So many industries have felt the pinch of digital transformation in the last few years. Freelance, mobile workforces have disrupted dozens of industries from the IT sector, to insurance, to taxis. Just last week the Queensland government announced its long awaited review into Uber (which I’m shamelessly proud to say was in part collaboration with MindHive) giving the tech monolith the green light.
You’d be a fool to bet against the continued march of this mega-trend. The diversity of industries already disrupted evidences that even the necessitation of proximity in a workplace hasn’t prevented industries such as engineering from drastically re-imagining their procurement methods.
So what does this mean for our public sector? The sector that seemingly is always the first to talk about innovation and change, but the last on-board the bus. As the wheels go round and round and government continues to play catch-up it will find itself more and more at odds with an innovated private and find itself less and less capable of collaboration. If this spectre doesn’t loom large enough as motivation — in the short-term governments at all levels are recognising that shrinking budgets do not coincide with shrinking expectations.
If embracing crowdsourcing is a business imperative in the private sector then surely for government it is too. Government is at unique advantage when it comes to harnessing crowds in so far that they can more readily engender contributions and engage with the altruism of the crowd.
People want to see a better community, people want to see problems solved and people generally want to help when they have the expertise or experience to do so. This is something that freelancer and other platforms can’t leverage. Some can help industries with procurement and some can help with efficiency once connected — but there aren’t many out there that help solve problems altruistically.
When it comes to people’s good will and willingness to engage and spend time working through a problem for free — the government have the market cornered. They are the ones dealing with the real problems, that real people want to see solved. They have a great opportunity to lead the way in this area and develop a rich working relationship based on crowd-sourced collaboration. Developing new ways to find problem solvers and connecting them to problems is something that must be a priority for the public sector.
It’s something with the potential to not only see greater efficiency but also deliver better outcomes, more targeted policy responses that benefit from a variety of contributions.
Its time to put the public back in public policy and its time for the public sector to drive the bus!
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