With the world facing new demands, new expectations and a fast-growing array of new technologies and tools, a World Economic Forum (WEF) report is urging governments to redesign their structures and processes to capitalize on a new set of actors and tools.
In an executive summary of the report titled “The Future of Government: Lessons Learned from around the World”, the Director of WEF, Carina Larsfälten indicated that the challenges faced by governments increasingly span national borders and require resources and expertise to be mobilized on a scale that far exceeds those of governments.
“To be efficient and effective in today’s complex, interlinked and fast-changing environment, governments need to redesign their structures and processes to capitalize on a new set of actors and tools”, Larsfälten said.
Citing a current example in the Middle East, where a youth revolution built on the global technology revolution is demanding immediate reform, the report said structures and practices of governments must change in the coming years, and new networks and technologies can be leveraged to transform government capacity.
“It includes a series of policy briefs, which distils some of the most current and vital information for government modernization available, and concludes with case studies from around the world”, the report urged.
Governments of the future will need to adapt and continuously evolve to create value and they need to stay relevant by being responsive to rapidly changing conditions and citizens’ expectations, and build capacity to operate effectively in complex, interdependent networks of organizations and systems across the public, private and non-profit sectors to co-produce public value, it said.
The report therefore recommended a flatter, agile, streamlined and tech-enabled (FAST) government and suggested a number of measures to align civil service systems to the requirements of FAST governments.
The report also explores the powerful but, in some cases, controversial concepts of open government and open data, giving examples of how governments are using the power of the Internet and the Web, including social media, to transform governance, empower citizens and rebuild the social contract between political leaders and citizens.
For open data where people can access government information, the report indicates that the World Wide Web Foundation launched an Open Government Data Feasibility Study of the Governments of Ghana, Chile and Turkey to determine in what ways middle- to low-income countries have the capacity to develop and maintain open government data projects.
By Ekow Quandzie