In 2006, the State Services Authority released a report on 'The Future of the Public Sector' in 2025. The report identified seven future issues and challenges for the public sector. One of these was fostering agility to support a high performing public sector. The uncertainty that the future holds means that the public sector cannot predict many of the challenges that it will confront. As such, the public sector requires agility in its systems and structures to respond to future issues.
This report is the culmination of a collaboration between Demos and the State Services Authority which set out to explore the idea of agile government in more depth. The project was launched at a seminar in June 2007 held in Demos' offices in London. The purpose of the seminar was to test early thinking about what agile government might mean. In September 2007, Demos and the State Services Authority then released a provocation paper to generate ideas and provoke debate about what agility means and how it could be applied to government. The paper outlined a preliminary definition of agility and explored its capabilities and challenges for government.
In October 2007, Demos researchers spent two weeks in Victoria, Australia to conduct seminars, workshops, and case study interviews. The purpose of the research visit was to:
• test the ideas outlined in the agile government provocation paper
• develop a deeper understanding of agility and ground the project in current public sector practice.
The field research involved a wide cross-section of participants. Participants came from all Victorian government departments as well as academia, think tanks, and public sector agencies from other Australian jurisdictions. They held diverse roles encompassing policy, strategy, service delivery, regulation, and executive management. Participants brought a depth of public sector experience to the project including industry policy, infrastructure, environmental sustainability, policing, economic policy, health, and early childhood development.