Governments everywhere are struggling to meet the challenge of rising citizen demands for better services while also cutting spending. At the same time, many social and economic issues continue to defy resolution and there is a real need to boost productivity across all sectors. Changing community expectations of government highlight a need for an expanded toolbox to promote collaboration, prevention, innovation, and resilience. These tools break from the orthodoxy of siloed thinking and action to make new approaches to problem-solving possible.
Rosemary Addis was invited to establish and lead the first dedicated social innovation unit in the Australian Government, based out of the then Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations, and served as Social Innovation Strategist from February 2010 until November 2013. There was no blueprint for this type of function in Australian government and Rosemary shaped the agenda across social innovation and impact investment as tools for government and policy makers and led several ground-breaking initiatives.
Achievements in impact investment delivered the Social Enterprise Development & Investment Funds, a first in social policy that established new investment funds to provide finance to social enterprise. The team built that initiative to drive momentum in impact investment in and from Australia through Place Based Impact Investment in Australia and the IMPACT-Australia initiative. This placed Australia at the forefront of this market globally and resulted in Australia being the only country outside the G7 and EU being invited to participate in the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established under the UK Presidency of the G8. The ground-breaking Children’s Ground was incubated with the team and the highly networked and strategic approach was written up by former McKinsey & Co partner, Liana Downey as a breakthrough model of ‘networked incubation in government’.
The Social Innovation team also established benchmarks for policy and practice. The team’s work was recognised by the Australian Public Service Commission as “innovative policy executed well”.