This month we spoke with with Amanda Cech, Manager, Innovation & Performance, at City of Charles Sturt about her career and role, as well as innovation in both the private sector and local government.
What is your role and what does it involve?
I am the Manager of Innovation and Performance at City of Charles Sturt. It is a collaborative position across the organisation championing our four pillars- Project Management Office (PMO), Business Insights, Continuous Improvement and Strategy.
What is your career background?
My career has evolved across sales, marketing, procurement and supply chains. I spent 23 years at Coca-Cola where I held various positions across the organisation. I was Director of Logistics, responsible for five national warehouses and a fleet of over 500 trucks. I also served as GM Sales & Marketing, responsible for Coca-Cola’s Woolworths Account. After leaving Coke I became Chief Operating Officer at a medical device company with operations in China and serving customers all over the globe.
You’re relatively new to local government, what excites you most about this space? Are there any opportunities or challenges that you’re looking forward to addressing?
The most exciting aspect about this space is that each council is already doing something amazing or implementing best practice in some way, and I’m keen to explore how we as an industry can capture this information and execute it across all councils. The LG Professionals SA Business Performance and Improvement Network, together with the support of the CEO Network can achieve this goal.
What are some similarities or differences between implementing innovation in the public vs private sector? Are there things that we in local government could learn from or be doing differently?
The similarities are that both sectors have great, passionate people that want to see improvement and progression. It’s true that all teams have a few change-averse people, but it’s refreshing to know that the passion is there regardless of sector. I am a keen supporter of the saying that ‘80% is good enough’ – let’s just start and try rather than spending months writing frameworks and papers.
What’s an example of an organisational innovation that you are proud to have been a part of?
At City of Charles Sturt, we have kicked off a team-based continuous improvement program. Teams identify processes or improvement opportunities within their departments. They then select the top five ideas and move these into a project via the PMO process which enables conversation with the executive team.
Can you share with us any exciting projects that you’re currently working on?
I’m current working on a routing solution for Council vehicles. This would handle routing of all field jobs, with the ability to schedule in emergency jobs based on the proximity of the appropriate vehicle. It is still early days, but we’re in the scoping phase of identifying opportunities for routing software to be utilised across field.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
This year I would like to try rowing. A friend of mine has recently attended a come-and-try session so I’ve registered for the next one myself.