Emerging traits for the public service professional of the future

The public service professional of the future will need more of a focus on entrepreneurial and relationship skills, leading to a greater emphasis on collaborative engagement and innovative design.

Research from University of Birmingham researchers Catherine Needham and Catherine Mangan has identified 10 traits of the 21st Century public service professional.  

Needham and Mangan have identified traits such as being entrepreneurial, engaging with citizens in a way that expresses their shared humanity and pooled expertise, and rejecting heroic leadership in favour of distributed and collaborative models of leading.

IPANZ has shared the full list of traits, and more about the research and its implications for New Zealand public service professionals in the latest issue of our Public Sector Journal.

We spoke with Stefan Korn, Chief Executive of Creative HQ, about how the increasingly complex, volatile and uncertain world we are in means that the tools and techniques we could rely on last century no longer work – and how that’s driving the need for public sector innovation through programmes such as Creative HQ’s GovTech.

We also looked at local examples to see how some agencies are innovating – including Transpower and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Steve Jay, Grid Development Group Manager for Transpower – which manages the electricity grid that delivers power to local distribution networks and large industry around New Zealand – told us that he believes traditional, incremental approaches to fixing things no longer work.

“The traditional way of solving problems is to identify the issue, throw some experts at it, and you typically get an incremental output as a result. It doesn’t deliver the step change you need – that requires different thinking.”

Transpower’s response has been to take a more innovative an experimental approach, applying a mindset of ‘quick-win, quick-fail’.

Meanwhile, MPI’s Farm Systems Farm Project has been taking a consultative approach to working with farmers, to understand the implications that the ministry creates for them when it is shaping policy – visiting farmers to speak directly with them and spending three to eight hours on each farm.

Rachel Clements, Principal Advisor for the Farm Systems Project says: “We can shape policy, but our farmers and communities will shape our future. We have to be in it together.”

You can read more about the research, the innovative and collaborative approaches that are needed, how New Zealand agencies are embracing the change, and some of the hurdles and barriers they’re facing, in the full article in the Public Sector Journal here: https://ipanz.org.nz/Article?Action=View&Article_id=150191