In a citizen-first, technology-led service, innovation is crucial. DWP Digital is in the midst of a push to on-board digital specialists to transform government digital services.
UK public sector technology has a rich history, beginning with the groundbreaking efforts in computer science at Bletchley Park; to the multiple generations influenced by UK initiatives such as the BBC Micro, the Raspberry Pi project and micro:bit.
In the digital age most organisations recognise their new-found place as a ‘technology company’ regardless of their sector or industry. There has been a resurgence of technology adoption amongst public sector organisations around the globe, inspired by institutions such as the US’ HealthCare.gov and the UK’s Government Digital Service.
From my perspective, what differentiates an experience in government IT is not by what to do, but by how technology is done.
In my blogpost on LinkedIn, I discuss innovation at DWP and how the most fulfilling moments is when technology allows user interaction to feel seamless, as opposed to an experience that feels scripted and frustrated.
As a citizen-first service with social impact at the heart of what we do, DWP are simultaneously embracing technology as an integral part of our organisation. This enables us to efficiently meet objectives for our workforce as well as our citizens.
At DWP the scale of our work means that every technological change can and make an impact on people’s lives, including the most vulnerable in society. This poses a demanding challenge to deliver technological change in a more consistent manner. However, if an e-commerce site ‘moves fast and breaks things’, all it would result in is lost revenue or lost entertainment – something that can wait.
What makes ‘technology companies’ innovative is their ability to handle setbacks and address errors quickly. It’s this agile mindset and ability to fix things – before it impacts anyone – that enables public sector organisations to innovate.
At DWP, my ambition is to deliver an environment where teams and employees can get the support to improve our citizens’ lives, regardless of whether they are dedicated public servants, or just beginning their career in technology.