In this keynote presentation, Damon Rees – Former CEO of Service NSW, Managing Principal at BAU discusses the establishment of Service New South Wales (NSW) a decade ago as a government startup focused on providing a positive customer experience.

He emphasises the importance of shifting the government’s approach from a historically poor reputation in customer service to a more customer-centric model.

Damon stresses that Service NSW aims to enhance trust in government, addressing the perception that government institutions rank low in terms of customer experience. He outlines the organisation’s structure, serving thousands of customers daily through various channels and achieving high customer satisfaction.

Damon touches on five key leadership priorities: customer focus, employee wellbeing, partnership building, organisational agility, and trust.

The key role of finance is to eliminate waste from the organisation, particularly in addressing failure demand, where issues in earlier processes lead to additional work.

He emphasises the need for continuous funding streams and a more agile approach to capital allocation to support the organisation’s digital initiatives effectively.

A question-and-answer session concludes the presentation.


Key Takeaways:

  • Emphasis was placed on Service NSW’s mission to enhance trust in government by shifting to a customer-centric model, highlighting the organisation’s structure, daily customer service, and high satisfaction levels.
  • Service NSW’s progress over time: Requires change leadership, creating momentum, and building continuous value to keep stakeholders engaged. The concept of relentless evolution and execution, as opposed to a one-time transformation, is crucial.
  • There is a high-trust culture within Service NSW, the absence of a blame culture, and the organisation’s iterative and co-design approach, allows for early identification of potential issues. The importance of piloting and making decisions based on real-life customer experiences is essential.
Damon Rees Former CEO of ServiceNSW
Damon Rees is a business leader focused on customer centricity, culture, digital enablement, and innovation, with more than twenty years of experience... More

Damon Rees is a business leader focused on customer centricity, culture, digital enablement, and innovation, with more than twenty years of experience driving transformational change, organisational performance, and better customer outcomes.

He is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Service NSW, an independent Director at GP Synergy, Australia’s largest training organisation for GPs, and Founder of Better As Usual Pty Ltd, a practitioner-led professional services organisation committed to customer success and positive social impact.

Damon’s experience spans the private, public, and not-for-profit sectors including as the inaugural Government Chief Information and Digital Officer for NSW Government, the Chief Digital Officer for Macquarie Group, the Chief Technology and Interim Chief Information Officer for Woolworths, and the Head of Integrated Delivery for Westpac. He has served as an independent Director of GP Synergy for the last eight years including three years as Chair of the Finance, Audit and Risk committee, and six years as Chair of the Digital and ICT committee.

Damon was awarded the Sir James Wolfhenson scholarship to study at the Harvard Kennedy School in 2018, completed a Global Executive MBA with the University of Sydney in 2011, and holds a Bachelor of Information Technology from the University of Technology, Sydney.

Transformation Leadership Customer Experience