"Space is big. Really big. You just won’t believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly big it is"
- Douglas Adams
The civil service is big. Whilst arguably not as big as the universe, it consists of half a million people that work in areas as diverse as policymaking, job centres, tax collection, climate change, design and justice, who all have knowledge, expertise and a want for reform and innovation that like the universe, is mind-boggling.
Since I joined the Civil Service Faststream in September 2013 I've been astounded that contrary to public belief, the Civil Service is home to some of the most brilliant people, minds and work out there. I've learnt and gained invaluable knowledge from researches at HMRC, designers at the Government Digital Service, leaders in the Cabinet Office and countless Faststreamers in other Government Departments who are all pushing for a leaner, more agile and modern civil service.
Across all government departments, there are people who are driving better services, decisions, policies and leadership. These people are making the experience of government services and policy better for citizens and civil servants alike by spreading innovation, knowledge and culture across the field.
As we push forward the digital revolution, Open Policy Making, Open Data initiatives and countless other far reaching cultural changes, we are building a more creative and experienced group of reformers and innovators across every level of the civil service.
And so the question arises; if we have an incredible bunch of innovators, how do we spread and share their experience and creativity to new areas of the civil service and crowdsource solutions, policies, services and innovation between the silos of government departments?
Open Policy Making therefore have a simple aim. Why and how can we connect, empower, inspire and foster innovation across the civil service by joining up networks of innovation.
McKinsey has said that platforms that connect knowledge with need could boost international GDP by $2.7billion. The Social Innovation Exchange, the RSA and TED have successfully done this in varying concepts and styles, but how do you spread and join up knowledge and passion at a personal, conversational level? Just this week the Young Policy Professionals and 'Policy Bubble' dropped into my inbox - two more great examples of networks that connect people with shared interests and beliefs. We're going to explore how we can do this across the civil service.
Over the coming weeks and months we'll be holding some pilot events and testing ideas both physically and digitally. Some of the things we try will work, others won't - but in the theme of Open Policy Making, we'll learn and grow from our findings along the way.
So watch this space and most importantly, tweet us your thoughts, views and opinions @openpolicyuk or get in touch via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you want to talk to us in person or help out.
We can't wait to get started.