Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 2 2010 Contents 14 www.defence.gov.au/defencemagazine
Innovation is one of the key values in Defence. Innovation is actively looking for
better ways of doing our business, and it shows that we are open to new ideas.
Innovation should be an important part of what guides our behaviour in Defence.
Innovation and mentoring
help shape us all
Often when people think of innovation, it is
hand-in-hand with scientific and technological
advancements, such as the award for achievement
that Dr Gordon Frazer received for his
internationally recognised expertise in advancing
Over-the-Horizon Radar capabilities (see story on
But innovation is also about being clever in a lot
of different ways. Whether big or small, it is about
making the best use of the resources we have.
Looking at it from a Defence-wide perspective,
innovation is a fundamental part of achieving the
outcomes articulated by the Strategic Reform
SRP is not just a cost reduction and savings
exercise; it goes much deeper than that. It is about
deep structural reform and is a targeted business
process and reengineering program designed to
increase efficiency and reduce costs.
All of us in Defence need to conduct our business
more effectively and more efficiently. It is by
reducing our costs that will secure most of the
savings for re-investment that we want to achieve
with SRP. We can help do this by being innovative
in the decisions that we make each day as
An overview of the SRP is featured in this edition,
with an in-depth look at the SRP and the reform
streams in the next edition.
The SRP implementation plan provides a very
detailed blueprint for deep reform in Defence and
how we will deliver $20 billion in cost reductions
during the next decade. These resultant savings
will be reinvested in Defence capability, which is
essential to us delivering on Force 2030.
Last month, I was at the Navy launch of its
new mentoring program for women. Part of the
International Women’s Day functions, this initiative
provides a valuable way to help women achieve
their career potential and counter the effect of
gender imbalance in the senior Defence workforce.
This is a terrific idea and is the sort of initiative we
need on the public service side of Defence.
Within Defence, we promote a model for employee
learning and development which advocates on-the
job training as the primary means of developing
skills, followed by coaching and mentoring and,
to a lesser extent, formal training and education.
The strong emphasis we have towards on-
the-job training requires that Defence develop
leaders who are adept at cultivating productive
working relationships so that we can create an
organisational climate where people give their
best. One way this can be achieved is through
A mentoring relationship can both prepare an
employee to better handle their existing job
and help them progress through key career
transition points. Mentoring and coaching have
not traditionally been seen as a bona fide staff
development activity but I encourage managers
and supervisors to respond positively to
opportunities for undertaking this type of learning
It is providing opportunities—whether through
development and mentoring programs, by providing
flexible careers, flexible work options or having an
inclusive culture—that we will get the right person
for the job.
We already have great conditions of service,
with many people taking up the opportunity to
work part-time or job share. But we need the
commitment and support of these initiatives to
also come down through management.
We should be helping develop leaders at all levels.
That is what makes a strong organisation. Later
this year, PSP Group will pilot several corporate
programs aimed at helping staff through key career
The programs will help develop basic leadership
and management skills and increase the
competitive strength of our workforce. This
will form part of an APS career development
framework. It is an initiative I look forward to
coming to fruition and supporting its use.
“Mentoring and coaching have not traditionally been
seen as a bona fide staff development activity but I
encourage managers and supervisors to respond positively
to opportunities for undertaking this type of learning and
- Secretary of Defence, Dr Ian Watt
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