A few months ago reading about the Accenture/Hertz court case set me off on a well practised rant – 

That the commonly stated belief that the ‘private sector’ somehow is better prepared for the internet-age than public service organisations is hogwash. 

As myths go it is incredibly powerful but time and again all the evidence points to the fact that big parts of the ‘private sector’ is stumbling around in the dark. Massive high street brands across industries are failing to cope with changing habits and expectations. Banks are struggling. Airlines and Telecoms companies can’t manage personal data correctly. Credit card companies find their hardware fails with no back-up. Huge multi-nationals waste billions trying to accelerate their progress.

Meanwhile the public service continues to keep the National Audit Office busy with failures of its own – things like the Common Agricultural Policy project and Verify certainly don’t display things in a great light and the NHS has a litany of poor decisions and delivery in its digital past.

That said it remains my hypothesis that actually public services are a hot-bed of good practice when it comes to dragging legacy organisations in to the modern age. Sure it is uneven and there are miles to go but lessons have been learned and challenges accepted (even with the occasional constitutional crisis to navigate.) The fact that it is public money being spent though means these initiatives (rightly) get much more scrutiny (from the NAO, Parliament, the Press and the Public) than the failures littering the board rooms of publicly traded companies and thus perceptions are warped.

This is all a long winded way of saying I am really proud that Notbinary is supporting the ‘Exchange’ track at this years ‘Disruption Summit Europe’. 

The Summit is an event that attracts delegates from retail, finance, manufacturing, media, transportation and insurance. It has not traditionally been somewhere the public service perspective was prevalent. This year though we hope to change that.

The description of the track is →

Whilst the drivers and benefits of innovation in private and public sector can be very different, many of the challenges remain the same. 

What can we learn from large scale transformation programmes in government and how can they be applied in a private sector setting?

..and we have a great cast of speakers sharing their experiences of helping their institutions embrace the opportunities of the internet era.

Some highlights for me are Jeni Tennison (CEO of the Open Data Institute) talking about the importance of data as infrastructure, Sam Hall (Deputy Director at the Office for National Statistics) sharing some of the challenges of the upcoming ‘digital-first’ Census and the panel discussing user centred approaches in public service featuring Amanda Smith (Head of User Centred Policy Design, Ministry of Justice), Jenny Rowlands (Chief Executive, Camden Council), Emma Stace (Director of Digital & Transformation, Department of Education) and Dr Sam Shah (Director of Digital Development, NHSx).

The Summit is packed full of other not to be missed speakers – not least David Gram (Intrapreneur In Residence , LEGO) and Will Butler-Adams (CEO, Brompton Cycles) who I am sure will provide brilliant insights but I am personally most excited just to help provide this opportunity for these brilliant representatives from the public service to share their knowledge with a broader audience and maybe we can all get a little better at becoming truly 21st Century organisations.

As supporters of the event we’re really happy to be able to offer you a 20% discount off ticket prices

Hope to see you there.


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