IBM: Demographic shifts, environment reshape role of government

A study released last week by IBM Corp. identified six trends that are both threats and opportunities for better government.

Each of the trends ? or forces, as IBM calls them ? requires an individual strategy for effective management, the company said in its report, "Government 2020 and the Perpetual Collaboration Mandate."

The report said changes in demographics, globalization, environmental concerns, societal relationships, social stability and the expanding influence of technology are having a growing global effect.

The influence of the six trends varies in urgency from country to country, but how individual governments respond to the trends will greatly affect the country's prosperity, the report said.

Collaboration and virtual organizations will play a key role, IBM said.

"We are looking at a world in the midst of significant transition, where governments have the opportunity to work together more effectively and engage their citizens and allies in the implementation of bigger goals for society," said Gerry Mooney, general manager of IBM Global Government

Research results identified 'perpetual collaboration' as a core capability governments will need to prosper and best serve citizens during the next 12 years.

IBM recommendations for government organizations include:
  • Public/private collaboration. New alliances and models of interaction, such as global collaborative ventures, are needed to keep pace with change.
  • Personalized interaction and services. Governments need to increase the use of technologies that provide convenience, increased efficiency, security and privacy in delivering health care and social services.
  • Knowledge creation and sharing. Innovation needs to be promoted through interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary research. New models for knowledge sharing are needed that can cross generational boundaries in the workplace.
  • Value to constituencies. Governments need to raise the awareness of their constituents and get their buy-in on new approaches to services, including services on demand. These new types of services can bring greater value to citizens.

"Across the globe, many political leaders understand they have a choice," Mooney said. "They can be passive and let change dictate the way their nations will adjust, or they can embrace the changes with effective strategies to improve the lives of their citizens, protect their interests and grow their profiles internationally."

The report was published by the IBM Institute for Business Value, an internal think tank that focuses on business, government and social issues.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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