James Riley
May 5, 2016

First Look: DTO’s grungy new digs

First Look: DTO’s grungy new digs

Paul Shetler: Plans for the DTO's new Sydney HQ to host more teams

After nearly a year in temporary digs within the University of Technology Sydney, the Digital Transformation Office has found a permanent home, landing among the bearded people in the heart of Hipsterville in inner-city Surry Hills.

The DTO has taken a whole floor at 241 Commonwealth Street, directly across the road from the KB (the Keg & Brew), one the few remaining old-school pubs in the area.

The guts of the interior have been paired down to the minimalist, open-plan, concrete-floor and exposed-duct basics. By which I mean it is Lean.

Not that anyone cares, but this is a very cool space. It’s the same kind of stripped back simplicity that is common in StartupLand. And this space has much better natural light than most.

And like many work spaces in the neighbourhood (including parts of the KB) the DTO has taken out the false ceilings to give it more headroom, more space to think. Change comes from within, after all. You have to clear out the superfluous clutter before you can make progress. (Etc etc, I could go on all day about peeling back layers, cutting away dead wood, and getting to the core of the whatever. But I won’t.)

All of which is going to be like a red rag to a bull to the more conservative elements within the public service. There are people who still get a twitch about CEO Paul Shetler living in Sydney, let alone the Digital Transformation Office having its HQ outside of Canberra.

This is all by the way, really, because there is no going back for the DTO now.

Mr Shetler says there are about 50 DTO staff working at the Sydney office, and even though the office is fairly sparsely populated (you could play a game of touch rugby at one end) it may not be big enough for long.

The Sydney office has teams working on the identity, Gov.AU, Marketplace and Dashboard projects. It also hosts the Immigration Department team (of about ten) working on one of the exemplars (the citizenship test appointment service).

Mr Shetler said he expects to invite teams for four other projects to join the space in the near future. The numbers add up quickly.

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