Digital government revolution in the UK: get inspired

Video: Change on the Inside: My Part in the Digital Government Revolution

I love this video.

Watching Neil Williams, product manager in the UK Government Digital Service, talk in a really personal way at the Dare Conference about the change they’ve been through in creating GOV.UK is nothing short of inspirational.

I love the way he talks about the very human response to change. How his first thoughts about the prospect of website consolidation — from 300+ sites down to a single domain — were ‘no’ and ‘what about me?’  His honesty when taking us through his journey from being threatened by the change, to being part of it, is completely authentic.

What stays with me from his talk are his thoughts on change:

  • Change is scary and inconvenient.
  • Help others change. Sketch out the change to help make the unknown known.
  • Trust your instincts. Be a digital person in your organisation — help them understand what users want to do.

I’ve been working around all-of-government web for over a decade now. There have been times when I’ve been really excited about what we can do in government. The potential we have for making the hard government stuff easier for people is extraordinary.

There have also been looooong periods where I’ve been disillusioned by how we do things. Like the way we focus on websites when they’re projects, and then forget about them once they’re launched. How we have our egos tied up in websites and brands and we lose sight of the people who have to navigate through the layers.

We need a digital government revolution here in NZ. I see the beta.govt.nz project as an agent of change — it offers me hope that we can do things better. Maybe we can offer up services that people can easily find and use, *and* deliver better value for money.

So, watch this video, be brave and become a “digital insurgent” in your agency. This is how change happens.

2 comments

  1. Comment #1. dan Mlebye:

    Yes agree with so many of these comments. Control, ego and owenership of websites and brands often mean that we don’t deliver the best experience for users often meaning that we are not providing the best service we can because ‘it is ours’.

  2. Comment #2. Victoria Wray

    Yep – we’re excited about what’s happened at GOV.UK because it’s actually happened! Proof that a government can do things differently, work smarter and deliver and keep on delivering to people. And if it can happen in the UK it can happen here in NZ.

    I also caught Tom Loosemore, Deputy Director at the UK’s Government Digital Service, video Doing it properly, at scale last week. Doubly inspired now.

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