Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 3 2016 Contents 51
Issue 3 2016 Defence
50 Defence Issue 3 2016
Defence Security and Vetting Service
has turned to its employees to help
hunt for the next bright idea
F SOMEONE asked you to jump into
a shark tank, you would be forgiven
for hesitating. Sharks can be scary,
but not all sharks are hunting for food.
The ‘sharks’ in the Defence Security
and Vetting Service (DS&VS) are hungry for
something else entirely – collaboration and
planning for the future. That is exactly what
arose from the DS&VS crowd-sourced ‘Our
Employee crowd sourcing is the cornerstone
of any forward-thinking organisation. It is the
practice of engaging a group for a common
goal – often for innovation, problem-solving or
efficiency. The DS&VS ‘crowd’ were the eight
syndicates formed by staff across DS&VS to
develop model organisational structures, which
they then presented to a panel of ‘sharks’,
experienced executives from across the division,
looking for innovative and creative solutions.
As a division, DS&VS has started a period
of transformation – DS&VS 20/20. Aligning
with the First Principles Review, DS&VS is
transforming to ensure the future security needs
of Defence and government are met, while
traversing a period of significantly heightened
domestic and international security threats.
The First Assistant Secretary Security and
Vetting Service, Celia Perkins, wanted the
transformation to reflect a collaborative work
“Crowd sourcing is more than just collecting
ideas; it is part of a continuous conversation that
gives staff a voice by seeing their visions acted
upon,” Celia says. “We wanted anyone across
the division to get involved, especially across
branches and levels. We had over 20 per cent
of DS&VS directly engage in the competition,
which is fantastic for a division of our size.”
Across 20 hours, the syndicates worked
tirelessly to develop proposals. They were
encouraged to think outside the box, to share
their ideas and to engage with people across
Defence and broader government – the only
limit was imagination.
Alex Siotis, a security adviser in DS&VS,
enjoyed being part of the competition,
especially being able to collaborate with
different areas of DS&VS.
“Coming from different branches and levels
around Australia, our first syndicate meeting
was to get to know each other and the work
each of us did,” Alex says.
“Once the conversation got going, so did the
creative ideas. Everyone was able to contribute
and it was great to get different perspectives
from different areas across the division.
“We really wanted to focus on developing a
structure that prioritised our core contributions
to Defence and was clear in defining our
accountabilities and responsibilities.”
After four weeks, the syndicates took their
proposals into the Shark Tank for the sharks
to decide who would take out the titles of
Best Initial Concept: Security and Best Initial
“The sharks were overwhelmed by the
quality and thoughtfulness of the presentations.
Members of the Shark
Tank are hungry for
the next big idea
that will benefit the
Defence Security and
The innovation across all proposals made it
hard to decide on the winning syndicates,” Celia
For security, the sharks circled multiple
schools of fish before settling on We Are
Spartacus, which proposed timely, realistic and
effective suggestions to get DS&VS to where
it needs to be, drawing on the First Principles
Review, external recommendations and their
comprehensive knowledge of the protective
Matt Morris, a graduate working in DS&VS,
was part of the We Are Spartacus syndicate. For
him, the chance to contribute as a newcomer
to Defence and protective security was
intimidating but rewarding.
“During the first few meetings I felt like I
wasn’t able to contribute much, but even being
in the room and asking ‘why?’ or ‘what do
you mean when you say that?’ was helpful to
our syndicate in refining what we were going
to present, and helped to make sure it wasn’t
something that could only be understood by
subject matter experts,” Matt says.
“I’m very lucky to have been able to be
involved, and that the rest of the syndicate was
so open to questions and suggestions from all
For the Best Initial Concept: AGSVA,
the sharks chose 20/20 Vision – the
recommendations were comprehensive in
proactively addressing roadblocks and issues
with the vetting process. The 20/20 Vision
syndicate’s subject matter expertise was obvious
in every aspect of its work.
Kaye Parkins, a vetting officer for AGSVA
based at Defence Plaza in Sydney, enjoyed the
whole experience of the competition, especially
working across regions.
“This was a golden opportunity to have
the great ideas which emerge from everyday
experiences developed to build and transform
the future structure of DS&VS,” Kaye says.
“It was such a great experience. It was
perfect to get people from across regions
thinking about what our future might look like.
The enthusiasm and passion of the experienced
operators together with encouragement from the
newcomers was a true master stroke.”
The competition has entered phase 2, where
the winning syndicates are meeting to further
develop their concepts.
“ONCE THE CONVERSATION
GOT GOING, SO DID
THE CREATIVE IDEAS.
EVERYONE WAS ABLE TO
CONTRIBUTE AND IT WAS
GREAT TO GET DIFFERENT
DIFFERENT AREAS ACROSS
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