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Plenary Morning at Smart Cities Week ANZ 2020 - What was said...

Submitted by Adam Beck on September 23, 2020
On Monday 21 September we hosted our Plenary Morning for Smart Cities Week Australia New Zealand 2020. In this streamed plenary session we work through a range of topics that support the operationalisation of technology and data investments in a way that focuses on performance and outcomes. This session is about exploring the direct link between smart cities, and social, environment and economic benefit. Thanks to our sponsor Aveva, we spent the morning facilitating three session. You can view the session recording below.  Here are some key points we noted by our guests: Ministerial Keynote - The Hon Victor Dominello MP, Minister for Customer Service, NSW Government
  • We have gone from a $150M digital transformation budget over three years to $1.6B over three years
  • ...this is a digital response to COVID - it has accelerated our roadmap for using digital and data
  • The Smart Infrastructure Policy mandates 'smarts' to be embedded in every government infrastructure project over $10M and with a $103B infrastructure pipeline in NSW, thats a lot of smarts!
  • The Smart Places Acceleration Fund (as part of the NSW Smart Places Strategy) will ensure NSW is the leading smart state in the nation - with an aspiration to lead the southern hemisphere, and be a world leader
  • The Smart Places Strategy will include innovation challenges, acceleration of solution deployment, capability development, building connectivity infrastructure, creating value from data and communicating insights, and ensuring that regional communities will be targeted
  • Smart Places Advisory Council was announced - including the likes of the Smart Cities Council, Circular NSW, the Internet of Things Alliance Australia among others
  •  On Digital Twin, it continues to be a platform for delivering economic reform, hyper efficient city planning approaches, development and construction, driving risk reduction and enabling laser-like decision making
  • We are keen to ensure we continue to have the best data architecture - so we can be making agile adjustments to customer services in-situ, enabled by real time data and insights
 The Impact Panel - Linking action and investment with impact The panel of guests included:
  • Rebecca Davis, Head of Advisory, Environment and Digital | WSP
  • Alice Thompson, CEO | Committee for the Hunter
  • Chris Isles, Economic Development Manager | Brisbane City Council
  • Lucinda Hartley, Co-Founder | Neighbourlytics
  • Richard Briggs, CEO | Hamilton City Council, NZ
 Here are some key points shared by our guests on this topic: 
  • Richard Briggs
    • we lack standardised ways of gathering data and generating insights on our investment impact
    • Impact measurement tools are starting to arrive, to help measure our impact on our community
    • our efforts in driving the strategic planning over the past few years and enabled 'shovel ready' projects are therefore rapidly identifiable and linked to wellbeing outcomes
    • our philosophy is one that is moving to a place of the community having more of a say in where we invest in services
    • no worse off from our growth - communicating stories
    • how can we best take place-based data and turn it into something valuable
    • there is a reluctance at times to embrace frameworks and goals where there is minimal influence by a local authority
  • Chris Isles
    • should we be communicating the technical impact of our efforts, or just getting on which making sure the City is just working
    • put greater amount of data in the hands of our businesses and communities during these challenging time
    • activating data and sharing insights is now a priority, not just 'opening' data, which can be challenging for some
    • we want to put good data out into the hands of the community in a timely manner
    • dashboards cannot be an end state, they are a communication tool, and we need to focus on data-driven decision making, as opposed to data-driven communication
    • who are we measuring performance for?
  • Alice Thompson
    • measurement is constrained by the availability and quality of data
    • on prioritisation, 50 measures doesn't necessarily allow us to prioritise
    • Does data change our priorities for investment, is questionable
    • reducing friction and speeding up decision making through data is possible
    • a place-based approached could help focus our scope of investment, as well as looking through the eyes of the community or other stakeholders
    • working across our 'Joint Organisation of Council's in the Hunter we have been able to identify projects that help deliver greater resilience and self-sustainability moving into the future
    • we need to be clear about the difference between coordination and collaboration, and we too often confuse the two
    • measuring outputs vs outcomes is another example of differences we don't truly understand at time
  • Lucinda Hartley
    • link between communication and data literacy is critical
    • converting messy data pieces into articulate 
    • how we report and understand the outcomes is partially a communication issue, but fundamentally literacy around data
    • framework are the basis through which we can collaborate and shift our aspirations
    • the desire to be localised is strong, but need a broader view of where we are going
    • having contextual drivers for our actions and investments can help us measure our progress
  • Rebecca Davis
    • we are starting to see that momentum is coming back 
    • community and social infrastructure sectors showing good signs of recovery
    • recognition that both problems and opportunities pre-COVID have not gone away and there is a real need to advance them
    • unless we are clear on what the so what of the insights - fresh data is good, but being clear on what you are going to do with it makes it less potent
    • getting a model that works well in one place, and scaling and replication our data insights approach to speed up opportunities
    • we still see many projects building their own performance frameworks, to ensure they are contextualised
 Mayoral Address - Teresa Harding, Mayor for the City of Ipswich
  • The City of Ipswich has a GDP of almost $10B, a 4.6% growth rate and a population planned to double
  • Significant opportunities are upon the City, however it needs a smart and trusted local government
  • Ipswich has therefore embarked on a journey to ensure legitimacy and credibility like no other - ensuring it becomes a world leader in good governance, accountability and transparency
  • Ipswich is the only local authority in the  country to report its financial performance down to the ledger level, proactively and in one place
  • using the OpenGov platform, the City has published 5 years of previous financial data, as well as the 2020/21 actual
  • it has resulted in a major data governance, financial transparency and accountability journey
  • we want the residents to know how their rates are being spent
  • detailed financial data of the City and its controlled entities, Councillor expenses and contracts over $10,000 have been published
  • the platform enables the viewing and downloading of the data for visualisation, as well as providing contextualisation of the data through stories
  • this capability is a tool for enabling civic innovation
  • publishing procurement data on an ongoing basis
  • now developing a roadmap for publishing more data and more stories
  • this is also enabling benchmarking with the more than 2,000 other local government organisations across the world using the same platform
  • this will include facilitating participatory budgeting, and driving civic innovation
  • overall, we are committed to delivering a new standard of government, and asking the community to hold us to account