Transforming government post–COVID-19
How flipping orthodoxies can reinvent government operating models
Governments around the world are beginning to reopen not only their economies but their own offices and operations. Just like here in Aotearoa New Zealand, they will be reopening in an entirely different operating environment—and will have to adapt to the new reality.
Many aspects of pre-pandemic operations have been challenging to resume and manage the backlog from lockdown. From motor vehicle offices to court hearings to physical inspections, governments will have to find different methods of service delivery.
In many cases, the mission in the post–COVID-19 environment will be evolving as well, with new functions such as disease monitoring and the regulation of social distancing edicts.
Governments will need to adopt a new operating model based on the uncertain environment we now live in the “next normal” of work. But what should it look like? What should governments stop doing and what should continue from the COVID-19 response? How can they radically accelerate some current developments such as digitisation?
These questions can be examined by what some call “flipping orthodoxies.” We all have these “orthodoxies,” deeply held beliefs about how things should be done that often go unstated and unquestioned. They often spring from useful standard practices. But they can also cause dogmatic resistance to change, preventing us from seeing new and better ways to work.
The response to the pandemic is highlighting many of government’s orthodoxies. Examining and flipping these could lead to significant improvements. Governments should strive to transform their operations not only in health care but in areas like service delivery, workforce, regulation, and procurement.
“Governments should strive to transform their operations not only in health care but in areas like service delivery, workforce, regulation, and procurement.”