Our lives are becoming ever more entwined with and dependent on digital technologies. These technologies present exciting opportunities to improve our citizens’ quality of life, but they are also unleashing invisible harms to society as they become more sophisticated and pervasive:

  • Misinformation and disinformation are damaging our communities and diminishing trust in government.
  • Pervasive data collection is compromising our privacy and choice.
  • Biased algorithms are increasing inequality, minimising choices and leading people to live in echo chambers.
  • Cyber crime is on the rise.
  • Hyper-connectivity and digital saturation is heightening young people’s levels of social isolation, intensifying scrutiny, judgement and abuse, and impairing cognition.
  • Ransomware and cyber attacks are threatening critical infrastructure and supply chains.

And digital platforms and infrastructures are empowering malicious actors and regimes  – threatening our ideologies, identities and aspirations, and indeed, our democracy.

As South Australia positions itself as a leader in advanced technology and defence, the public sector has a vital role in building a future which takes full advantage of all that digital technology has to offer.  But it also has an important role in dealing with the unplanned negative effects of new technologies – which are growing in magnitude.

Are you prepared to navigate the digital dilemma?

This is arguably the most eye-opening workshop you will attend for some time.

You will journey through controversial stances and hard realities to uncover strategies to help South Australia thrive in the digital world.

Join us to learn about: 

  • the vital insights needed to ensure digital technology does not destabilise society
  • how online misinformation and disinformation is dividing society and undermining the public sector’s service delivery efforts – and discover how to stay one step ahead
  • how social media platforms are engineered to be addiction and recommendation machines – and what this means for societal wellbeing and trust in government
  • how pervasive data collection and the commercialisation of data is threatening our citizens’ privacy and ways of being
  • how technology, politics and international affairs are now intertwined as never before and how this interplay is shaping economies and geopolitical alignment for years to come
  • how cyber mischief is threatening trust in government and democracy
  • approaches to developing  productive responses to mitigating digital threats to societal cohesion and democracy

All attendees will receive a copy of Dr Nick Fleming’s book Smashing the State of Dumb Stuck: How to achieve impact and influence in the future world of work by mastering real-world problem solving. The book conveys crucial insights and actionable strategies for better problem solving so that you can better tackle the threats of the digital era.

Workshop Outcomes

  • Learn the potential consequences of digital technology threats to society and democracy for individual agencies and the whole of government policy agenda.
  • Learn the most fruitful responses to mitigate the digital threats and how they should be enacted by government.
  • Expand your thinking and discover new approaches to make smarter business decisions

Who should attend?

  • South Australian Public Sector Policy Officers and Leaders

Workshop Structure

This full day workshop will include a range of group discussions, live polling and practical application tasks.

And we’re excited to say that you will have the opportunity to engage with (and be inspired by!) Ambassador Jeff Bleich – former US Ambassador to Australia and former Special Counsel to President Obama.  Hear his insightful observations about integrity, trust, and technology and his optimism about what can be done about the challenges ahead.


The workshop is offered through a partnership between The Jeff Bleich Centre (Flinders University), Department of the Premier and Cabinet and IPAA SA, and is funded through the William and Hewlett Foundation Cyber Initiative.  This workshop forms part of a research project being undertaken by Flinders University which is investigating social cyber awareness in public sector leaders and if it improves through an education program.  Full details of the research project (including confidentiality, privacy, use of the data and contact details for the research team) can be found here. The project has been approved by Flinders University’s Human Research Ethics Committee (Project Number: 4686).

Thursday, 19th May 2022 OR
Friday, 20 May 2022

9:00am – 4.30pm

Morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and refreshments

19th May at U City, 43 Franklin Street, Adelaide SA
20th May at The Sanctuary at Adelaide Zoo, 1 Plane Tree Drive



Nick Fleming

Founding Director of Innergise

Ambassador (Rtd) Jeff Bleich

Former US Ambassador to Australia and former Special Counsel to Barrack Obama, Chief Legal Officer at Cruise