Creating compelling cases for (digital) change

16 September 2016

Neil Prior, Account Director at Northgate Public Services

In the next few weeks I’ll be attending GovCamp Cymru, an event where people who are passionate about public services will give up a Saturday to discuss, create and innovate around how technology and new thinking can improve our public sector.

It’s an Unconference, so the agenda is set on the day by those who pitch an idea. I’ll be there, and I’ll be pitching a session on ‘how can we create compelling business cases for change?’


We all know about the financial pressures on public services, but for those of us who work in or with the public sector, we’ll also be aware of the other challenges that need to be addressed: how do we improve the customer experience, how do we create efficiencies, how do we modernise, and how do we do all this with the introduction of significant new legislation (think Wellbeing of Future Generations Act) and against the backdrop of the uncertainty of “back to the drawing board” for local government reorganisation in Wales?

It would be a fair assumption to say that everyone attending GovCamp Cymru knows that digital is part of the answer to the questions above, and whilst the sector is making significant progress in this area, for some it isn’t fast enough. Why is this?

Complex structures, conflicting priorities

Political and public sector organisations can be quite risk averse and, traditionally at least, don’t always fully realise the opportunities they have for change and improvement.  

The hierarchical and cultural aspects need to be considered, as a brilliant idea that emerges from further down the organisational chart may have to swim against the tide to make it to cabinet. The complex structure and conflicting priorities within local government means that innovation can be difficult to nurture.

By implication

To get an idea off the ground and into reality, in business or public service, I believe that you need to have exceptional stakeholder management skills, you need to be able to demonstrate value to multiple parties (and not just financial value), and you need to be passionate, credible and resilient. There will be ideas at GovCamp that have the potential to change our public services for the better, but they won’t see the light of day without the ability to create a compelling case for change.

I’d like to explore in more detail how we can collectively create compelling business cases that support change. That’s my pitch. I hope you’ll support the idea and join me for the session at GovCamp Cymru.

For more information visit the GovCamp Cymru website and follow them on Twitter.