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A word about innovation

Friday 29 June 2018

Connect. Innovate. Achieve.

That’s our credo at the LGAQ and what we strive to practice. Without creating a critical mass or an economy of scale much of our innovation would fall on stony ground. So, nurturing and developing advocacy, services and business initiatives across our sphere of government is what we do - again and again.

It was great to hear that unique Queensland sense of collectiveness and positive action publicly acknowledged by both the Federal Local Government Minister John McVeigh and his Labor shadow Stephen Jones at the recent Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly in Canberra.

I guess innovation has been around since someone rubbed two sticks together or invented the first wheel. Certainly, no generation has a mortgage on it. Our grandparents could teach us a thing or two about necessity being the mother of invention. But right now, innovation is occurring at an unprecedented rate, with enormous economic and social consequences.

Whole forests have fallen to produce the thousands of books on the new economy, tech, disrupters, big data and data analytics, the future workforce and so on. I won’t even attempt to create any new revelations on the subject.

I will simply say that it’s better to be riding the wave than standing underneath it. That’s the LGAQ approach to innovation - harness the beast and make it serve us. We are literally seeking out examples of innovation everywhere and running the ruler over them.

Of course, not all innovation involves technology or science, albeit this is a huge part of what is going on right now. It can involve new forms of business models, how we organise ourselves or how we engage with others.

As I said in my most recent Council Leader column, over the past two decades, innovative LGAQ initiatives have resulted in a $2 billion plus saving to members, and that’s not including the benefit of our advocacy efforts.

At the LGAQ we have adopted the Amazon approach to innovation. The rules? You first have to write the news release as to how your innovative idea will benefit members. It must have broad acceptance. You must be able to execute your plan within six months, preferably three. And, it must pay for itself within a few years.

All our staff have been put through training in Agile, Sprint and Scrum techniques and we hold a daily scrum at 9 am every morning. Better still, in this budget we have put aside $200,000 into an Innovation Fund to enable us to launch more small-scale innovations faster - that can only be good for members.

That’s dwarfed of course by the LGAQ’s $15 million off budget commitment to LG Sherlock, Blockchain and further big data initiatives still to come over the next few years. A reminder that Sherlock is funded out of wholly owned business surpluses.

That leads me into this year’s Budget which the LGAQ Policy Executive approved this morning. It included a 2.5% increase in annual subscriptions and other fees and charges.

However, remember that we are rebating in full the annual subscription of those councils who are members of both LGM and LGW insurance providers - an unbeatable deal.

Highlights include $1.65 million allocated to support the creation, production and broadcast of a new version of our successful Better Councils, Better Communities local government image campaign.

We’ve allocated a further $962, 000 to support the second year of the two-year project to refresh and improve new web platform service offerings to members, as well as make improvements to LG Online, our dedicated member only website.

We’re bringing a new campaign coordinator onboard to join our Advocacy team. They’ll help sharpen and shape our capability to run large scale policy and advocacy campaigns on behalf of our members.

Finally thank god for the rain parts of South West Queensland and the Darling Downs received over the past few days, appreciating it’s only a start.

Please send more, Big Fella.

Australia’s cities, suburbs and regional communities are home to over 75% of our highly urbanised population. How we plan for the immense challenges and opportunities of tomorrow is critical to the health, wealth and wellbeing of all citizens. The LGAQ’s Future Cities, Smart Communities Summit will occur in Cairns next month.

Local Government Association of Queensland
LG House, 25 Evelyn Street, Newstead Qld 4006

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