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Flinders Street Station, Melbourne

Reimagining Government in Australia and New Zealand Aotearoa


Helping government to embrace complexity, relationships and learning

Our vision


We work to realise our vision for better government by supporting those in and around government to embrace beliefs and practices which reflect the fact that most challenges are complex, human relationships matter a great deal, and progress is best made through experimentation and learning.

The challenge


Most of the challenges we face as a society are complex in nature. They involve many actors, interacting in a variety of ways. 

Traditional government approaches to problem solving and policymaking - linear evidence-gathering, analysis, planning, design, implementation and evaluation - are not effective in complex settings.

In addition, the idea that those at the centre hold knowledge, power and the answers, must be challenged. We know that in the context of complex social challenges, in particular, those closest to the problems are closest to the solutions. 

For this reason, in complex environments, governments must think more systemically, and place relationship-building and continuous learning at the centre of all that they do.

However, this can be hard for governments. It’s hard because the dominant public management approach - known as New Public Management - focuses on metrics, managers and markets.

The current system is optimised for speed, efficiency and short political cycles, while the work of listening, learning and building relationships is slow, and often intangible, making it hard to measure and value within current frameworks. It’s also hard because the current system rewards delivery and accountability; not exploration and adaptation.



Supporting governments and changemakers as a learning partner


To enable our vision, CPI acts as a learning partner with governments and other changemakers. 

A learning partner helps organisations to build their own capacity to learn, typically by supporting them to centre all of their work in experimentation, data gathering, sense-making, reflection and reflexivity.

The learning partner can help organisations hold themselves to account for their learning, and can also perform convening roles to build relationships between people, organisations, and systems, so that shared learning can take place. Learning Partners help keep learning central. 

Learning partners also learn themselves through the journey and share learning more widely so others can benefit.

Changemakers we’ve worked with


We help government, their partners and all changemakers to listen, learn and adapt so that power is shared and decisions are made closer to those impacted, with those impacted. 

Whether you work in government, public sector, the third sector or are a foundation seeking to drive better outcomes for citizens, we would love to work with you.

Featured work


Reimagining Government Webinar Series

Together with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, we’re bringing together practitioners, academics and thinkers from across the globe in an interactive webinar series and learning community.

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Dignity in Government AI Ethics Instruments

We’re working with 3A Institute's Lorenn Ruster to think about how governments can cultivate a Dignity Ecosystem. We wanted to understand to what extent dignity is addressed in government AI Ethics instruments and what roles governments are currently playing with respect to a Dignity Ecosystem.

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Government After Shock Event

In 2020, CPI ANZ worked with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Observatory of Public Sector Innovation as part of the Government After Shock event, where we designed and delivered three CPI events from our teams across the globe - Melbourne, Washington and London.

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Collaborative Problem Solving in Government

CPI ANZ’s Thea Snow presented on a panel to Apolitical members in Australasia and Southeast Asia. The panel discussed the skills and mindsets public servants should develop in order to successfully work together across disciplines, sectors and government silos, and how to convince others of the value of working collaboratively to tackle complex problems.

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Practical ways to help you reimagine government


Systems-thinking

We work with government agencies to encourage a shift from a linear approach to policy-making and service design, to an approach which is grounded in systems thinking.

Action-learning

We help organisations adopt an experimental, iterative mindset to day-to-day activities. We ask how we can better orient services, organisations and systems to be continuously learning, rather than optimising for standardisation and control.

Events and workshops

We produce and partner with organisations to host events that broaden horizons, thinking and experience.

Relationship building

We work with our partners to facilitate conversations and trust-building amongst people operating in different parts of the system.

Sensemaking

We create space for listening, reflection and the exploration of meaning beyond the usual boundaries, allowing different framings, stories and viewpoints to be shared and collectively explored. We help develop a set of insights with explanatory possibilities rather than a body of knowledge or plan of action.

Human Learning Systems

We help bring organisations new thinking in public management that is right for the times - The Human Learning Systems approach.

Learn more about Human Learning Systems

Meaningful Measurement

We help organisations understand how to measure meaningfully, fail forward and experiment together.

Research

We explore insights and lessons from the key issues facing governments from all around the world.

Get in touch

Are you ready to build a more inclusive, collaborative and empathetic government? Get in touch and let's have a conversation on how we can get you started.

Let's talk

Centre for Public Impact Australia and New Zealand Ltd is a charity registered with the ACNC, ABN 646378421. More information on CPI's overall governance structure can be found here.