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A festive wrap-up of innovation gifts

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4 December 2020

2020 has been a challenge (or more accurately, a lot of challenges, new and old, tangled together like a box full of fairy-lights). To get past challenges, you need to think and act differently.

Thinking and acting differently to overcome challenges is innovation.

Throughout the year, we’ve been sharing the ways that you and other members of the Australian public sector have been innovating. And we’ve notice some clear trends.

To work out what works, collect the data

One big theme from 2020 was digital transformation of communication.

Computers were collecting numbers about information that was communicated and how it was received. These digital data points can be very useful.

To get an idea of the stories, advice and events that helped you the most, we squinted at our own newsletter and engagement stats.

A few trends stood out (like hand-me-down handmade ornaments from so many pre-schools). From, these we can make a few assumptions (to be tested later, of course).

  • PSIN network memberships rose. The pandemic threw us all into an uncertain work environment where we had to think and act differently. We can assume that people wanted to connect with others to find out how they were muddling through this uncertainty. So, they joined our network.
  • Newsletter readership declined. Newsletter readership for our corner of the newsletter readership world was down. But newsletter publication worldwide was way, way up. So we can assume that, like a little nutcracker decoration hidden in a sea of trains and Santas, we’re competing in a very crowded marketplace. Also, obviously, public servants had a lot on this year, so it’s probably safe to assume that time-available-to-read-new-things was down.
  • Stories and events focused on practical tips were most popular. There was a clear preference for practicality. If people have less time, they need answers quicker. And those answers should probably be something they can actually use (as opposed to, say, a theoretical framework or a look at innovation systems).
  • The digital landscape allowed us to reach a much broader, global audience. We’ve shown that events can be freed from physical locations. You’ve shown that you’re interested if they are. We could view the greater national and international engagement in our network as, say, a Ghost of Expectations Future. That is, we should be aware that people won’t just accept place-based activities in future.

It’s the actions that count

One other little pattern we noticed was people clicking on from things they’d been reading. Like crumbs from a gingerbread house, leading to the next tasty treat.

So in case you haven’t unwrapped these already, and in light of the data that suggested they were the most useful, here are presents for you to help you make meaningful changes in your work. We’re presenting them as a carol:

  • For the 1st innovation, your network gave to you an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 2nd innovation, your network gave to you Innovation Month, and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 3rd innovation, your network gave to you facilitation, Innovation Month, and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 4th innovation, your network gave to you how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 5th innovation, your network gave to you (really lean into the vowels here) the Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 6th innovation, your network gave to you an Agile case study, Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 7th innovation, your network gave to you skills for the new normal, an Agile case study, Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 8th innovation, your network gave to you behavioural insights, skills for the new normal, an Agile case study, Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected. facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 9th innovation, your network gave to you visual scribing, behavioural insights, skills for the new normal, an Agile case study, Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 10th innovation, your network gave to you running events online, visual scribing, behavioural insights, skills for the new normal, an Agile case study, Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 11th innovation, your network gave to you remote workshop re-works, running events online, visual scribing, behavioural insights, skills for the new normal, an Agile case study, Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.
  • For the 12th innovation, your network gave to you crisis communications (via the Content Group), remote workshop re-words, running events online, visual scribing, behavioural insights, skills for the new normal, an Agile case study, Innovation Awards, how teams stay connected, facilitation, Innovation Month and an Agile project management how-to.

Ridiculous presentation aside, we hope you’ve found our stories, advice and events useful and helpful. Have a great break. And we hope to see you soon.

Read more

See also

The Public Sector Innovation Network (PSIN) was an Australian government network helping public servants understand and apply innovation in their daily work. PSIN ceased on 8 January 2021. See PSIN innovation resources on the National Library of Australia Trove archive.