The COVID-19 pandemic is in the process of forcing some fundamental changes in how governments work. Many of these changes were already underway, but the crisis is accelerating their impact.
In a nutshell, governments historically have considered first and foremost the services they provide citizens, and then considered whether / how technology might help. Governments now must first think of themselves as technology-focused organizations, then how those technologies can be applied to meet the policy goals that governments are charged to achieve.
This transition may sound subtle, at first, but it requires fundamental changes. It starts with investment in technology, which governments typically don't do - now governments need to actually invest in tech in advance of need to test out what will work best. Next comes innovation, also something not long in government culture - governments need to be innovative and creative in how they apply the tech to their goals. Finally, governments must be nimble - the public policy challenges they will face will come quickly, and change rapidly - a mindset of running a program the ways it's always been run will not survive reality very long.
These changes will be very challenging, and some governments will succeed while others will struggle. And, many government agencies, particularly at the U.S. federal level, are already well on their way to making this adaptation. This article gives a really good summary of some of the changes underway, and the challenges they are addressing. Worth checking out and starting to consider how you can introduce some of these changes into your own organization.
As emerging technologies become more normalized within government environments, we expect to see agency leaders fundamentally shift their thinking about the role of technology in their agencies’ mission success, just as we have seen occur in the private sector.