Government Innovation KooLAid

Hi guys, what’s up? DigiKoolAid had the totally awesome task of watching an ABC interview with two members of Parliament speaking Digital Innovation KoolAid. Here’s the summary.

The Minister Assisting the other Minister who is responsible for lots of things including Innovation says innovation is the next big thing. (Wow, is innovation now under government control?) No mention of what it is but we just can’t get enough. In fact there’s a shipping list of stuff we need. We need entrepreneurial mind-sets, work-arounds to break the rules (“challenges”) of government procurement, coding in schools, start-ups everywhere and everywhere else too, stem subjects taught by Google in schools, more start-ups …. Long list.

There’s so much stuff needed that a definition of innovation; which is the minister’s subject area; is needed for sure. Smart readers (you) will notice the absence of government in the definition. But, in Australia the government leads on innovation. In fact, government is a start-up, according to influential minds at your Digital Transformation Office (that’s a DTO). Their chief strategist, a person named Dan, said so in a recent Blog.


Looks like we have a real problem with innovation in Australia. We can’t get enough, and we kind of can’t do it either. The minister assisting the actual minister was pretty sure that we had to import the “best and brightest” from the UK for your DTO. He said that was the right thing to do, and then he smiled. The other not-in-government guy didn’t say anything against importing a DTO CEO from the discredited UK GDS, plus a bunch of people who failed there. It sure looked like everyone agreed. Australia has a brains problem. It can’t innovate. Get the Immigration Department on the line fast.

And if you want to sound really hot just drop the word. At parties, in Ultimo cafes, Ministerial offices, even with the Prime Minister: it’s very in-the-moment. Just steer away from defining what it might really be and your rep will hit the roof. No, you don’t have to do any actual innovating … that’s mad. Just drop the word. It’ll work fine. Go ahead – try it.

But NO not you! Not if you actually work for the Commonwealth. Sorry, if you are APS: Paul said that you are failing, so you don’t get to play. The minister assisting the actual minister said Paul was “turning government services on their head” so maybe keep your head down, before it gets turned on.

@digikoolaid suspects there’s an agenda in this. Was that passing reference to Google a passing reference? Earlier this year Google made a lot of noise about how the Google Government Innovation Lab was Open for Business. Google says it wants to “institutionalize innovation practices to make those practices the default for government problem solving using technology as a support.” Their technology? Sure, why not. The minister assisting the actual minister said Google teaching schools was a great idea. So why not run government IT? The other not-in-government guy didn’t say anything and the Google Guy went on to say “It’s the leaders, it’s these innovators, that need to recognize that when they’re staring at that clean canvas, that these [tech] elements exist. It’s these leaders that need to organize these elements to make great advancements in society.” Just pretend that the Commonwealth doesn’t exist: like a “clean canvas”: and get to it. Meanwhile Google created another brilliant innovation right there. It’s the “contracted partnership”. That’s where government gives them your money under a contract, so they can be “our” partners. Yes Sir, that’s the same Google that gets emotional about taxes, and maybe likes the look of yours. And it’s planning on “great advancements in society”. Yours. By total chance Paul and the DTO Dudes are already using Google Apps instead of Commonwealth services.


Watch this space guys. The Commonwealth of Australia is thinking of dancing with “Don’t Be Evil”. Innovation problem solved. You are the customer who pays. Google Apps for Government next? Stand by … job applications open soon. Jobs, jobs, jobs.


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