This week I had the real pleasure of heading down to London and speaking at the Granicus Annual Public Sector Conference. Held in the stunning Royal Institute of British Architects I spoke about leadership, culture and the need for redesigned public services in my talk titled Digital in the DNA.

The slides are up now but as a summary these are some of the things I covered:

Service design, user experience and a digital public sector

Much of the talk was about the need to stop digitising public services – sticking a web front end on a back office system and ticking it off the list as done – and becoming a digital public sector. This was about service design and user experience – designing end-to-end services┬áregardless of the channel they may be in. I spoke a lot about observing people, understanding behaviour and need, and including them in the design process. This meant I could talk about…

Jane Jacobs

There was something lovely about talking about the wonderful Jane Jacobs while at RIBA and I loved being able to build this brilliant woman into my talk. Jane Jacobs was a fantastic journalist, activist and visionary and made some of the defining observations on city society in the modern era. I recommend her work to anyone interested in public life, society, platemaking, and yes – digital.


Building on the blog post’s I wrote for Granicus earlier in the year I spoke about the need for leaders in the sector who understood digital culture, process and practice and not just one part of the digitisation process (like communications or technology) and were open to the design of services. I also offered that hierarchy should be broken down with leaders throughout the organisation and sector. I bet some of this breed of leader were in the room.

Catalysing culture change

I also spoke about how all this adds up to a huge culture change but how the scale of that didn’t need to be overwhelming. I spoke of how communicators have a lot of good skills to catalyse and support culture change.

There were some great questions at the end – about the speed of culture change, about convincing elected members that digital was a channel they needed to be in, and about use of What’s App (which led to me talking about Chatbots again).

There were loads of other great speakers on the day and although not my sector anymore I definitely left feeling invigorated and hopeful for the future of public services and public sector communications.

Thanks to Granicus for inviting me to speak – more from them on the conference and other speakers here.