The Queensland Government wants to create an environment in which innovation is viewed as safe, says the man leading the implementation of its ICT Action Plan, Glenn Walker.
“We are recognising innovation prototyping in the department and making it OK,” he said.
As executive director of ICT renewal at the Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts, Walker is in charge of the IT roadmap released last month.
At an industry gathering in Brisbane last week he explained the rationale behind the agency's measures to make policy experimentation quicker and more appealing to a notoriously risk averse public service.
One element of the lengthy plan is the formation of an ‘innovation portal’, described by Walker as “the place in which we put forward our business problems, not specifying the technical outcome, and you bring back innovative solutions”.
The state is also hoping that a number of SME-friendly procurement rules will have the dual advantage of nurturing the local industry while injecting new ideas into the government.
The new rules allow agencies to directly engage SMEs to take on work valued up to $500,000 without the need to traverse the “red tape” involved in a full approach to market.
Walker said he hopes the policy will make innovation prototyping “a much, much shorter process”.
The government also announced last month that at least one capable SME would be automatically included in the bidding shortlist for all ICT tenders under the new scheme.
“This is certainly a big step forward in helping SMEs get involved in the smaller innovative things that may indeed provide opportunities to grow your business,” Walker told attendees.
“I think a lot of our small procurements, as time moves on, will be much more focussed on innovation.
“This is the opportunity for organisations that are willing to invest their time and effort with us into help us come up with new ways of doing things,” he said.
Walker also asked audience members to think seriously about forming consortia to align themselves with the new end-to-end delivery perspective of the state’s ‘ICT-as-a-service’ policy mantra.
“I can say from first-hand experience that works,” he said. “Your partnership with everybody else in this room is going to be just as important as your partnership with us. Today’s competitor may be tomorrow’s partner”.