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In the past 25 years, the productivity of America’s private sector has risen by more than 50 percent, buoyed by new technologies, globalization, advanced manufacturing processes, and a deeper understanding of individual and organizational psychology. The public sector’s productivity, by contrast, actually fell during the same period, despite the availability of many of the same advances. 1
Desktop PCs—and perhaps even desks—may soon become passé, with laptops, tablets, and smartphones becoming the norm in business. Mobile devices and mobile-infused workplaces are the latest in a long list of technologies transforming private business models and making firms more dynamic. They hold similar and perhaps even greater promise for the public sector. To fully realize the productivity benefits associated with mobile tech, however, government must adopt it differently than it did past disruptive technologies. This change in approach can help governments avoid investments that fail to produce commensurate productivity improvements.
For too long, the government has employed 20th-century tools to solve 21st-century problems. We fell behind in making the smart investments in technology that yield productivity gains in the private sector every day.” - Steven VanRoekel, US Federal CIO
One example of the potential of mobile comes from Nike. The company has worked to strengthen customer engagement after the initial transaction, creating a long-lasting customer experience. To do so, it has introduced a range of Nike+ products that support its customers’ athletic activities through mobile devices and social media. A combination of sensors embedded in the shoe, a mobile device (such as a smartphone or iPod), and the Nike+ website opens up new avenues for value, allowing runners to plan and track their runs, keep records of pace, weather, and terrain, and connect easily to the larger community of runners.
By taking advantage of the ubiquity of mobile devices and allowing users to engage with social networks and share running experiences and tips, Nike has made it possible for customers to co-create a new end product. The firm grew its market share by 10 percent in the first year of this strategy, building a community of 1.3 million participating customers. 2 To date, Nike has added $500 million to its revenues simply by leveraging its customer base with mobile technologies. 3
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1 . U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and Deloitte Research analysis based on Bureau of Labor Statistics data.