I was delighted to be invited by our Asia Pacific team out of Australia to share my experiences leading digital transformation in the Obama Administration prior to joining Acquia.
I was exposed to some incredible energy during a packed schedule in Sydney, Canberra, and Melbourne. I met a good few hundred people working at all levels of the public sector in Australia, including federal, state, and local government departments at a number of events, roundtables, and meetings.
The idea was to help those in the public sector hear how we navigated the considerable bureaucracy of a country with over 300 million citizens, to achieve digital transformation, when traditional change can be hard enough, let alone if it’s driven by digital technology.
Here is the thing that people often do not realize about people who work in the public sector: we work in the sector because we love it, and want to drive change for the better.
Speaking to the teams here driving the govCMS project (the standardization of the Australian Government on Drupal, working with Acquia and our partners), I had the overwhelming sense that they love what they do in public service, therefore been incredibly successful at it.
I would like to point out here - the govCMS project is gathering significant, and all in the absence of a mandate. It is important to note that it is not mandated that any Australian Government Department or Agency must use the govCMS platform. In fact, the team driving the project at the Department of Finance has declined two attempts at mandating it because they want people to want to use it, not to have to use it. And in two years, it has 124 sites live, 21 in development and 54 agencies using it (at time of writing this).
We ran some events and asked Sharyn Clarkson, Assistant Secretary at Department of Finance, and Dawn Routledge, Executive Director Policy & Innovation at Department of Finance, Services and Innovation, to share their experiences of digital transformation in relation specifically to the govCMS project.