By Martin Ferguson, Socitm’s Director of Policy & Research
“We’ll find a way, we’ll make a way!” Words from the 19th century pioneers seeking to drive a railway through the mountainous terrain and coastal rain forest of western Tasmania. The Abt rack and pinion railway would bring the rich copper ore down from Queenstown to Strahan and shipment to markets around the world.
These words framed my own message to The Transformers – MAV Technology’s International Conference in Geelong, Australia. Here I joined Socitm president Geoff Connell, vice president Nicola Graham, more than 300 local government stakeholders from across Australia and international representatives from the eight countries making up the Linked Organisation of Local Authority ICT Societies (LOLA) to discuss current technology trends, the digital maturity of councils, their challenges, the requirements of their communities and how to meet them.
Discovery, redesign for better outcomes and build capability. It’s what those railway pioneers did on their journey; it’s been a feature of my own journey in life and in IT; and it’s what we do as technology professionals!
Discovery: For Socitm, People, Place and Productivity drive our quest as we collaborate to achieve better outcomes in fields as diverse as digital leadership, health and care, workforce diversity and cybersecurity. In each of these, we aim to Simplify, Standardise and Share:
Simplify – co-design the ideas and re-design around outcomes
Standardise – build common, open processes
Share – adopt and adapt to local situations
Redesign for better outcomes: I used examples to make the point that we need to go beyond just discovering case studies to standardising open and common processes, and to engaging with, adopting and adapting these common ways of working and processes developed elsewhere:
- Citizen first vs citizen last – Aylesbury Vale DC
- Leveraging data – ethical and secure – Data Mill North
- Cybersecurity and resilience – Socitm Inform Briefings – Practical Steps Part 1 and Part 2
- Leadership and collaboration – Socitm’s Modern Leadership series and Scottish LG Digital Office
Build capability: This is the realm of the modern professional association working with its members and partners to build the capabilities locally, to deliver better outcomes for our people and places, and to do so in ways that are more effective and productive. A specific outcome from the LOLA representatives gathered at the conference will be to build a sharing platform for all our resources, so that we can all benefit from them.
“We’ll find a way, we’ll make a way”. Through adversity and austerity, we are all on that journey. We should never stop discovering, never cease to re-design, and constantly seek to build capability. At the root of it all is the desire to harness data and technology productively to benefit our people and places.