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What's happening in Public Sector Innovation
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We hope in these extraordinary times that you and your teams are all well and managing to stay positive.

Like many of you, we are having to adapt quickly to the rapid changes around us. A lot of things are being put on hold right now, and that includes our new brand, Spark. Understandably, Covid-19 is the focus for government so we will be delaying the launch of Spark until a bit later. We'll keep you informed.

We've said it before and we'll say it again...adaptability, flexibility and innovation are critical in times of uncertainty.

So that's what we're focusing on. Practical tools and ideas that can help. 
 

Facilitating from afar

We've already pointed you to collaboration software company Mural's excellent e-book on how to facilitate remote workshops. 

To add to that, our friends over at the Government Facilitation Community of Practice have pointed us to a couple more resources that can help. 

First, the International Association of Facilitators have generously opened up their resource page

The second has a slightly more tongue in cheek title, but has a lot of helpful tips on long term team work and remote working, Scott Berkun's year without pants.*

Remote water-cooler chats

One of the reasons people do like to work in the same space, is it allows for serendipitous crossovers. You share a lift and find out about a new project you could help with. 

You help someone get past a blocker in the kitchen. 

You chat at the water-cooler and you influence someone's work and day. 

To do this remotely, or even at greater social-distances, you need to have a bit of a strategy. Sacha Connor** founded the training organisation Virtual Work Insider, and talked to IDEO U about making a strategy to get things done when you're not in the same place as people. 

Sacha's, easy, nice, human first step?

Check in with people in the mornings. A text message to see how they're travelling can do a lot to let people know their colleagues are thinking of them. And while we have to be further apart, it's nice to stay connected.

A global perspective

One of the challenges of the current situation is that we're more connected globally than we've even been before. But that can also help us manage and think about the crisis.

The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) at the OECD have written a blog showcasing a wide variety of initiatives from around the world.

OPSI are also putting out a call for people to share innovative COVID-19 responses. When people say we're in this together, that means right across the world.

And something closer to home

Australia.gov.au is now a COVID-19 information portal. That's it. The team over at the Digital Transformation Agency have reconfigured everything to be about current information and support.

This might not seem like a big deal, but with things moving so quickly and changing so much, it's important to have a single place to go to for help. 

For federal public servants, there is also information at the Australian Public Service Commission

Obviously this is just one small example of quick, essential changes that are happening. In our home agency alone there are a number of taskforces who have hit the ground running to help Australia respond. 

We'll endeavour to bring you more stories, along with how you can apply the principles these teams are using. And while we're at it, if you have anything you'd like to share, please, please do get in touch.

We want to make sure we help as much as we can, so anything you can contribute is greatly appreciated. 

Thank you for reading, thank you for your work, stay safe.

Connections

Innovation Awards

Have you done something different in government? Have you helped people with a new idea?

Nominations for the Public Sector Innovation Awards are now open and we want to hear what you've been up to. This isn't just a nice thing to do; by sharing and celebrating these ideas, we can help other teams do similar things.

So nominate now!

Apolitical: working remotely

Our friends at Apolitical are hosting an hour long workshop on effective remote working. 

The workshop is at 3 PM GMT, which means it's 2 AM in Eastern Australia, but if you're going to be up, register your interest. We'll also bring you more sleep-hygiene versions as they become available. 

*Your humble correspondent has been working remotely all week (including writing this newsletter) and has been dressing as though they would be in the office. It particularly helps with the psychology - wearing the uniform means you're doing the work.

Though on the first day your humble correspondent also wore their access pass, which might have been a touch over the top...

**Longtime readers may know our recurring character cousin Sasha. Not the same person.

Cousin Sasha is currently spamming the family group chat with surprisingly helpful recipes and offering to do shopping runs for older relatives. 

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