As part of TechWeek 19, Creative HQ hosted people from across the public, private and community sectors for a discussion on how GovTech can encourage collaboration.

Lightning Lab GovTech Programme Director, Jonnie Haddon, facilitated a panel discussion with Elena Higginson, Principal Advisor Digital Government at DIA; Peter Fletcher-Dobson, a sector leader in digital transformation and innovation; and Cyma Parbhu, a member of Spring, a team from the 2018 Lightning Lab GovTech programme.

The panellists spoke about the strengths of GovTech, and the ability for smaller customer-centric tech companies to build partnerships with government, where traditionally they would have missed out because of BAU government procurement processes. The panellists also spoke about the benefits of the GovTech hub, as a neutral space for teams to physically come together with a license to explore new ways of working.

There was general agreement that government department collaboration will remain on the fringe so long as department performance measures are siloed; they are not incentivised to work together. Elena suggested that organic collaboration between departments has been lost; ‘people don’t pick up the phone and talk to each other anymore’.

Audience discussions highlighted the need for decision-makers to feel comfortable with failure before innovative ways of working will be more widely adopted within government. Conversations called for a shift from time-consuming business cases (the current government BAU), to smaller incremental funding models that test and iterate customer-centric pilots before larger programmes are rolled out.

The audience also acknowledged the need for greater public awareness of GovTech success stories. With 10 out of 12 projects from Lightning Lab GovTech 2018 cohort supported to continue after Demo Day, we need better communications to get those positive stories out to the public. Creative HQ is working on this – keep your eyes out!


Lightning Lab GovTech 2019 is starting 5 August! Applications for individuals looking to join a team are now open; apply here before 30 June.

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