18 September 2018

Post Conference Media Release: National conference maps the future for Indigenous education

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Media Release

12 September 2018

National conference maps the future for Indigenous education

Education leaders from around the country have mapped a reform pathway to provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students the tools they need to navigate through life as part of the 2nd National Indigenous Education Forum, held in Perth.

More than 30 community and government leaders from around Australia presented their thoughts and plans for the future of Indigenous education, with international guest speakers also attending the conference from New Zealand and Hawaii. 

Forum Chair Curtin University’s Elder-in-Residence, Professor Simon Forrest, said building trust and collaborative relationships with communities, families and Elders was the key to ensuring successful indigenous education reform.

Professor Forrest said the forum was working towards a future where all Indigenous young people gained a full understanding of their history, enabling them to connect it to their future.

“My vision for the future of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education is the existence of a situation where healing of the past takes place daily and our culture is embedded within all aspects of the curriculum and the education system,” Professor Forrest said.

“My hopes are for an education system where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are fully engaged by having our culture completely embedded in the system, creating an environment that inspires our students to achieve in all aspects of life. 

“I also envisage students, family and the community working together as the driving force behind the implementation of a culturally celebratory space that encourages our students to thrive and develop the skills necessary to successfully navigate both worlds.” 

Professor Forrest said the conference delegates were also encouraged to use the Coolangatta Statement on Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in Education, which represents a collective voice of Indigenous people from around the world who support fundamental principles considered vital to achieving education reform, as a guiding principle to influence the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. 

“Delegates were also encouraged to use the outcomes from the forum to endeavour to influence change to ensure Indigenous children are successful at school,” Professor Forrest said. 

The 2nd National Indigenous Education Forum was held in Perth from August 22 to 24. 
For more information about the forum, visit here


Notes to Editor:

Interviews with Professor Forrest about the 2nd National Indigenous Education Forum are available. 

Media contacts:

Professor Simon Forrest, Curtin University

Tel: (08) 9266 3130 | Mobile: 0431 659 022 | Email: S.Forrest@curtin.edu.au

11 September 2018

Understanding and building your Digital Strategy

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We all know that technology choice shouldn’t be driven solely by technology concerns but scarily, how often have you seen the reasons for technology as ‘...the Chief said so…’ or ‘… the boss saw it at a conference…’? What’s even worse is that every day, we watch as our social media timelines overflow with solutions looking for problems that seem to then pervade into the organisations that can least afford them. It is too easy to fall into that solution driven trap and think you are providing value to your business and helping solve their problems in this way. You’re not. At best, you are cherry-picking problems that fit your solution.

Across the organisational (government or private) spectrum, strategy itself is all too often misunderstood. So let’s start with moving towards a better understanding of strategy.

According to Ann Latham at Forbes.com …

The biggest problem with the way organisations think about strategy is they confuse strategy with plans. They aren’t the same thing. Strategic planning is an oxymoron.  

Notwithstanding the ‘Twitter-ready’ nature of the commentary, strategy defines the core business of an organisation, the why, whereas a plan will set out how those ideals are achieved. Strategy is the reason for being, an organisation’s raison d'ĂȘtre, and it should be the reason behind every decision made throughout the organisation on a daily basis. Having said that, many executives typically spend a day a year in a Strategy workshop paying scant attention to strategy and deep diving into operational questions.

Companies define strategy in different ways, depending on their place in their industry and the nature of their industry. Often boards go wrong simply because they have not defined the right measures of competition or the right challenges on which to focus. 

It is important to understand that strategy is a moving feast. It is not a foundation stone to stare at forever. Never forget too, that sticking with the wrong strategy can end with a tombstone for the business.

Enter the ‘solution provider’ hawking solutions to problems which haven’t been very well understood or articulated. Too often this ‘solution provider’ is internal to the organisation and many technologies including cloud have seen reduced uptake in organisations because of this blind solution orientated approach.

Technology teams need to understand the business problem in context to be able to provide a proper and appropriate solution. Every business decision should be made using the Strategy as a guiding light and there is no reason to divorce technology decisions from this principle. This is a critical piece of the puzzle and we should be ensuring that every decision can be mapped back to the strategy.

With reference to the strategy, work through every business problem in context. Throughout the whole journey during the decision making process we should be asking how is this solution simplifying, connecting and informing our people better? A clear definition of the problem is always a good start. Spending time on ‘requirements’ is always a good investment. Define the problem and really understand it in the business context. Is there a strategic or business imperative that necessitates a technology solution to the problem? It might be more effective to change a process than deploy new technology. How does your Digital Strategy map back to the organisational strategy? If you decide that Cloud is the solution, why is cloud the solution and in what form will that cloud solution take? If AI is the decision, how will the time and investment spent modelling and testing an AI deployment further the digital or organisational strategy?

This might all seem like pretty basic stuff but most organisations get it wrong. The days of technology teams working in isolation from the business and its strategy are long gone. For everyone in the organisation, time spent understanding the decision making process, the decision making capabilities of yourself and your stakeholders plus what that means to the strategy for your department or enterprise is always time well spent.

Written by: Rowan Dollar,
Chief Information Officer – Information and Technology
Department of Primary Industry and Resources, NT

Hear from Rowan at the upcoming Digital Government WA Summit this December.

06 September 2018

Good writing is all about process

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I've written all kinds of content. From defining a brand to complex financial products, legal documents and everything in between. And I always follow the same process.

It's really very simple. But let's use an analogy to make it a little more interesting.
Imagine you're a builder and your task is to construct a house. You're given nothing to begin with - it's up to you to do it all.

Gather the resources. Design the architecture. Put up the scaffolding. And, finally, pour the concrete, get the damn thing built, and make it easy on the eye.

So how does this relate to content writing?

Well, words don't simply flow from the mind to hand to screen (not good ones anyway). Good writing follows a very clear process.

Hunt and gather
First, I always start with the basics. What do we already have to work with? Often you'll find bits and pieces lying around. This is akin to a builder finding a brick here and window pane there. So first, we gather.

Boil it down
Then we deconstruct. If you've found an old draft that's relevant to what you're doing, strip it down to bullet points. If you've come across something on the net that speaks to what you're doing, take what you need and strip it down to bullets too. This'll leave you with a good long list of everything that exists right now.

Find the gaps
Then we brainstorm. It's a cliché term, and in practice means we look at the scatter we've collected and ask ourselves, "OK, what's missing...? What's relevant to this topic and the audience that we don't have on our plate yet?"

Add it in.

Make it make sense
Finally, we organise. Take your bullets and get them into an order that makes sense.
Look at what you've got from the lens of the audience. Start with the assumption that they absolutely don't care and their time is precious. What do they want to know? Why?

And always front-load the good bits. No one likes a waffler.

Where's the value?
If you have too much, now's the time to cull. It's very straightforward - simply look at each point and ask yourself, "Does this add value?"
If not, kill it. Be ruthless. Remember: no one cares.

And then write
If you've got that far, the rest is easy. You should have a clear structure already in front of you. Each bullet warrants a sentence, and sub-bullets mean you need to add a little more detail.

So write a draft. Then go make a cup of tea or work on another task, come back to it fresh, and polish.


Written by: Nathan Haslewood, Content Lead at  Service Victoria.