Nitish Mukhi @ GovFresh highlights some interesting work from The Economist on Frugal Innovation. Interesting that we continue to try to place private sector efforts on top of public sector business processes. While I think we can learn a lot from these efforts, we need to be purposeful as to when they apply and when they wont work.
That being said, Nitish has interesting insight into the article:
Focus on your core business and contract out the rest Governments are realizing that they are in the business of protecting and serving the citizens and not in the business of writing software applications. This is one reason why we are seeing a huge push towards Commercial Off The Shelf solutions and away from custom applications. This also applies to how governments deliver services. The City of Arlington, Texas, has a program called Code Rangers, where citizens are trained in the most common code enforcement violations to help with bylaw enforcement issues and has outsourced several inspections to third party firms all because they know their core focus.
Use existing technology in imaginative new ways The world where every department within a government organization bought their own siloed workflow application for its own purpose where it didnt have to share data with the rest of the organization are gone. Also gone are the days where governments could easily find and retain talented IT staff to sustain all those applications. When Province of Nova Scotia was asked to quickly develop a tax rebate system by the Premier, it had a couple of options: build from scratch or see what existing technology they can leverage. Within a matter of months, Nova Scotia had a rebate system up and running on a COTS platform. The City of St. Paul, Minnesota has leveraged its existing permitting software to also automate its internal IT support and ticketing functions. On a personal note, Im excited to see that governments are using existing technology in such creative and imaginative ways. This imaginative thinking has helped government agencies deliver more services with less costs, effort and resources.
Apply mass production techniques in new and unexpected areas If you were to walk into the first floor of city hall or the building department of City of San Jose, CA, City of Arlington, TX, or Orange County, FL, you will see a well laid out and planned One Stop Shop for Permitting. Where previously, the permitting process was disjointed, these organizations have setup a One Stop Shop to manage large volumes of customers in a streamlined and efficient manner. The sheer volume of applicants these organizations face has forced them to rethink their processes, specialize its people, and leverage various technologies to deliver the required results.
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