ANZSOG/CPI Reimagining Government series inspires global debate

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  • Published Date: 21 August 2020

The Reimagining Government webinar series, run jointly by ANZSOG and the Centre for Public Impact, will be used to inform discussions of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD’s) upcoming Government After Shock dialogue in November.

The series of seven interactive webinars brought together expert panellists to discuss a range of topics such as: thinking in systems, leading with humility, putting relationships first and sharing power. The discussions were bound together by the ‘enablement paradigm’ which sees the role of government as creating conditions that lead to good outcomes for society, rather than just managing or controlling.

The series has been chosen by the OECD’s Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) to help inform discussions at its November dialogue, which seeks to explore answers to:

  • What do we need to leave behind (both from before and during the crisis)?
  • What do we want to keep (both from before and during the crisis)?
  • What should we do differently?

The OPSI has collaborated with like-minded organisations and conveners to capture key insights from relevant events to inform global discussions about the crisis, its aftermath and the implications for governments and their roles. As part of this, it has produced an event report with ANZSOG and the CPI that summarises the insights from the Reimagining Government discussions.

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a shock to all established institutions. It has simultaneously exposed weaknesses in government structures, while highlighting the necessity of effective government and strong leadership to address a global crisis. This paradox has created a sense that governments must change the way they operate and has given new momentum to calls for a rethink of how governments work with citizens and the community to solve the other huge challenges of the 21st century.

Trust in government across the world had been in decline prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, perhaps due to a sense that politics and governments remain structured in ways that reflect the values and mindset of an industrial era, when the world looked very different from what it does now.

The webinars provided a forum that brought together leading thinkers, academics and leaders to explore these principles more closely, and to allow attendees to pose questions and discuss the issues among themselves.

The series – hosted by James Button – featured panellists including: Peter Hughes, head of the New Zealand State Services Commission and ANZSOG Chair; Terry Moran AC, former Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Chair of Centre for Policy Development; Dr Luke Craven, Director of Foresight at the Australian Tax Office; Mary Wooldridge, former Victorian Minister for Mental Health, Women's Affairs and Community Services; and Dr Penny Hagen, Director Co-Design Lab, Auckland.

Watch the Reimagining Government webinars on the ANZSOG YouTube channel.

Read the OECD report on Reimagining Government