Turbulent global economies and disruptive technologies affect more than just the business world.
The public sector also faces pressure to improve and transform service delivery as public expectations change and the concept of citizenship evolves.
In many ways it is public servants, not politicians, who form the engine of government and are the real drivers of change. Unlike private employees, public servants have a mission-driven mindset rather than a focus on financial profit. Not being subject to market pressures, they can share ideas and best practices openly.
As e-commerce and other technological innovations in the private sector remake the consumer experience and allow for convenient and seamless personalized service, the bar is raised for governmental agencies to optimize service delivery. It is a global public-sector challenge.
In a sphere where citizens see themselves more as customers, government will need to focus on relationships and engagement. When people can do their purchasing, banking, information gathering and other business online effortlessly, they expect the same from their government.
The practice of government agencies to be fair and dispassionate in dealing with a diverse public body can be perceived as impersonal and overly bureaucratic. Today, there is an emphasis on values of transparency and personalized service, above productivity and impartiality.
Citizenry is now more complex, with greater disparity between generational groups, political affiliations, economic classes and other factors. The way citizens engage and communicate has been transformed by social networks and mobile technology. Individuals are, at the same time, both interconnected yet isolated, with less definition between public and private worlds. Governments across the world are learning to navigate these challenges and provide the public with efficient services.
The topic of this article is derived from the curriculum for the Schulich ExecEd program Masters Certificate in Public Sector Leadership (starting Feb. 3, 2020). This program is designed to equip today’s government and public-sector leaders with the skills and competencies critical to establishing frameworks of governance that will encourage innovation and ensure best practices throughout their organizations.