Part of today’s rapid technology transformation involves private sector innovators disrupting traditional business models, even in areas that are traditionally the responsibility of government.
Bigbelly is transforming the public waste and recycling space by using technology to enable smart waste and recycling management through street-tough, solar-powered stations that deliver real-time data to a web-based dashboard. Uber has not only changed how we hail a cab, it’s competing directly with city bus systems through its uberPOOL group.
Government entities can—and should—learn from the private industry. They will need to more aggressively apply technology to transform themselves to better meet the growing expectations of constituents for digital interaction with their government.
The widening gap
Government employees, partners, and customers (constituents and businesses) are taking advantage of mobile, social, data, and cloud revolutions. The constituents and businesses in and around government are becoming conditioned to expect the same quality of service from the public sector as it receives from the private sector.
But many government organizations still rely on manual forms and bureaucratic processes. According to a recent PEW Research Study, there are several key gaps between citizens and government:
- Expectation gap: 57% of citizens view government as wasteful and inefficient
- Trust gap: 80% of citizens do not trust government
In addition to these gaps, there are several societal and technology trends likely to have an enormous influence on the world around us and the cities in which we live.
Urbanization. According to the United Nations World Urbanization Prospects report, urbanization is expected to continue rising, so that by 2050, urban dwellers will likely account for 86% of the population (many of them Millennials) in more developed regions and 64% in less developed regions. Urbanization will draw more Millennials into cities and create even more demands on city infrastructure and resources.
Smarter society.The physical and digital worlds are converging. Sensors and cameras will be installed all around communities; streets, transportation, and parking spaces will be monitored for their usage. Information and keywords transmitted from residents’ smartphones and their built-in sensors will be consolidated to serve as effective information. Digitization will force governments to extend existing business models to be even more customer-centric, embracing the increasing power of the individual.
Collaborative value creation. Constituents will demand more transparency and easier access to data across government and create economic value from available data. Dynamic ecosystems will emerge in which constituents interact collaboratively across the internet. This open exchange of information and resources will revolutionize both workplaces and societies. There are an increasing number of government organizations using crowdsourcing and increasing instances of municipal governments sharing idle assets.
Next-gen mobility and transportation. A new transportation system centered on autonomous cars will make a significant impact on urban convenience, insurance, logistics, and energy policies. Bike-share and car-share options will diversify individual transportation, and drones will affect the way governments conduct inspections, surveillance, mapping, search and rescue, maintenance, distribution, and more.
Connected devices and a connected ecosystem. Government systems will cross traditional departmental boundaries, requiring much closer collaboration within departments and across private enterprises. This will progressively change the way constituents perceive, experience, and interact with the products around them and the services provided by government.
In part two of this post, we’ll explore what these trends mean to government and what it should do to prepare.