Lucy Poole, Head of Government Digital Experience, Digital Transformation Agency, Australia

By Medha Basu

Women in GovTech Special Report 2019.

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

Developing services based on people’s key life events allows governments to deliver the highest impact support to people when they need it the most. Research tells us that designing services around life events aligns with how people think about interacting with government. One of the greatest challenges to this approach is that support for key life events involves services delivered across agencies and layers of government. We have been exploring this at the Digital Transformation Agency.

Often teams or individual agencies put more effort into refining and improving their own services without first stepping back and looking at the ecosystem as a whole and their role in it. We know from our research that while a singular experience with government may be satisfactory, it’s the collective experience that determines perceptions and one’s characterisation of government performance. Agencies working independently miss opportunities to deliver more impactful, innovative and scalable solutions.

Our experience is that adopting a customer-centric approach is the ‘secret sauce’ for bringing agencies and jurisdictions together to collaborate and solve complex problems together. Working through the lens of the customer quickly establishes common purpose, around which collaboration and joined-up services can be unlocked.

Technology is only part of the solution; we will continue to support all parts of society, especially vulnerable cohorts, with multiple channels and delivery options. But it’s still an incredibly important part of the equation – it provides the means to give consumers choice through personalisation options meaning that services are accessed where and when they need them, in a way that makes sense. Technology and data analytics also enable government to organise itself better and make decisions that benefit customers and meet community expectations.

What has been your biggest achievement in 2019?

A particularly momentous occasion was when the Australian Data Digital Council (a Council of Australian Government level council) endorsed our principles guiding national life event-based initiatives. These principles enable the design and delivery of changes that transform services. Cross jurisdiction collaboration can be challenging and needs a shared commitment to cross-jurisdiction service improvement, with consistent governance and policy mechanisms at Ministerial and agency levels to work.

For me, it wasn’t so much that principles per se had been agreed. Instead, the move signalled a real shift in government’s digital transformation maturity and it acknowledged the ‘legitimacy’ of life events to deliver joined-up services and leverage the insights and capabilities of all partners. Our commitment to the methodology had paid off – the time spent building capability, advocating and networking had been worth it. I was incredibly proud of the govX team.

What is the best thing you have experienced in your career?

Working with the talented people at the Digital Transformation Agency who have an unrelenting drive for human centred design and the courage to tackle the most complex of problems for the people of Australia.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2019, what would it be?

In 2019 I was reminded to stay focused on my strategic intent and to seek out and listen to many different viewpoints, especially those you don’t necessarily agree with.