6 Key Steps for Innovation within Government

The NSW government discuss how to successfully keep up with the digital world.


In order for Australia to maintain its regional economic influence, as well as its high standard of living, both the Government and private sector must look to use the advances in technology to build an infrastructure that is efficient and accessible for its citizens.

The Honorary Victor Dominello, NSW Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation, explored the key areas within the government that need to be enhanced in order to successfully cater for a new age of innovation and smart city infrastructure.

Speaking on the topic at this year’s CityDisrupt, Sydney, Minister Dominello stressed that in order for government departments to support innovative plans and build a solid foundation for the city of tomorrow, each project needed to efficiently utilise six essential areas:

1. Data

Minister Dominello reinforces the importance of correct storage, usage and management of data throughout all government agencies in order to make informed decisions and enhance current systems.

He believes that at the moment, the information isn’t utilised efficiently and as a result decisions are frequently made based on previous assumptions or unreliable information.

“Too often governments make decisions based on intuition because there’s not much evidence out there, but quite frankly in the information age, the more information you get, the better the decision-making will be,” the Minister said.

Reflecting on his past experience, he noted that incorrect strategies were implemented because the decision did not consult the relevant data.

2. Digital

Minister Dominello suggested that the significant amount of paperwork within goverment departments has hindered their ability to work efficiently. He believes that through incorporating and adopting a digital process rather than physical documents it would increase efficiencies in these processes for both front and back of office.

“Paper shouldn’t be part of the central DNA of the government. Every time I need to get pen and paper and fill out a form, it’s taken me time. Every time I have to deal with the government, that’s red-tape,” he explained.

Through breaking down the traditional systems and processes that run throughout government departments and adopting a digital approach to information and internal processes, not only would departments work more efficiently but communication with citizens could become a seamless experience.

3. Direct

The Minister stated that making decisions based on outdated reports made it difficult to apply the information to the present situation.

In this he reinforced the importance of data in this point. Particularly for the information to be reliable and accessible at real-time, and the importance of this in future planning as well as citizen experience throughout the city:

“How do you expect me to make decisions about the future, profound decisions, that will shape our future if I don’t know what’s happening today?”

4. Display

Visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text.

Minister Dominello touched on the importance of having a vision of this information in order to make informed and progressive decisions. In order to properly facilitate decision making, it is crucial that the data is readily available and displayed in a way that is easy to understand.

“If you’ve got it in display format, then you’ll be able to digest information a lot quicker.”

Spreadsheets and graphs are useful tools that display this information, but it is important to collect an array of data in order to make an informed decision.

5. Dissection

However, a problem that arises when given this information is how to process it. There is a need to filter out the unnecessary information and analyse that data to reach effective and correct conclusions.

“Information is not the issue; we’re being drowned by information. The problem we’ve got in the information age is processing that information,” Minister Dominello explains.

The government is working quickly to ensure that data is well-managed, with the NSW State Government creating the first data analytics centre in the country.

6. DNA

In the digital age, it is expected that data and data analytics are a crucial part of the foundations that make an organisation; essentially, data acts as the DNA or digital makeup.

The government is, once again, rapidly working to address data management through legislation.

The best example of how these 6 D’s were applied by the government come from the petrol station reviewing app, ‘Fuelcheck’. Fuelcheck shows in real-time the cheapest petrol location in the surrounding area and research shows that it could potentially save up to $500 every year.

By following these 6 essential steps, Minister Dominello believes the government and other agencies can meet the digital demands of the 21st Century.