Wearables, Internet of Things, VR — these are just some of the new or emerging technologies that are disrupting markets. However changes in how people communicate, connect, and consume content are driving an incredible appetite for change in the public sector. One that will define how services are delivered to citizens using the most cost effective, streamlined processes available to reduce overheads and improve outcomes for business models.
The opportunity for technological disruption in the public sector lies in the evolution of citizen & employee behaviour, values, and expectations. Authorities are faced with a quandary as they invest resources and budgets in maintaining legacy technology that is not always fit for purpose in this changing world, just to maintain the current level of service (business as usual), versus that of the unknown. How will new investments align with current or future thinking and behavioural shifts? How can I make new thinking & innovation work for my particular problem?
Adapt or die!
This could be viewed as digital Darwinism — an era where technology and society are evolving faster than government can naturally adapt or invest. This sets the stage for a new era of disruptive thinking, a new generation of business models, and a whole new way of delivering citizen self-service, charging behind a mantra of “adapt or die.”
Rather than react to change or be disrupted by it, some forward-looking authorities are investing in new technologies to adapt and change their processes. In October 2013, Deloitte published a report studying disruptive innovation in the public sector. In its report, Deloitte found the following catalysts for disruptive innovation…
- Not a sustaining technology
- Produced by an autonomous organization
- Less expensive than traditional technology
- Maintains cost-competitiveness over time
- Enabled by a rapidly evolving technology
- Demonstrated effectiveness in real-world use
- Avenues created for low-risk innovation
So where is all this going?
It comes down to one word, relevance. If citizen behaviour is really evolving as a result of technology. The public sector will either need to get ahead of it, or have a strategy to at least stay in the game. One of the most problematic aspects around delivering effective services is that technology is both part of the solution and also part of the problem.
Disruptive technology may sound like it’s something you’d hear in buzzword bingo, but it is one of the most important movements for delivering services today. In its purest form a disruptive innovation is “an innovation that creates a new market and value network and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network, displacing established market leading firms, products and alliances”. This thinking is opening doors for new partnerships offering new technology to provide both the innovation required to transform existing services and the cost savings desired to make it viable. It is forcing the public sector to look beyond the world as they know it, observe how things are changing on the outside, to change delivery models, and to reverse engineer their legacy processes in the quest for improvement.