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Defence leading public service Innovation Month

augmented reality

Promoting innovation is becoming an increasingly important concept for the Australian Public Service (APS) and the implementation of key government policy. For the Department of Defence, public sector Innovation Month provided the opportunity for Defence to lead discussions on what it means for the APS and government to be innovative and how to nurture innovation in government. 

Hosted by Aiyaswami Mohan, chief technology officer of the Department of Defence, public sector Innovation Month provides an opportunity for the APS to understand and develop innovative approaches to the complex challenges faced when implementing key government policy and programs. 


Mohan said, "Defence needs a proactive and innovative approach to leverage technology and enable defence capability."

Beginning in early July, Innovation Month covered a range of topics relevant to enhancing innovation, including Defence-focused topics, such as: 

  • What is innovation and what does it mean to the APS?; 
  • Experimenting with virtual reality;
  • The art of negotiation; 
  • What if: The future of the world;
  • Threat intelligence;
  • Fifth generation wireless technology (5G) and the internet of things (IoT) at Telstra; 
  • Digitally transforming a nation: E-Estonia; and
  • How to give a TEDx pPresentation. 

Experimenting with virtual reality: Virtual reality has many applications, including:

  • Unifying geographically diverse workforces;
  • Creating safe and controlled testing environments;
  • Recruitment, training and development; and 
  • Remotely controlling military vehicles, aircraft and vessels. 

The art of negotiation: Covered the multiple dimensions of strategy, alignment and engagement with a specific focus on the public sector and Defence-specific case studies. 



What if: The future of the world: Covered the identification and piloting of emerging technologies such as blockchain and automation in the GovTech space. 

Threat intelligence: A discussion with IBM X-Force to focus on synthesising the various threads into a cohesive, curated data model to inform an organisation's understanding of the most relevant threats.

Digitally transforming a nation: E-Estonia: Focusing on the digital transformation of Estonia, with a focus on: financial and economic indicators; e-government indicators; cyber and national security implications; X-Road data exchange platform; and applications for health, public safety and education. 

Key note speakers and workshop leaders, included: 

  • Aiyaswami Mohan, CTO, Department of Defence; 
  • Brendan Nelson AO, director, Australian War Memorial; 
  • Dr Sarah Pearson, chief innovation officer, Department of Foreign Affairs;
  • Christopher Murphy, associate lecturer (strategy, innovation, and entrepreneurship), University of Sydney; 
  • Nicole Campling, associate director (innovation), Department of Defence; 
  • Dr Julia Glidden, general manager (global government industry), IBM;
  • Andres Unga, Estonian ambassador to Australia; 
  • Elizabeth Kelly, PSM, deputy secretary (innovation), Department of Industry, Innovation and Science; 
  • Group Captain Carl Newman and Group Captain Jerome Reid of Plan JERICHO; and
  • Commodore Chris Smallhorn, Commander Fleet Air Arm of Innovation at Fleet Air Arm.  

Innovation Month is an annual showcase of public sector innovation, its achievements and challenges. The objective of Innovation Month is to provide everyone in the public sector with the opportunity to share about their experience innovating, or explore new ideas to improve their work practices. It is a collective effort led by public sector agencies and innovation leaders both inside and outside the APS.

Although innovation is all year round, Innovation Month provides an opportunity to focus on what's happening across the public sector and have an open conversation about how the public sector innovation journey is progressing.

More information on the public sector Innovation Month, the workshops and the individual speakers is available here

Defence leading public service Innovation Month
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