How do you use technology to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

I lead the Online Services Branch in the Australian Department of Finance. We are a team that creates and operates a range of digital platforms and tools that other government teams leverage in delivering to their users. Many of our platforms are available to Commonwealth, State and Local government. We also mentor and promote Agile methodologies and service design techniques.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016?

GovCMS has been the highest profile work – a truly open source content management system for all of government that is hosted on the cloud, housing a vibrant community that has grown around the service from 52 agencies.

We wanted to make it easier for teams across government to collaborate, share expertise and to solve business and technical problems collectively. We operate by the principle ‘create functionality once and share with everyone’. Anything built is shared back not just to government but also to the open source community globally.

The creativity and excellence from so many government teams has been inspiring. It proves that public servants who are given decent tools, assisted to remove barriers, and are supported by a ‘can do’ culture can produce some incredible results and can deliver them at speed.

Governments outside of Australia have started making contact, as they are interested in GovCMS and our unique approach to creating and building a shared service. We openly share our code, our processes and our lessons learned with other government teams.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017?

I’m dazzled by the new fridges that can do your online shopping, organise your family calendar and let you see what food is in the fridge when you are out of the house.

At work, we’re experimenting with a technology that’s not new but may be used in new ways. Government as an API presents an opportunity to open up government information and services to be delivered or repackaged by others in new and innovative ways and by making all our content, data and transactions consumable via API’s we create the potential to deliver personalised user journeys for citizens in the future.

We’re also implementing a plan to refresh Govdex, our ‘whole of government’ collaboration platform – now more than 10 years old – after taking this work through a user-centered and evidence-based approach to determine the best way forward.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2016, what would it be?

I’d share this quote from Henry Ford
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.”

Who is your hero and why?

I don’t really have a hero. Just a large collection of people from diverse parts of my life (including people in my team) that I admire for their respective strengths, talents and leadership.

And finally, if you could recommend us one place to eat, where would it be?

Anywhere Rex Morgan is Head Chef. Currently he is at the Boulcott Street Bistro in Wellington, New Zealand.