Disrupt the Public Sector conference

The Disrupt the Public Sector conference saw a large, diverse and passionate crowd turn out at the end of July. A feature of the broader 2015 APS Innovation Month, the event hosted by Collective Campus focussed on how to foster disruptive innovation to drive a broader innovation ecosystem within government.

What happened?

The day kicked off with a panel discussion consisting of thought leaders from the public sector, private enterprise and start-up scene, offering their unique perspectives and learned lessons on the value of innovation within government.  The sessions following included tailored presentations on:

  • Design Thinking
  • Agile methodology
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Disruptive Value Innovations
  • Digital Marketing and Social Media.

Code for Australia led the rapid prototyping workshop where participants were set the challenge to #BringBacktheBus as a popular public transport method to Melbourne’s streets.

With only an hour to bring their idea to life on the page, participants were treated to a d.school inspired rapid prototyping class that asked them to:

  • Gain empathy through user interviews
  •  Reframe and define the problem based on new insights
  • Ideate multiple alternatives to test ideas and assumptions
  • Iterate based on feedback
  • Build and test the solution with the wider group.

Some fascinating (and slightly out there) solutions came as a result, including an app to connect citizens to themed services. Perfect for those wanting to tailor meetups and multi-task on their daily commute to work.


Disruptive innovation is not unique to the business world. The ideas and methodologies that drive innovation have been applied in a public sector context with success.

It was a full house at the conference, demonstrating that there are plenty of people within all levels of government in Australia that are keen to learn how they can enhance the impact of their work.

Innovation in government does not necessarily mean ‘do more with less’. Rather it’s a way of letting go of unnecessary process by deepening understanding and empowering citizens. Put nicely by Kirsty Elderton from Futuregov, “innovation within government makes room for collaborative disruption to occur within our local communities.” 

ByJack Greig