Two simple things public service leaders need to get right

The Story of the Ngamuru Service Design Practice

The secret to highly effective organisations is more simple than you think

Want to know the secret to developing an effective, high performing public service and team?

Ok – here it is. Make sure you and your business “do the right things” and “do things right”. That’s it. That’s all you need to focus on. Seriously.

You see when organisations, teams, and even individuals have clear goals and objectives (ideally aligned to the values that they hold true), and they focus doing work correctly (i.e. as per good practice, requirements etc) then they are by and large considered effective.

Now don’t get me wrong, there are other considerations but at a high level it really boils down to being clear on what you need to do and how to do it. Once you have that you are well on your way to being highly effective.

The story of Ngamuru Advisory really illustrates this point through the insights we gained working with our Government clients to solve complex organisational challenges.

The Ngamuru Story or how we learnt to help organisations get it right

Our company name, “Ngamuru”, pronounced Na-moo-roo, means “compass” or to “see the way” in one of Sydney’s Aboriginal languages [feels loose – needs to be more specific]. This name reflects our philosophy which is to help our clients navigate their way through complex and often ambiguous situations.

Since our inception in 2016, the Team has been the provider of choice for strategic and commercial advisory services to our Federal and State/Territory Government clients partnering with them to deliver improved procurement and project outcomes.

Specifically, this work has meant we’ve advised Government to enable them to conduct robust procurement and commercial activities on behalf of the Government whilst providing value for money outcomes for the Australian public.

This work very much sits on the “do things right” side of the coin.

However, during this time we increasingly observed our clients grappling with challenges associated with defining, prioritising, and designing initiatives/works such as poorly defined requirements, unclear project benefits and outcomes, and teams suffering from a lack of clarity and alignment.

More often than not, this is a result of organisations not intimately understanding the services they provide, the underlying organisational capabilities required to realise and sustain required services, and the needs and expectations of their users and other stakeholders.

In other words, our experience showed that many Government agencies are also in need of expertise to help them “do the right things” by supporting senior decision makers to balance policy requirements and operating constraints, with the needs and expectations of users of government services and citizens.

Enter the Ngamuru Service Design Practice – A practical approach to “getting things right”

Given the observed insights and his unparalleled expertise in public service leadership, management and governance, and complex commercial and procurement activities Founder and Managing Director, Harry Dunstall, made the decision to significantly investment to enable Ngamuru to more holistic advise and support its Government clients.

In mid-2022, after a concerted effort, Harry successfully recruited Justin Barrie to establish Ngamuru’s highly experienced and dedicated service design capability.

Through further growth, Ngamuru’s Service Design Practice now features over 25 years of strategic service design experience. Including major transformation initiatives for Federal, State/Territory and Local Government agencies, our team has provided design service expertise to solving challenges across taxation, policing, scientific research, education, water management, human services, health, sports, industry development and local government.

The Ngamuru Service Design Team has worked with Government clients to help them clarify and define their strategy, services provided, and the unpinning organisational capabilities required to meet the needs and expectations of users, staff, stakeholders, Government, and the broader community.

Practically this means that our clients, from Senior Leadership through to operational staff, are clear and empowered to make strategic, policy, investment and operational decisions that ensure that “do the right things”.

A Service Design approach to drive and deliver sustainable Public Service outcomes

In our experience, a service design approach is best suited for realising outcomes relating to the design, structure and delivery of contemporary public services with the need to sustainably uplift public service capability.

This approach allows for a collaborative, responsive, inter-disciplinary approach to tackle complex challenges, better manage resources and risks to improve public service outcomes for Government and the broader community.

It moves away from the typical “just trust us to deliver for you” approach of many management consultants to a genuine independent trusted advisory partner practically supporting and uplifting public service capability

Contact us to find out more about “doing the right things” and “doing things right”

With changing priorities, scarce resources and increasing workloads, its no wonder that Government agencies often struggle to give enough attention to both strategic and operational matters.

At Ngamuru we truly believe in strong, contemporary public service and we understand and appreciate the Australian Public Service craft. That’s why we are excited about continuing to work with our Government clients to drive, shape and support highly effective, organisations, teams and individuals.

If you’d like more information about some of our real-life case studies improving and building contemporary public services, or how we could potential help you “do the right things” and “do things right” then please contact the Ngamuru Service Design Practice (link) to discuss.