Teamwork makes the oneAPS dream work

The Digital Profession is excited to launch a pilot mobility platform called oneAPS Opportunities. The pilot was inspired by gig economy platforms such as the US Government Open Opportunities, Freelancer and Airtasker. oneAPS Opportunities was designed and built through collaboration with people from Australian Public Service (APS) agencies.

Background

In early January 2021, we invited foundation members of the Digital Profession to a co-design workshop. The workshop participants came from 7 agencies across the APS. 

The workshop’s objective was to develop an initiative to uplift digital skills through mobility. It was an action-packed day of ideas, prototyping, testing and pitching. 

Image: Julian Smith (Digital Transformation Agency), Marko Matosevic (Services Australia) and Davorka Arrow (Australian Taxation Office) work together on an early concept.

Step 1: Learn as much as you can

Attendees began by immersing themselves in research, readings and videos on building capability through mobility programs. Through this process, attendees shared key findings and identified potential pain points and concerns. They also identified things to keep in mind as the workshop progresses.

Image: Workshop attendees look at research materials.

Step 2: Identifying problems to solve

Problem statements were presented to help inspire ideas and discussion. These were pitched as ‘How might we…’ questions:

  • How might we uplift digital capability through mobility across government?
  • How might we mobilise talent quickly to respond to government priorities and deliver better outcomes?

Image: Workshop attendees look at research materials.

Think to build - build to think

To answer these problem statements, we formed groups to brainstorm and work through potential ideas. 

We quickly identified a need for an intuitive and easy method for listing and seeing mobility opportunities. The application process also must be easier than the usual process. 

The groups designed prototypes, hand-drawing screens or whiteboarding process flows. These were shared with all attendees for feedback for further iterations.

"I have never been in a design jam that had time for multiple ideation/ prototype/ reviews within the single idea formulation and loved having the opportunity to see other people’s work and then come back with some fresh perspective."

– Workshop participant

Step 3: The pitch

All ideas worked on were next pitched to an independent panel for feedback. 

The pitches included:

  1. The TASKER – a matchmaker for short-term work that reduces red tape, simplifying the matching and onboarding processes.
  2. Sharethelove.com – helps managers pitch short-term opportunities directly to the right person.
  3. JobTasker – an online talent management platform to help employee and manager focus and deliver the task on time, on budget and to the highest quality.
  4. Gig seeker/APS gigs – helps gig seekers find placements or opportunities.

Image: Teams pitched their ideas for a prototype.

We all agreed there is a clear need to develop and share digital skills and work as one government to make the best services and products for Australia. 

"I had the realisation that I am a part of this APS world. And that felt powerful because you have to be in it to change it."

– Workshop participant

Step 4: Developing the pilot

Since the workshop, we have designed and built a digital prototype. This prototype explores how work can be broken down into ‘micro-assignments.’ This allows flexible ways of working, such as one day a week over 6 weeks, or 4 hours spread over a week. The approach shows how we uplift digital capability through learning by doing.

Image: Lead researcher Krista Hulm testing the prototype with Lachlan Murray from Home Affairs.

Conclusion

Our workshop is an example of how a collaborative, agile and user-centred design can quickly develop, iterate, and test concepts and prototypes in usability sessions. Through this, the pilot program oneAPS Opportunities is now available to you as a Digital Profession practitioner. 

Image: Workshop attendees at the end of the session.

oneAPS Opportunities aims to make the process of mobility opportunities easy and intuitive. As short-term, informal arrangements, employees can work on government projects, anywhere in the APS. While on these opportunities, employees remain as part of their home organisation’s payroll and team. 

We’ll continue to refine and develop oneAPS Opportunities to suit what managers and employees want from a program like this. 

We want digital professionals like you to:

  • find an opportunity and apply
  • create a digital opportunity
  • tell your peers and managers about it
  • give feedback or ideas.

Visit oneaps.gov.au, or email specialist.advice@dta.gov.au for more information.