Technology goes hand-in-hand with collaboration, providing a ‘single source of truth’, and enabling collaborations to scale. Our guiding principle is to let the people and the process determine the tool, and not the other way around. We keep up with the latest digital trends to help you find the right tool for the job.
Over the past 7 years, however, we’ve noticed some patterns repeating over and over again. That’s why we’ve developed Scaffle, the Collabco Collaboration Platform, and the Collabco Innovation Management System. Built with the public service for the public service, our software is Australian based and security-focused.
When you are creating something new, or solving a really big challenge, there’s no way around collaboration. We instinctively know that digital technology can help us collaborate with more people, more easily, but how do you get started and what tools should you use? Collabco answers this question with an online platform designed by and for public sector collaboration and innovation.
Collabco helps you add the power of digital mass collaboration to your existing organisational challenges. Whether you are trying to consult on a strategic plan, or cultivate a new community of practice, Collabco provides an integrated suite of tools that can scale up the way you work together. Smart organisations know that collaborative approaches, powered by digital tools, tap into the enthusiasm and power of the community to get big things done.
Flexibility without the hassle and vendor lock-in
Collabco’s flexible, modular design is the result of 10 years experience supporting government agencies and other public- purpose partners to take visionary steps towards mass collaborative ways of working. Each new project demands a unique combination of features that no single product can satisfy. As a result we have balanced flexibility with the need to roll out quickly and adapt on-the-fly. Best of all, Collabco is open source software, so there are no licensing fees and you’ll never be locked-in to a single supplier. (Code on Github)
Benefits these features deliver
- Buy-in, goodwill, and voluntary compliance through co-ownership
- Scalable opportunities for participation and engagement
- Transparency, credibility and authority of process
- Efficiencies in authoring content with a large group
- Increased, but controlled, access and visibility
The following section shows some examples of Collabco in action. These include:
- Public engagement and consultation
- Co-creation of policies and strategic plans
- Communities and networks of interest and practice
- Co-design and delivery of collaborative projects
Public consultation & policy-making
Alberta Department of Human Services, Policy Co-creation
Together We Raise Tomorrow provided a single online destination for all aspects of Alberta, Canada’s Social Policy Framework consultation process, including wiki-driven collaboration on the policy itself.
Following this initial collaborative consultation which generated the state government’s first social policy framework, Collabco has been subsequently used to develop the framework’s sub-strategies. Based on this work, the Alberta State Government has established a $1B social innovation endowment.
Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority, Strategy Co-creation
The 2013- 2019 Regional Catchment Strategy represented an important opportunity to reinvigorate community engagement in catchment management, as part of a broader strategy to improve community-based problem-solving and resilience. Thus, it was critical that the engagement process would embody this new level of transparency and shared ownership.
The platform not only provided a one-stop-shop for participants to find information and stay up-to-date, but it also made the process of strategy development fully transparent and collaborative through the use of a structured wiki. Participants could directly edit and influence the content of the strategy, but could also increase horizontal awareness of their fellow inhabitants within the catchment who were also contributing to the platform.
Future Melbourne – the city plan that anyone can edit
Future Melbourne was a world’s first as a wiki-based collaborative city plan. Future Melbourne was the city’s 10 year vision for the city setting the goals and directions for all aspects of life in the city. The online platform was used by Council Officers to draft the policy. Then during a four week consultation period, anyone from anywhere is the world could register to edit the actual content of the plan – essentially in real time 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Users could post any text or media they wished. What resulted was essentially real time collaboration between city planners and officers and the public.
“Collabforge were integral to the success of the Future Melbourne project. As a result of their comprehensive hands-on approach to online community management, we were able to quickly identify, respond and shape conversations with the public in a manner that maximised community engagement whilst effectively minimising risk. Collabforge delivered a tailor-made approach to change management that operated from inception to project finalisation. Future Melbourne’s success can be measured by our recent win in the 2008 Victorian Awards for Planning Excellence, an achievement that would not have been possible without Collabforge.” — Strategic Planning Team, City of Melbourne
Community building & movement making
Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Innovation Network
Collabforge developed the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet’s whole-of-government innovation platform, https://innovationnetwork.vic.gov.au/. The Innovation Network provides cross-departmental collaboration spaces for VPS staff to learn, share and develop innovation ideas and initiatives. As part of this platform, Collabforge integrated our ideas management system, Collabco Innovation (see https://collabco.com.au). This adds the capability to run internal ideas challenges across departments and in private groups, setting challenges, soliciting ideas, and seeding collaborative projects to bring these ideas to life. The Innovation Network recently won the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s, prestigious Leadership in the Public Sector Award for Communication Excellence.
Project Leap was part of the Federal Government of Australia’s Industry Innovation Network. The initiative successfully used Collabco with a small database of extremely influential, high-value individuals within Australia’s innovation ecosystem.
The initiative’s face-to-face activities such as the Leap Workshops (accelerated innovation workshop for teams, based on the Collabco online activities) and the Zip Breakfasts were all highly praised. These offline activities were also a great catalyst for encouraging users to start interacting with the network and continue their conversations online.
Project Leap, the ‘front porch’ for the Industry Innovation Network, used Collabco to focus on curating useful and inspiring content for Australia’s innovators.
META Manufacturing Industry Innovation Precinct
META had a mandate to engage industry and academia to come together on innovation projects which would benefit the industry. A core component of this initiative was the need to progress members from early conversations about interests & needs, to coordinating and organising projects.
Collabco was modified to promote private group spaces, allowing members to collaborate without the ‘noise’ of the larger audience.
*Examples only to protect private user content
“Collabforge has a powerful set of tools and frameworks to enable collaboration, as well as the expertise and experience to make it happen.” — Leslie Falkiner-Rose, MTV Movement Campaign
“Collabforge made developing our Website and Wiki simple. No wading through the jargon land of ‘Information Technology’ just dialogue that made sense and practically aligned with what we were trying to achieve. So patient, so helpful and always on the other end of the phone when I needed to ask a question.” — Alison Fitzgerald, Inner Melbourne Action Plan Implementation Officer
“Mark Elliott and the Collabforge team provided Parks Victoria with the strategy and solution for a planning web 2.0 application. The Collabforge team generates innovative ideas and have created a professional on-line environment in a timely manner. I would recommend their services to all organisations.” — Louise Rose, Parks Victoria, Project Manager Alpine Planning
“Collabforge had the necessary focus and expertise that I was looking for around collaboration, building collaborative communities as well as collaboration platforms. Many other experts I had researched had a much narrower focus… If you are frustrated with the lack of innovation, community and collaboration within your company and feel that ‘there has to be a better way’, I highly recommend that you start a conversation with Collabforge!” — John Hibble, ANZ
The Collabco Innovation Management supports an innovation journey, from challenges filled with ideas, through to nurturing ideas into projects. At each step, team-forming and collaboration are encouraged. It can be used in combination with the collaboration platform but is also a stand-alone product.
Source ideas from your team or community
Turn winning ideas into ‘co-labs’ to ready for project approvals
Encourage progress toward projects with badges and promotion
The following section shows some examples of the Collabco IMS in action.
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
In 2014 the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, created the innovationXchange program to identify and implement innovative approaches to aid and development. Collabforge contributed to the development of: strategy and evaluation framework, innovation methodology, public-facing information website, ideas challenge platform, team collaboration practices. Our first ideas challenge garnered over 400 ideas from staff, with two winners publicly committed to by Minister Bishop.
Australian Department of Employment
The Department of Employment caught the ideas challenge wave from DFAT, but with a requirement for a more open, organic, and ongoing approach to ideation. We worked closely with cross-functional team from Business Improvement and Innovation Partnerships to develop a process and platform that aligned to the department’s existing Innovation Framework. We emphasised user research, co-design and an iterative approach to development.
Department of Premier and Cabinet
As part of their public sector innovation strategy, the innovation unit at DPC deployed Collabco Innovation to engage all Victorian public servants in ideas challenges to complement a public discussion paper and call for ideas to enhance Victoria’s economic performance. This site saw 110 ideas submitted by members of the Victorian Public Service and was a great example of open innovation and ability to motivate participation when the call to action is right. The process of launching the platform, including custom branding, took less than two weeks.
“We’ve got a tool with a really good uptake, people are really engaged with it – we’ve had over 50 ideas in the first week alone.” – Caty Carfrae, Department of Employment
“It was an easy to use site, which was tailored to our needs and which allowed staff to lodge an idea, see everyone else’s ideas, build on those ideas through comments and also vote on the ideas.” – Lisa Rauter, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
“What the Department thought most valuable was the idea of increased collaboration and increased empowerment for junior staff members and a culture of more risk taking – people were more open to change… we weren’t expecting that many ideas and we weren’t expecting that level of take up.” – Manal Saroufim, innovationXchange Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
“People were really generous in sending news stories or other bits of information that they thought might be useful. It was really exciting to have an opportunity to explore an issue that I was personally passionate about and that I felt had potential but for which there was really no other avenue to take that forward at the time”. – Tracey Newbury, challenge winner, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Scaffle is a purpose-built engagement planning and management tool for public servants. Customisable to work with your existing engagement and consultation frameworks, Scaffle part-automates and makes recommendations for teams as they plan consultation projects.
With in-built lists of engagement and consultation activities, the intuitive and part-automated planning functionality:
- Encourages use of policies & frameworks
- Supports staff through approval processes
- Centralised engagement tracking and reporting
- Creates visibility of engagement activities across silos
- Provides a record of past engagements
Visit the website here for more information or to sign up for a trial.
Victorian Department of Environment, Land-use, Water and Planning
For the past two years the Victorian Department of Environment, Land-use, Water and Planning (DELWP) have used Scaffle as part of their engagement toolkit. We worked with the DELWP team to customise the base templates and add past engagement plans to provide consistency and examples for staff. Feedback from the team has been positive, especially regarding the ease of use compared to MS Word templates.
“I like the way Scaffle helps guide the planning. I feel like I know I haven’t forgotten anything.” – DELWP user
“Did I mention the automatic Gannt chart!? Love it!!” – DELWP user
“I like the idea that you can get nudged along on a journey to consider different (and perhaps better) approaches” – trial user, Department Industry, Innovation and Science
“Breaking down the silos around consultation is really beneficial – people are often doing similar work but don’t know or go looking” – trial user, Department Foreign Affairs and Trade
“We’ve been able to collaborate in a way that’s much cleaner than track changes.” – DELWP user