Yearnotes 2018

A few notes on a busy year.

The biggest thing for me in 2018 was leaving England and moving back to Australia. I was a bit burned out when I left Australia at the start of 2017, but it didn’t take long to miss the place. By the end of last year, I’d started planning to come back, and I moved back to Sydney at the end of February.

A nice surprise in January was being named on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list for technology. People who work in government are under-represented on lists like these. (Related – it’s been great to see Apolitical doing similar things to raise awareness of public servants around the world.)

Another personal highlight earlier in the year was writing a joint submission to the Digital Delivery of Government Services committee of the Australian Senate, with Cath and Paul. There’s a copy of it on the Australian Parliament website if you fancy a long-ish read.

I spent most of the year working with Cath on technology procurement reform for the New South Wales Government. Procurement is a very familiar area from our work at the Digital Transformation Office. The brief was to boldly rethink ICT procurement for the state government, and with the support of a great team from the Department of Finance, Services and Innovation we delivered a new government marketplace for cloud services, plus the foundational bits of much simpler procurement policy and legals. It was great to work again with Matthew and Steven, familiar faces from the DTO.

In September, I joined the Australian Trade and Investment Commission as Deputy Chief Digital Officer. I’ve been interested in ‘digital trade’ since working for DIT last year. I’d define this as both how the internet changes the role of long-established government trade promotion organisations and, at the macro level, how global digital change has an effect on a country’s international competitiveness and influence. So it was hard to pass on the opportunity to come and work on similar problems for Australia. My first 3 months has largely been getting out and understanding our operations on the ground across Australia and overseas. I’ve also been writing our digital strategy and I’m pleased we got an alpha of it out to our staff just before Christmas. In 2019, we’ll be starting delivery of our first digital services and better tools for our staff across the world.

By my count I’ve read 9 books in 2018. (I started making a list using the terrific Netlify CMS). My favourite books were The Naked Diplomat by Tom Fletcher and Some Trick by Helen DeWitt. It was also a year in which I read Hitchhiker’s for the first time and started some Terry Pratchett.

Lots of photos taken this year. I’ve been good at putting them on Flickr, and I even started paying again for Flickr Pro. Here’s the albums page since I can’t find the old archive pages that used to exist (perhaps they still do).

Perhaps I’ll blog more in 2019. Here’s hoping.