Steve davies's Blog (365)

Public service innovation - No straight lines

To introduce this post on No straight lines I want to take you on a journey. That's on the basis that to know where we are and where we are heading we actually need to know where we've been. Due to the nature of the work I've been involved in for the past nineteen years I'm well placed to take you on this journey.


For a long time I've expressed the view that the way in which the majority of Australian Public Service agencies manage innovation and change itself is based…


Added by steve davies on March 19, 2012 at 7:30am — No Comments

Public Sector Innovation: The View from Torquay

 Interesting quote from Professor Peter Shergold 

The bad news for public servants is that sometimes the barriers seem overwhelming. I remember the problems all too well. Even those in situational authority find themselves, most days, having to react to large and small political crises, ensuring that the machinery of government keeps running smoothly, and focussed on Parliamentary accountability and the relentless scrutiny of the media. The default position is to avoid…


Added by steve davies on March 15, 2012 at 12:56pm — No Comments

Abusive management and organisational health are 24/7 issues

I have recently been provided with anecdotal information suggesting that the performance development and management processes of some Australian Public Service agencies are being used to manage staff ‘out the door’.


This does not surprise me. After all, agencies are faced with shedding staff, the goal posts on performance and responsibility are being shifted and managers are faced with making ‘tough’ decisions.


What appears to be happening is that the goal…


Added by steve davies on March 15, 2012 at 12:20pm — No Comments

The paranoia that will 'shut' government

The Canberra Times kindly published an article of mine in the Public Sector Informant magazine. The informant itself is not available on line so I've provided it in pdf below.


You sometimes hear people complain about how the press alters the what they say and that the intended meaning gets lost.The editor of the Informant Markus Mannheim was fantastic to deal with and made some tweaks that really added value.…


Added by steve davies on March 7, 2012 at 10:30am — 2 Comments

The Helsinki Group's Declaration of Rights for Cetaceans

Some of my colleagues and friends think I can be a little crazy at times. I freely admit that - it's just me.


Cetaceans are very much part of the social and political landscape in Australia. The slaughter of whales and abuse of dolphins is something the majority of Australians are disgusted with. Consequently, the Helsinki Group's Declaration is something the…


Added by steve davies on March 1, 2012 at 9:07am — No Comments

Digital Destruction


An excellent video from Erik Qualman. A progression from the death of the wrist watch to the emergence of the Digital Leader.


Destruction may seem a harsh term to some. After all, these devices and services have been replaced by something better. All of it social.


However, that being said the way some of the…


Added by steve davies on February 29, 2012 at 9:30am — No Comments

Workplace socialisation in the Public Service

In the course of examining data from the current State of the Service of the Service Report the previous report. It contains an interesting chart showing employee satisfaction or engagement by length of service in the APS (see at the end of this post).


What is interesting is the reduction in engagement over time for most factors. This pattern mirrors what is known about work place socialisation. In general terms the pattern is for quite high levels of engagement when one…


Added by steve davies on February 28, 2012 at 12:30pm — No Comments

State of the Services Reports and Employee Surveys

This post is a work-in-progress. What I am starting to do is pull together State of the Service Reports for various jurisdictions. These reports are compiled by central agencies within each State/Territory jurisdiction.


The purpose of doing so is to assist people to compare the various reports and form a view on the degree of openness of each jurisdiction. These reports contain information that provides an indication of the organisational health of the public sector of each…


Added by steve davies on February 24, 2012 at 11:42am — 1 Comment

The PR Report - The Top 20 Trends for PR Practitioners in 2012

Glen Frost of frocomm kindly asked me to pen some of my thoughts for The PR Report. Needless to say, my thoughts centred on information, transparency and authenticity.


After reading the entire report it is clear to me that quite a few people - a lot actually - are on a similar wavelength so far as the impact of the web and social media is concerned. The community is screaming out for authenticity from…


Added by steve davies on February 20, 2012 at 11:04am — No Comments

State of the Service Report 2010-11: Australian Public Service Employee Survey Results

I appreciate that publishing the State of the Service Report results to is a start. However, the results are hardly presented in an accessible manner. OK for statisticians, but what about the public? A small start would be to use textual column headings rather than question numbers and response scale text rather than numeric values. Little things help.


The major point, however, is that the public service is a mysterious black box to many people. So why not do more…


Added by steve davies on February 16, 2012 at 6:30am — No Comments

Centre for Public Sector Design - A drone free zone

I've been pondering the Centre for Public Sector Design for a little while. Especially after reading the post Six thoughts for the Centre for Public Sector Design’s future CEO. Great advice for sure:


  • The methodology is NOT the most important thing.
  • Don’t move slowly.
  • Measure EVERYTHING that you do.
  • Do more than ‘assure’.
  • Do…

Added by steve davies on February 15, 2012 at 1:30pm — 1 Comment

Australian Taxation Office Employee Engagement Survey - Beyond FOI?

Some time ago a good friend of mine drew my attention to an article by Kate Dempsey entitled Public Sector Values as a Talisman against 'evil'. The article raises questions about how such values are used, not so much the values themselves.


On 1 February 2012 I received a response from the…


Added by steve davies on February 6, 2012 at 12:00pm — 5 Comments

Social media and public servants - Online participation not wanted? Well maybe, Maybe not.

In this weekends Canberra Times Markus Mannheim wrote a piece entitled Please speak freely, servants...just don't upset anyone.


Markus apologises, not for his original article, but for the aftermath. And I quote,


I'm not sorry for highlighting this latest advice; that's my job. It's…


Added by steve davies on January 29, 2012 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Social media and the 21st Century Enlightenment

Some time ago I wrote and presented a paper advocating the need for a Public Service Renaissance. A philosophical kindred spirit recently drew my attention to the work of Matthew Taylor and the …


Added by steve davies on January 29, 2012 at 10:24am — No Comments

Why Top Talent Leaves: Top 10 Reasons Boiled Down to 1

Interesting post by Erika Andersen pointing out that,


According to Jackson(and, again, I agree with him) top talent does indeed leave for the same reasons everyone else does. If I were to distill his ‘top ten reasons’ down to one, it’s this:

Top talent leave an organization when they’re badly managed…


Added by steve davies on January 27, 2012 at 1:00pm — No Comments

Attitudes to social media and tech in the public service

In my post Social media and public servants - Online participation not wanted? I highlighted the fact that the new Australian Public Service Commission guidelines on social media conveyed a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt. The point being that the FUD overwhelmed the positive aspects of the guidelines. Couple that with the blocking of many social media…


Added by steve davies on January 25, 2012 at 7:30am — 5 Comments

Surveys, Whistle Blowing and Story Telling

At last years Smart Government Conference the punchline on my presentation was the proposition that we needed a safe means for public servants to tell their stories of their experiences of work. Read more


I've been giving that a lot of thought. Firstly, because this can be done.…


Added by steve davies on January 19, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Social media and public servants - Online participation not wanted?

Just read an interesting piece by Markus Manhheim, Public Service Reporter, Canberra Times - PS on notice over social media use.

I know that central agencies in the public sector do not deliberately issue circulars with the intent of telling public servants to, as it were, shut up online. However, that is precisely what …


Added by steve davies on January 18, 2012 at 10:30am — 10 Comments

Does the public service need more free radicals?

First up thanks to @allisonhornery for the heads up on A Manifesto for Free Radicals by Scott Belsky.



The Manifesto resonates well with me given the content of the…


Added by steve davies on January 11, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Australian Public Service Reform Revisited

So 2012 is here.


We've had the initial flurry of reform activity - reports, committees and information cascading from on high along with requests for feedback. So, with the increased efficiency dividend about to impact Australian Public Service agencies what does reform really look like? More pointedly, is the APS really Building the future together? By the way, that's the tagline used on the APS…


Added by steve davies on January 10, 2012 at 10:30am — 1 Comment

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