using the tools and resources of the Public Sector Innovation Network.

How to collaborate across departments
An exploration into the growth of the cross-agency groups and collaborations such as the Policy Visualisation Network (PVN), Cross-Agency Social Media (CASM) network, and the PSIN. The event would involve a discussion or workshop on what makes such groups successful and how we can continue to collaborate in new ways to assist the public sector deliver government objectives.

Idea Management Systems –how to develop them.
An IT focused event discussing the technical and procurement issues agencies have to navigate to develop Idea Management Systems. Ideal for anyone seeking to establish an ideas management system or wishing to share the lessons learnt from establishing one.

So you have an idea management systems – now what?
A panel discussion on the challenge of how to integrate an ideas management system into your agency’s decision making processes and how to select and pursue the best ideas that come forward.

Managing Risk
Risk is a big obstacle in public sector innovation. Various topics on risk management might include case study talks on innovation and risk, a talk on managing risk when running open public-participation projects, and a talk on how the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 will effect risk management when it replaces the FMA and CAC Acts.

Dangerous Ideas for the Public Service
Stealing Borrowing shamelessly from The Festival of Dangerous Ideas, we’re looking to develop a ‘Dangerous Ideas’ series of lunchtime discussions including:

  • Innovate or die – Can you be a good public servant if you’re not innovating?

  • Innovation leadership or leadersunk – Are new models of leadership needed for innovation in the public service?

  • Failure – is it the dirty word we can all learn from?


Other events include talks on making and presenting evidence-based policies, discussions and case studies tackling the cultural barriers within organisations and management which hinder innovation and practical sessions on using design techniques.

Those are the event ideas we have on the drawing board, but they’re not exhaustive. There are plenty of other events that could be run at Innovation Month 2014. If you want to develop your own event, here are some pointers that could assist you:

  • A lot of creative ideas come from connecting different types of knowledge or experience and applying it to new areas. Why not invite in an expert speaker from another agency, another profession or another sector that could have relevance and insight to how your agency does things?

  • What are the key ideas, innovations and creations that affect your job now? Why not hold a lunch-time trivia event and include some questions that show how innovation matters to everyone

  • What are the key things that are making it harder for you to do your job? What drives you mad when trying to do your job? Why not have a brainstorming session with your colleagues to explore some ideas about how things could be done differently or the things that you should stop doing?

  • Run a Black Swan Challenge – A black swan challenge is an invitation to an agency’s staff (or a sub-group of the agency) to try and identify possible unexpected events that could impact on the agency’s work

  • Foresighting/horizon scanning – What are some of the ‘out there’ trends and developments that might impact your work area in the future? It may not happen for a long time (or at all) but an important part of innovation is about responding to innovation and change from outside of your organisation. The best way to do that is to first identify possible developments on the horizon. Why not get together with your team to discuss some of the things at the ‘edge’ that might affect what your team does?


If some of these ideas excite you, if you’d like to be involved or know of information, case studies, speakers or other resources your agency can contribute psi [at] industry.gov.au" href="mailto:mail%20to:%20psi [at] industry.gov.au" target="_blank">let us know. If you want to run your own event but don’t have prior experience we have a new guide to developing events to assist you, and to help promote your event there’s a registration form for you to secure your place on the Innovation Month 2014 program page.
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