Insights and perspectives from DTA Summit 2019

Liquid sent a team to learn, explore and contribute to the inaugural DTA Summit 2019, including supporting the submission of two case studies for the summit with the Commonwealth Department of Health, both of which were also finalists in the Digital Government Awards.

What we learnt will be valuable in an ongoing collaboration with agencies, industry and end users.

The momentum for the new Services Australia is building and DTA will expect to play a key role in its success. Their roadmap for improving digital services is still an important initiative and its success will be closely related to successful collaboration and skills improvement within the APS. Skills shortages remain the main obstacle to the move to online service delivery and digital transformation so the DTA and the APS will play an important part in growing capability.

There is a clear recognition and understanding that change is difficult but worthwhile and that better collaboration between everyone involved—agencies, industry and customers—is the way to breakdown the challenges and progress towards better outcomes. The recognition of life events as important drivers and sensible application of AI and machine learning will be important parts of the overall mechanism of delivery.

Andrew, Fiona, Matt and I all had different agendas for the day and I’ve included their insights below to indicate the variety and depth of the content and interactions.

LI-blog_DTA-image-1aLive visual scribing from the DTA Summit 2019.


Andrew Duval, Creative Director

"The Digital Summit was a great way to get a sense of how government teams from all levels of Australian government are thinking about digital: their priorities, strategies, struggles and concerns.

Probably the most global concern for everyone was digital skills, and the need to invest heavily in capability development—not just in training sessions, but also the hard sustained work of transferring complex knowledge between people in large organisations.

For me, the value in the summit was made up of dozens of tiny details and interactions, making it less about big messages and more about establishing a felt-sense connection with a community of passionate, committed, intelligent people doing the best work they could within some challenging constraints."

LI-blog_DTA-image-2Panel discussing 'What are the opportunities and challenges of digital?'.


Fiona Armstrong, CX & Digital Strategist

"It was great to hear that digital identity was seen as a cornerstone to providing friction free access to services as part of an integrated multi-channel delivery environment where customer choice was supported. The panel gave examples of life events, such as having a baby or employing an apprentice where they could remove the need for customers to fill in multiple forms with the same information.

Our My Aged Care client, Catherine Burkitt knowledgeably shared the collaborative MAC user research approach and how it delivered great insights to shape the MAC website. Her takeaway message to the audience was to put yourself in the shoes of your customers and understand their experience. She also described a recent visit to Dementia Australia where she was given a VR headset to experience how people with dementia see everyday things.

David Thodey & Sandra McPhee’s fireside chat to close the day was both engaging and insightful. David talked about how people think creating a burning platform has to be a negative, something is broken that needs fixed, but how it can also be a rallying positive vision of what the future can look like if the team works together. Both speakers shared examples of why leaders need to get actively involved in leading, changing and understanding the customer experience."

LI-blog_DTA-image-3David Thodey & Sandra McPhee’s fireside chat at the DTA Digital Summit.


Matt Neal, Lead Product Designer

"I’m a huge advocate of systems thinking across product development and particularly a fan of design systems. So it was a pleasure to have a meaningful talk with the team who are directly responsible for the current iteration of the Australian Government Design System. We talked freely and pragmatically about accessibility and inclusion, and the considerations we make when designing products that will fit into an agency’s service delivery ecosystem.

We also touched on how we have leveraged their team’s resource to create a baseline for implementation on our most recent projects and moved on to wishful thinking about what might be included in the system in the future.

Turns out it doesn’t have to be that wishful.

The team is highly interested in open collaboration with the community, sharing insights, learnings and especially when trying to figure out what’s “the next most important thing” to investigate, develop, test and release. I’ve already started my wishlist on the plane back to QLD and I can’t wait to see what comes next."

Thanks to everyone's efforts and unique experience I hope we were able to convey some of the priorities but also some of the really impressive products and innovations that are taking place. Products that are created and driven by a passionate public service with a strong appetite for industry collaboration and with the end user and their life experiences firmly in the frame.

LI-blog_DTA-image-4Congratulations to the My Aged Care team for winning Outstanding Product or Service at the Australian Government Digital Awards. PS Matt would have been in the photo but he was calling his mum.

See the full list of winners from the DTA's Australian Government Digital Awards here