2021 Government Trends

Deloitte Insights

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.

Each year, the top online searches provide a window into what was on people's minds. Not surprisingly, in 2020, “coronavirus” and “election results” were the top two searches and news phrases globally. As the world went into lockdown, “what day is it” searches hit an all-time high in April. In June, the query “what is systemic racism” peaked. Despite difficult economic times, people searched “how to donate” twice as much as “how to save money.”

The year 2020 was tumultuous, and government stood front and center in not only confronting the biggest public health challenge in a century, but also dealing with major economic and social disruptions. New programs were rolled out seemingly overnight, and at a massive scale. Government is usually associated with incremental change, but 2020 was a year of discontinuity. The shifts we saw in government operations reflect the dramatic changes happening in the world at large.

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Accelerated digital government

COVID-19 brings the next generation of digitization to government along three major dimensions: scaling digital infrastructure, creating a more digitally savvy workforce, and investing in citizen connectivity.

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Seamless service delivery

Government agencies are increasingly providing personalized, frictionless, and anticipatory services to citizens.

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Location liberation

Adaptive workplaces in government, including approaches for managing a distributed workforce and delivering high-quality citizen services virtually.

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Fluid data dynamics

Public agencies are developing novel approaches to maximize the value of the data they hold, including appropriately sharing that data.

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Government as a cognitive system

Using hindsight, real-time data, and foresight to drive policy and decision-making.

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Agile government

Building greater flexibility and adaptability in the public sector, including policymaking, regulation, procurement, and the workforce.

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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. Here’s why.

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Inclusive and equity-centered government

Embedding greater inclusion, diversity and equity into the public sector through equity-centered design, equitable access to public goods, data sovereignty and equity, and cocreation and citizen engagement.

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Sustaining public trust in government

Governments are working toward making trust a core component, tackling information manipulation, weaving in greater transparency, and building trust in government’s digital systems, services, and data initiatives.

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