The Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has established a government-wide innovation hub aimed at getting agencies to work together on digital projects that are mutually beneficial.
The ‘co-Lab Innovation Hub’ will provide a dedicated space located in the DTA's office in Sydney's hipster precinct of Surry Hills for agencies to collaborate on new and innovative digital projects.
It will allow multi-disciplinary teams from agencies, starting with the Department of Human Services, to collaborate with specialists from the DTA and the private sector.
Both agencies are already working on a range of cross-agency projects such as the development of common platforms through the govpass digital identity program, where DHS is responsible for the identity exchange – one of two major components that make up the platform.
DHS is also currently working through its billion-dollar welfare payments infrastructure transformation (WPIT) project, which is being leveraged by a number of other agencies include the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The hub is expected to improve collaboration between agencies on digital projects, a key sticking point for the DTA since it was restructured. It is increasingly looking for arrangements that create incentives for sharing investments or partnering with other agencies.
“Cross-agency collaboration is essential for the effective delivery of government services and fundamental to our focus on transforming the way Australians interact with their government,” Minister for Human Services and Digital Transformation Michael Keenan said, announcing the initiative.
The co-Lab will also engage with “innovative businesses” where practical to “identify and adopt new approaches and best practices and gain insights into the latest technology to improve the delivery of government services”
Keenan said that DHS’ engagement with co-Lab – as the first agency to be hosted – would “drive better and more coordinated digital service delivery across not only DHS, but the wider government”.
It would also help accelerate the development of digital skills across the public sector, building on existing initiatives such its new digital training marketplace and the digital leadership program.
“co-Lab will also help accelerate DTA’s goal of lifting digital capabilities within and across government, delivering on the government’s commitment to build digital skills and expertise within the Australian Public Service,” Keenan said.
The DTA is also looking to launch a second co-Lab space in Canberra later this year.