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The Data Challenge facing government

Government has huge data assets, but often fails to make best use of them. We want the ideas of public servants across the workforce on how to improve our data systems and tools – and your help in taking the best ideas forward. 

We need your ideas

Have you ever dreamed up an improvement to one of the data systems that you use – perhaps a new function that would save you time or improve public services? We believe there’s huge potential to use data better in government, strengthening staff tools, saving public money and improving outcomes for citizens. And nobody knows how to address our weaknesses and realise our potential better than the public servants who manage, maintain and use our current systems. So we want your ideas for how government could make better use of data: we’ll help you form teams around the best, and work with you to move the best ideas towards implementation.

The deadline for applications is 6 December 2023. To apply, just click the button below.

Apply now

Join a team

You don’t need your own idea to get involved: we’re seeking public servants of all departments, professions, roles and seniorities to form teams around the best ideas. Working with colleagues from across government – and with the support of senior leaders, organizational change advisers and digital specialists – you’ll investigate the idea’s potential and viability. All the shortlisted teams will present their ideas to senior leaders across government, with the best securing the resources and top-level support to put it on the path to delivery.

Learn more

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The process

Stage 1

  • Put forward your ideas on how to use data more effectively. Ideas need not be well-developed or researched: just set out your concept in our simple form, and we’ll identify those with greatest potential and help you take them forward.

Stage 2

  • Join a team to develop one of the most promising ideas, assessing viability and quantifying the potential costs and benefits;
  • Pitch to the judges at the Semi-Final, and answer their questions;
  • Judges choose the strongest ideas to move on to the next stage.

Stage 3

  • Further develop and refine your data use case, with technical support from digital and data specialists;
  • Pitch to the judges at the Final event, showing how you’ve addressed their previous questions;
  • The best idea will receive additional resources and support for continued development, with the program’s Champions guiding it towards implementation.

Judging criteria

To what extent is the idea…

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Likely to improve the experience of public service users or the tools used by public servants?

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Likely to generate a high return on investment, with the benefits for citizens, staff and/or taxpayers substantially greater than the costs?

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Deliverable, with likely obstacles assessed and addressed?

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Innovative and exemplary in its use of data and technology?

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Replicable/scalable, with potential applications across government?

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In line with the goals of public service modernisation, departmental priorities and the ethical use of data?


24 October 2023

Program open for idea submission and participant applications

6 December 2023

Close applications and commence review

February 2024

Agree long-listed applications and teams formed

May 2024

Shortlist event and development of finalist idea commences

September 2024

Final event to select and announce winner