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GovComms Festival – improving government communications

PRESS RELEASE · Canberra ACT, Australia ·

The GovComms Festival, a part of the OECD’s Government after Shock global dialogue, will bring together 160 speakers from 15 countries to examine how governments around the world can improve their communication with citizens and stakeholders.

The GovComms Festival will run for 24 hours and is the world’s first virtual government communications conference. It provides an opportunity for the global government communications community to come together and share their experiences - including how they are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic while charting a path for government communication beyond 2020.

Among the featured speakers are Brian Solis, futurist and Global Chief Evangelist of Salesforce; Stanford University Professor of Psychology Barbara Tversky, Kerri Hartland, one of Australia’s most experienced public servants and now a principal adviser at leading professional services company Proximity; and “R U OK? DAY” Campaign Director, Gennie Sheer.

The GovComms Festival will also feature a series from the world of sport on how to build and sustain a high-performing team.

It features English rugby coach Eddie Jones, General Manager of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks Donnie Nelson and former head of the Great Britain women’s rowing team, Paul Thompson.

“The response from the global government communications community has been remarkable,” said David Pembroke, Founder and CEO of contentgroup – organisers and hosts of the Festival.

“We asked the government communications community for their ideas and contributions and now we have 160 speakers from 15 countries delivering over 80 hours of experience and education. We have attracted the best and brightest and will feature them first in Australia before moving to Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe, the USA, Canada, the Pacific Islands and New Zealand before returning to home to Canberra to wrap it all up. It’s ambitious but it’s the diversity that is appealing.”

“Digital transformation is the opportunity for government communications to escape from the basement,” said David Pembroke. “Research from WPP and now the OECD shows that government communication is under-appreciated and under resourced. While we still have to get our day jobs done in dealing with the media and creating content, digital transformation is the opportunity for us to lead. Government communicators can be the ones who draw together the various aspects of digital transformation (technology, data, behavioural science, systems thinking, stakeholder engagement) and draw it together in a single transformative capability. We can become the ‘people, people’ who build and sustain high-performing cross-functional teams.”

Alongside the GovComms Festival main stage will be a live session stage, two on-demand stages and a second 24-hour stage supported by Queensland’s Griffith University.

This event is part of the Government After Shock initiative, a collaborate initiative supported by:

“I can’t thank Griffith University enough for bringing together their global network to provide such an outstanding program of education,’’ Pembroke said. “McKinsey estimates that 9 out of every 10 jobs will require reskilling by 2030. This education program covers the knowledge and skills government communicators will need to stay relevant and effective into the future.”

“We have already experienced an influx of sign-ups to tune in to the Festival,” Pembroke said.“For anyone with an interest in strengthening communities and improving the well-being of citizens through effective communication, there will be a lot to learn and a lot to share. The GovComms Festival is the beginning of a global community that will be sustained and nurtured over time. We hope you will join us.”

The GovComms Festival will use the HopIn platform, which allows for five virtual venues to host keynote addresses, panel discussions and presentations at the same time.

The Festival kicks off in Canberra, Australia at 10am AEDT on November 17 and runs for 24 hours. To register for the GovComms Festival please visit:


This is a press release which we link to from our daily newsletter about podcasting and on-demand. This is reprinted verbatim; we may rewrite headlines and descriptions.

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