Digital Transformation with Queensland State Archives

Marek presenting

In 2017, Kylie Good, the principal appraisal archivist from The Queensland State Archives (QSA) attended a CDE Disruptive Innovation Leadership Course (DILC). From this experience, QSA was confident that reimagining the future of government recordkeeping in an innovation sprint would help shift the very low compliance levels of this fundamental but undervalued statutory requirement. The innovation sprint is a unique collaboration between academia, government, digital design and technology providers. CDE’s rapid research method facilitated the team to co-design, synthesise and propose a technology solution that fundamentally changes the way public sector recordkeeping is carried out. The solution is “a bot to automatically identify, appraise, store, and secure their records. No human intervention, or compliance, is required. This kind of system is called “compliant-by-default”, and it is just one way we can re-imagine record-keeping to address low levels of compliance in our organisations” (Dootson, Townson and Kowalkiewicz, 2018, p.3)


Spin-off projects

The initial project highlighted a number of legislative changes that were required to realise the value of the proposed solution. In a two-week policy dash, CDE and QSA co-designed with stakeholders to review the Public Records Act (2002) in order to ensure the Act would be fit-for-purpose for the future of recordkeeping. The project offers broad principles for consideration in the process of a State-wide Act review.

Working with QSA has led the CDE to focus their research agenda government recordkeeping as a dynamic phenomenon in the digital economy. The QSA partnership has created a foundation for global recognition; leading CDE to collaborate with a German A.I company on a feasibility study for the National Archives of Australia and even receiving an invitation to meet with the Chief Archivist of the United Nations in the Hague to talk about the future of UN Archives. The 3-year partnership has cumulatively spanned two innovation sprints, a legislative act review, workshops and executive education with the all QSA staff being trained in the CDE Disruptive Innovation Leadership Course.


Across all these engagements, the research and academic inquiry have challenged the roles of recordkeepers, recordkeeping, government information management and compliance and enforcement tactics to reimagine the value that recordkeeping can provide for government hindsight, insight and foresight.

“The work with CDE has seen a number of changes to how QSA does business. QSA is reimagining their objectives with an aim to discover new value and to be the most innovative Archive in the world. The partnership with CDE in Digital Economy is assisting with the cultural shift required within QSA to meet these goals. As at October, 2018, CDE is working with QSA and PwC to commercialise the solution from the Innovation Sprint.”

Kylie Good. Principal Appraisal Archivist, Government Recordkeeping, Queensland State Archives, Department of Housing and Public Works.


CDE is excited to be moving to the pilot phase of research commercialisation with QSA, which will lead to compliant-by-default recordkeeping and enabling new information value for public authorities.

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