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2021 Government Trends

What are the most transformational trends in the public sector today?

The year 2020 brought a host of challenges for governments. How did they keep pace with COVID-19 as well as other economic and social disruptions? Nine trends illustrate the most sweeping transformation in governments worldwide.

Dive into the nine trends

The Deloitte Center for Government Insights’ Government Trends 2021 captures nine of the most transformative trends in government today. The report distills years of research on government operations, coupled with on-the-ground coverage of what is happening in the trenches right now.

What were the most transformative trends in government?

Accelerated digital government

The COVID-19 pandemic made digital an imperative to the delivery of public services, with many large-scale digital innovations rolled out at an unprecedented speed – laying the foundation for future digital government. Globally, the public sector’s response to the pandemic resulted in a rapid change of the sort generally not seen in government.

Seamless service delivery

There is a sizable gap between the seamless digital experience customers have come to expect and the experience traditionally provided by the public sector. The good news is that governments have been making big strides in this area. Governments have been making great strides in leveraging technology to deliver a more seamless digital experience.

Location liberation

Location liberation and the ability to work from anywhere are here now, and they’re altering most aspects of how we work, where we work, and what we need to work effectively and collaboratively. More than just a short-term inconvenience, remote work may be the first step in a long-term transformation, which COVID-19 has accelerated.

Fluid data dynamics

The power of data-sharing is well documented. Sharing data can save time, money, and lives. Data is becoming increasingly critical to problem-solving and decision-making. As governments are turning into more insights-driven organizations, they are becoming more fluid in their ability to get data in ways they can do the most good.

Government as a cognitive system

Governments worldwide are increasingly using a cognitive approach to decision-making, relying on past evidence, real-time data, and future predictions to inform their policies. Data and information have been established as the fuel for the global economy. Now governments are developing new capabilities to exploit the power of data for social good. Governments are learning and evolving—just as cognitive systems do.

Agile government

The coronavirus pandemic underscored the need for fast, flexible, inclusive, and mission-centric government. In response to COVID-19, many governments have begun to use agile methodologies to tackle a range of challenges. As a result, policy, regulatory, and procurement processes are becoming more adaptive and nimble.

Government’s broader role in cyber

Governments have long recognized the necessity of cybersecurity in their networks—but now they may need to expand their focus to the entire cybersecurity ecosystem. Talk of collaboration and ecosystems in cybersecurity is nothing new. However, the events of the past year—supply chain attacks, the rapid shift to cloud, the adoption of remote work, and more—have made it clear that while governments is already operating in those ecosystems, their approach to security has yet to catch up.

Inclusive, equity-centered government

Governments should reflect societal values. As inclusion, diversity, and equity issues come to the forefront, governments are beginning to recognize the importance of addressing the underlying causes of systemic imbalances and question the fundamentals of how policies are made, implemented, and assessed.

Sustaining public trust in government

In many parts of the world, trust in governments saw a massive surge in 2020, brought on by COVID-19.1 For the first time in decades, globally, citizens considered their governments to be the most trusted institution, as they looked for guidance during the pandemic. Such trust—and, increasingly, social trust or social capital—is crucial to managing challenging economic and public health issues.

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