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Digital transformation 'in the Den'

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Services and products, Strategy

Digital transformation: 2 words that get cast around like loose change in government circles these days. I know because it’s a phrase that I must use myself at least 30 to 40 times a day in conversation and emails.

Easy to say, not so easy to achieve. So where on earth do we start?

Well we had an idea. At a recent workshop, we challenged Digital and Technology (D&T) Leaders from across BIS and partner organisations to come up with ideas that would help us create crucial first steps towards dealing with digital and technology transformation in BIS. In a flood of creativity, participants worked in mixed teams and rose to the challenge, generating a range of ideas designed to meet the 2 key rules:

  • saving money
  • being workable across a number of partner organisations

The deal was that each team had to nominate one idea and then pitch it, not only to their peers on the other tables but also a ‘Dragons Den’ style panel.

On the panel were:

  • Tim Knighton, BIS Chief Digital Officer
  • James Thornett, Director GOV.UK, GDS
  • John Alty, CEO of the Intellectual Property Office (IPO)

Each pitch was limited to 2 minutes followed by 5 minutes scrutiny by the ‘Dragons’.

3 men sitting at a desk
The Dragons at work

The energy and buzz was palpable as teams honed their ideas in preparation for their pitches. The prize was having the winning idea progressed to a Discovery phase, and the potential for it to be developed into a tangible product that would benefit BIS.
The 5 ideas pitched were as follows:

Joining up BIS for our customers

Improving the customer journey by joining up BIS services, enabling smooth access from one BIS service to another via clear links offering a clean hand-off between services.

UK War for Talent - Working Life Journey: School to Employment to Retirement

Generating value (£ or economic) from increasing skills, employability and profitability by enabling users to have a lifelong learning account. This account captures the acquisition of skills, experience and knowledge as they progress through their working life.

Universal Open Data Standard (and Platform) for Reporting Impacts and Outcomes

Providing better and common access/transparency to BIS funding and return on investment (internal) information via a universal open data standard and a publishing platform.

'DATing' a social media forum to collaborate, share skills and successes across Digital And Technology

Creating a cross BIS and partner organisation forum that will provide value for money by enabling joined-up and cost effective solutions to be easily identified and delivered.

Single Business Identifier

Creating a single business/organisation identifier that can act as a central repository of business information (master file) extendable to charities, universities, government departments and GP practices.

Following some entertaining and competitive pitches, each team – and the Dragons – ranked the proposals (excluding their own) in order of preference. A tense round of voting followed with the final result going right to the wire. The winner, by one point, was ‘DATing’, narrowly beating ‘Single Business Identifier’.

So what happens next?

The winning idea – ‘DATing’ – is now in a Discovery phase. We are working with the user base – our digital and technology colleagues in BIS and partner organisations - to research the user need more closely, developing user stories that we can use to add some shape and sense of priority to the proposition. We aim to complete the Discovery quickly (we’re looking at doing so within a week of the workshop) and will then consider a potential Alpha development.

We are also very keen to look seriously at the ‘Single Business Identifier’ proposal and will also be progressing that through a Discovery phase.

Given that the session generated a number of worthy ideas, which we don’t want to lose, the remaining ideas will go into our ‘product backlog’ as potential ‘next projects’.

For us, we got what we wanted - a project with the potential for wide application and benefit across BIS and the opportunity to create some momentum with our colleagues across the partner organisations. Momentum is all with this scale of challenge and you can’t achieve that until you have a first step. This is our first step.

We’ll let you know how we get on…

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1 comment

  1. Comment by Nigel Townley posted on

    The Den was fun and a vast improvement to death by powerpoint. More importantly it stimulated useful debate and better still some great ideas. Yammer for the DATing proposal is already yielding results too.

    Thanks for organising.



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