'Culture key in governments' shift to digital'

Getting to grips with the implications of digital operating models is the main challenge for the public sector, says CCL chief Jos Creese

15th August, 2017
'Culture key in governments' shift to digital'
Jos Creese set up CCL in 2015
Jos Creese set up CCL in 2015

What's your name?

Jos Creese

What’s your current job?


How long have you held the position?

Since setting up the company in 2015

Can you describe your daily work routine?

No routine at all, to be honest! With a very large list of clients, I can get a call for help at any time, and I can rarely plan more than two weeks ahead. When I am not travelling, I work at home, typically writing digital research reports.

My work for clients is split between helping the public sector resolve digital challenges (typically programmes, supplier contracts, skills shortages, finances) and the private sector (typically marketing, sales, sector advice and facilitating client discussions).

What is your professional background?

I have worked at chief information officer (CIO) and chief data officer (CDO) level for many years, mostly for the public sector, but also undertaking a range of non-executive director roles and advisory roles, pro bono until setting up in business to do so professionally. So, I guess I would describe myself as a digital expert and evangelist.

Tell me about yourself away from work?

I have a range of hobbies and interests – running, cycling, cooking, travelling – but my spare time is mostly spent with my violin (I play with the Southampton Symphony Orchestra amongst others).

Tell us something very few people know about you?

I restore and repair old violins.

You are speaking at the forthcoming Government 3.0 Summit in Dublin. What is the focus of your talk?

I am speaking about the importance of understanding cultural change in digital programmes.

Most organisations are moving to so-called digital operating models. They are introducing self-service, automation and new technology methods for service design, delivery and collaboration. Yet many transformation projects still fail or under-deliver, and whilst the technology is sometimes to blame, often there are other reasons for digital under-performance, relating to organisational ‘culture and behaviours’.

What are these issues and what do we do about them? Who should lead on this aspect of change management – HR? IT? The CEO? There is plenty of evidence to suggest what works and what doesn’t, and how digital delivery differs from traditional delivery of ‘excellent IT in modernised government’. But it’s also sometimes ignored in the ‘rush to digital’.

This keynote will provide some practical insight and advice, challenging boards and CIOs in government to think differently about digital methods.

What do you see as the key challenges ahead for successful digital transformation within the public sector?

The main one is really getting to grips with the implications of digital operating models – it’s a fundamentally different way of organising and working, which is pretty scary for senior managers that have built careers on a very different set of skills and experience.

Secondly, though, is making space for mistakes. Not big ‘cock-ups’ of course, just a tolerance of experimentation and error, in order to create the traction and momentum necessary to stimulate true migration to digital working.

What innovations and changes do you envisage will be developed over the next 10 years for the public sector?

How long have you got?! Frankly there are just too many, from new ways of working with partners to adoption of new technologies.

I have been predicting for some long time that the rush to privatisation and self-regulation of public services will not be sustainable, so I predict that some of the cuts to budgets and to so-called red-tape will prove to be short-sighted.

But in terms of technology I predict that artificial intelligence, virtual reality and internet of things will be massively influential over the next decade – in nearly every public service area.

Jos Creese will be speaking at The Government 3.0 Summit on October 18th at Croke Park. For more information on this important event please visit www.gov3summit.com

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