Taking money from AGIMO doesn't help | acidlabs
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Taking money from AGIMO doesn’t help

Taking money from AGIMO doesn’t help

Andrea Di Maio of Gartner has written a pointed post with respect to the government taking $440M out of innovation funding to reduce our already tiny by global standards deficit. The AFR has identified this reallocation of dollars as a real risk to AGIMO, suggesting its future may be at risk.

I certainly hope not, as in the last 18 months, AGIMO has proven itself a real leader in the innovation, open government and Government 2.0 stakes. Gutting AGIMO of money it could have accessed to advance the open government agenda strikes me as a major risk; one that could have serious flow-on impact. The people at AGIMO, at all levels, that I know work incredibly hard to champion ICT and open government working hand-in-hand must feel a little unsure of their future as the weekend arrives.

We’re in an election, money is being sought everywhere. Butchering of innovative thinking and budget allocation is as common here as it is anywhere else during an election.

That said, I think Andrea is absolutely right. In spite of all the right noises being made and smart things being said, politicians, particularly, are rarely well-informed about IT. But no more so than senior executives within bureaucracies.

Like HR, communications or marketing, IT is a “cost”. If you need savings, you reduce costs.

Longer-term thinking would see IT and other cost centres identified as strategic investment where costs are borne in order to reap return over time. If this was the view taken, I think the practices around IT and the like that see them as expensive and wasteful (not without reason given high failure rates of IT projects) would have the opportunity to mature and we’d see smarter attitudes more often.

Given our incredibly low deficit by global standards, is this shift of funds no more than a response to electoral pressure and the fears of an ill-informed electorate?

Stephen Collins
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