These programs are often imposed from above, without proper adaptation to the needs of the particular agency and without full buy-in. The result is a semblance of implementation, rather than real change and improvement. They are often gone before much can happen.
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In this world, it is often safer for middle managers to wait for instructions and do what they are told, rather than stick their necks out for something that might become entangled in a political dogfight. Living in a political war zone can be dispiriting, even for people at high levels.
The latest casualty: Olympia Snowe, a popular pro-choice Republican in her 18th year in the Senate after 16 years in the House. She was expected to easily win another term but stunned politicians and the public alike with an announcement last week that she would bow out, citing an "atmosphere of polarization" in Washington DC.
The fact that the public sector is stuck in gridlock is widely understood, yet the underlying reason is little understood: the root causes of the public sector's problems lie in the fact that the private sector as we know it is dying.
More with Less: Maximizing Value in the Public Sector
As a result, the economy is going through a wrenching phase change. We are not just living through a slower-than-usual recovery back to where we were. Instead the economy is in a phase change from an Industrial Economy to a new kind of economy: the Creative Economy. The change is as fundamental as the shift in the first half of the 20 th Century from the agricultural economy to the industrial economy.
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The public sector has an important role to play in fostering the emergence of the Creative Economy. The need is obvious. Public sector costs have risen rapidly, often with little or no perceived benefit.
K education has more than doubled in the last three decades. By thinking in terms of disruptive innovation, one can begin to eliminate trade-offs between price and performance, speed and quality, convenience and satisfaction. Such gains happen all the time in the private sector. Why not in the public sector? It is not lack of opportunity. Opportunities for disruptive innovation—really doing more with less—are actually abundant in the public sector as a result of new technology. The Deloitte report gives many examples:. The issue for government however is not so much finding the opportunities for innovation, which are abundant, but rather developing the management capacity to make them happen in a political context that is often unsupportive.
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The Deloitte report suggests that policymakers should identify disruptive opportunities by focusing on three issues:. While this advice is sound, the practical question remains: who is going do this? Even in the private sector, traditional management finds it difficult to cope with disruptive innovation. In organization after organization, sector after sector, traditional managements have suffered some form of corporate death through maintaining the status quo.
The solution to disruptive innovation is continuous innovation. In the private sector, it requires a shift from maximizing shareholder value to delighting the customer. In the public sector, it requires that organizations shift focus from outputs and efficiency to outcomes and adding value for their primary stakeholders. For example, in education, this means students ahead of administrators. In health, it means patients ahead of doctors and hospitals. The Deloitte report notes that success in disruptive innovation traditionally has required the disruptor to have autonomy from the parent organization, as well as from the incumbents who dominate the market.
A Bad Time to Be Average
Herein lies the rub. How can government agencies possibly get autonomy for even part of their operations when the whole modus operandi of Congress is about exercising greater and greater control, particularly the control of funding in the political war zones? What can managers in the public sector who would like to introduce disruptive innovation? Here are six ways to proceed.
Traditional management as practiced in the 20th Century is incompatible with continuous innovation. Coping with the Creative Economy implies not only a shift in goal from outputs to outcomes, but also a shift in the role of managers to become enablers of self-organizing teams, a shift in the way work is coordinated through dynamic linking, a shift in values from a sole focus on efficiency to transparency and continuous improvement, and a shift from top-down communications to horizontal conversations. You can write a book review and share your experiences.
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Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books you've read. Whether you've loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. Benjamin C. Fortna auth. Year: Language: english.
File: PDF, 3. Peter Bramham , Stephen Wagg eds. Free ebooks since You may be interested in. Managing and Delivering Performance: How government, public sector and not-for-profit organisations can measure and manage what really matters Bernard Marr. Management consulting practice in Intellectual capital Bernard Marr.