IPAA 2014 International Conference Review

Winner of the IPAA WA 2014 Young Professional 'Expand Your Horizons' Scholarship, Ms Rachel Morrice, reviews her experience at the IPAA 2014 International Conference in Perth.

The IPAA 2014 Conference took place on 29 and 30 October 2014 in our home town of Perth. The conference, titled The Shape of Things to Come, explored the role of public administration in shaping society and the public sector’s capacity for ideas, energy and the ability to work together to achieve shared outcomes.  These discussions centred on the themes of Looking Within, Reaching Out and Beyond Our Shores.

The Conference was attended by over 500 delegates, included 70 local, national and international speakers from the public sector, academia, industry and community, with over 20 sessions occurring across the two days.  It was very difficult to decide which sessions to attend!

I applied for the scholarship because there were many topics that related directly to my current work priorities, for example the session called “Dancing Lessons: How does the public sector successfully engage with others?” gave me some good insights to use in my work across the government and not-for-profit sectors.  I also wanted to broaden my knowledge of the public sector more generally to enhance my awareness of the environment we work in and assist me in providing advice to Government.

Throughout the conference I felt motivated to explore innovative ways to work, to drive efficiency, to be more aware of my surroundings and be open minded (as one of the Public Sector Commissioner’s said “culture eats strategy for breakfast every time!”).

I thoroughly enjoyed the presentation by Professor Rhodes from the University of Southampton and Griffith University (UK) on “Recovering the craft of public administration”.  He shared his wealth of experience from working closely with Government Ministers and his insightful views on the craft of public administration.

A real highlight of the Conference was Noel Pearson delivering the Garran Oration.  He is such a powerful and passionate speaker. He spoke about how we can recognise indigeneity, heritage and culture as well as the imperatives of development – walk the “road of Adam Smith and the road of Johann Herder”.  This was a great experience for my personal and professional development – I’d like to be able to speak like him, with such conviction.

Other sessions I thoroughly enjoyed included “The Future in an Hour” where Professional Michael Wesley from ANU, Dr Stefan Hajkowics from CSIRO and Professional Benjamin Reilly from Murdoch University presented their thoughts on the likely future in which we will live and work.  I also enjoyed the Women in Leadership panel session, hearing from Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston on the recent aviation crisis and from the three Public Sector Commissioners on the Shape of Things to Come.

Following the Conference I gave a presentation to my colleagues on the key discussions from the conference and the interesting sessions I attended.

Overall it was an excellent experience, I would highly recommend attending future IPAA Conference’s and I would like to thank IPAA WA for the opportunity to attend the 2014 Conference. Thank you

To find out more about applying for the 2015 IPAA Young Professional Scholarship - click here.