Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Startups: Please Disrupt the Public Sector

Startups have successfully disrupted many well entrenched business models, from the automobile industry to the food we eat and what we wear.  So far, startups have had much less of an impact on government.

When will startups focus their efforts on changing the way government agencies serve the public?

Many processes are ripe for disruption:
  1. Government procurement is costly, slow, and inefficient.  Many of the processes designed to enhance competition and provide business opportunities to small companies have produced the opposite of the desired result, creating barriers to competition, rewarding unscrupulous contractors and saddling agencies with failed products and projects. 
  2. Customer service and customer satisfaction have improved in many industries but not so much in government services. Wouldn't new approaches to customer service reduce cost along with better citizen satisfaction?
  3. New channels for customer service.  In a related point, while some government agencies are embracing social media, many have a long way to go.  Do government agencies need their own official social networks?
  4. Mobile apps.  I use mobile apps for parking and also for some museum exhibits, but there is much potential for new apps.
  5. Grants. Government grants are an increasingly important mechanism to fund programs, but grant application and reporting processes are largely manual.  Improved tracking can enhance accountability, and deep learning could tie results to expenditures and lead to more efficient spending.  
I'm sure that many initiatives are underway that are not visible to me, but if there is a sector ripe for change, it is in the public sector. 


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