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Peter Dunne tells GOVIS: Disruptive innovation is New Zealand's future

20 Jun 2016

Peter Dunne addressed the 25th anniversary of GOVIS in his speech on disruptive innovation last week, focusing on the fact that disruptive technology is what will propel government services and citizens forward.

The Minister opened his speech by describing brick mobile phones and the emergence of the first portable computers and quickly compared them to the likes of Netflix, Uber and the Panama Papers are today: disruptive technology.

"In this day and age of the ‘global village’ we are no longer so isolated. These days it seems we experience disruptive innovations at the same time they are released on the other side of the world," Dunne says.

Dunne highlighted that New Zealand recently hosted officials from the UK, Estonia, Israel and South Korea, known as the 'Digital 5 nations'. At this event, the focus was on disruptive innovations, policies and protections to provide services and benefits to citizens.

D5 gives us the opportunity to compare notes, share learnings, and co-operate so that we can remain among the leaders in digital services. What works in Estonia may not work here, but there are many ideas we can pick up from each other and potentially some problems we can solve together," Dunne says.

Dunne used the example of Google Apps in schools that have transformed learning in schools through access, collaboration and feedback, which he says has led to more engaged students.

The power of disruption is in the health care sector, where health results, online information access, monitoring devices and apps is "game changing", Dunne says.

Dunne also says that the Better Public Services programme is one way in which the Government is using innovation to better its public services, with a shift towards customer integration over a number of agencies instead of autonomous silos.

"The appointment of a Government Chief Information Officer to lead the ICT transformation is another example. ICT is a vital enabler for better citizen-centric services," Dunne says.

"Of course, greater collaboration across the public sector is the way forward and the Partnership Framework established by GCIO, Colin MacDonald is a great example of senior leaders working across government. From revising the Government ICT Strategy to leading the work supporting it, these groups are demonstrating new ways of working," Dunne continues.

Dunne also says the Government's initiatives are working, citing statistics such as 50% of passport renewals, 80% of tax returns are done online, and 85% of births are registered online.

According to Dunne, the Government's streamlined IT strategy has made a $70 million difference in savings and cost avoidance across the system, which can be channelled into frontline services or returned to citizens.

Dunne points out that work being conducted in the Department of Internal Affairs' open data space allows anyone to find, use and re-use more than 4000 data sets made available by government agencies.

Although it is a test version, Dunne says that there are great benefits to businesses and citizens in the data. helping to navigate obstacles, shape thinking and services.

Dunne points out that The National Library is helping more than 40% of adults who lack literacy and numerical skills to contribute to a knowledge economy, so this must be a focus for an innovation economy.

"There will be new technologies and they will bring new cultural norms, new ways of communicating and sharing, and new ways of interacting with government. Digital technology gives us the tools to make a real difference to people’s lives. But we must remind ourselves of our core purpose in government - to serve our citizens," Dunne says.

Dunne believes that technology will be a "critical enabler" for New Zealanders in all stages of their lives. The Government's focus is on using disruptive innovations to collaborate with all sectors, keeping up with change that innovation brings while maintaining trust and security.

"Our challenge is to harness disruptive innovations and work together, not only to find new ways to do the old things, but to reshape our citizens’ experience of government. And in doing so, we all can, through each gain we make, play a small part in a much bigger assignment: to make life better for all New Zealanders," Dunne concludes.