How collaborative leadership can create solutions to big global issues on government’s future frontiers

Confronting overwhelming problems takes a special kind of leader – a leader who thinks less about a strict hierarchy and more about building bridges and assembling coalitions from across all aspects of society

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Infrastructure. Security. Health. Technology. The on-the-ground realities of homelessness. The infinite possibilities of space.

These are all big issues, bigger than any one organization can handle alone. Truly tackling the problems and opportunities inherent in these pressing societal concerns could take a concerted effort from all walks of society: Public agencies and private companies, nonprofits and academics, multinational foundations and community activists. But no matter what teams are assembled, government is expected to play a key role in constructing the scaffolding on which solutions are built.

In this episode, we speak with Bill Eggers and Don Kettl, authors of Bridgebuilders: How Government Can Transcend Boundaries to Solve Big Problems. They have more than 75 years of combined experience in the world of public management between them, and they’ve studied countless efforts to redesign government to make it more agile and responsive.

To address the big societal problems the world is facing, they contend we need a new kind of leader: “Bridgebuilders at the helm who can transform governance from hierarchy to networks, from authority to collaboration, from process to mission, and from fuzzy responsibility to accountability for results.”

We discuss the skills these bridgebuilders should have and look to some examples of bridgebuilders in action—first in the realm of responding quickly to the catastrophic attacks on 9/11, then in the more slow-moving war on the scourge of malaria. The people who are on the ground and tackling these problems head-on share what works and what may get in the way. All of this knowledge and experience can give a path forward as we look to issues that make up government’s next frontiers.

Q: Hi and welcome to Government’s Future Frontiers, brought to you by Deloitte Insights. I’m your host, Tanya Ott.

In this new podcast series, we will be exploring what the coming decades may look like through the eyes of decision-makers across the globe as they tackle some of the most pressing problems we’re facing today—and will be confronting tomorrow.

From infrastructure to space, from health to homelessness, these are issues that are too big for any one organization to handle. Solutions require contributions and buy-ins from government agencies, nonprofits, academia, and the private sector. We’ll explore what it takes to get these players working together for a common goal—and for the greater good.

In today’s episode, we’re looking at collaboration: What happens when people come together to solve a problem.

Great things happen when people work together, whether that’s in the face of disaster or when dealing with the everyday working of a nation, and everything in between.

We’ll be exploring the power of teamwork when facing the biggest challenges, whether manmade or natural ones.

We’ll be asking if it is time to throw away the rulebook and adopt new ways of running societies. Can relationships between public and private organizations, NGOs and official bodies present an alternative,  better way of governance?

To tackle that huge question, I am joined by two guests who recently released a book on this very subject.

Bill Eggers and Don Kettl are the authors of Bridgebuilders: How Government Can Transcend Boundaries to Solve Big Problems and they are both with me today—well, in different parts of the US, but with me on the line.

Bill is calling in from Washington, D.C., where he is the executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights.

And Professor Don Kettl, former dean of the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, is in Michigan.

Thank you both for joining me.

First of all, what is a bridgebuilder? I assume we’re not talking about the Brooklyn Bridge, but is there any engineering involved in this process?

Don Kettl: One of the things that is great fun is that people say, “Well, it’s not rocket science.” In some ways, it is rocket science. If you look at NASA, for example, and the way in which it goes about putting both men and objects into space, NASA's job is not to do it all itself, but to create a network of partners whose job it is to try to pull things together. The bridgebuilder is the one who makes the connection among all of those pieces. And that’s the issue that we try to explore in the book. Our basic argument is that there’s no problem anywhere that matters that any one organization can control. And the question is, how do we solve those problems? We solve those problems by finding people who can weave the connections among all the members of these complex networks and use that to try to produce results. Those are the people who are the bridgebuilders.

Q: So underpinning all of this is the idea of change. And there are a lot of things changing in government right now. What are some of the reasons for, say, a change in your approach?

Kettl: The basic issue, I think, is to look at it another metaphor. Most governments, most of the time, and most of the people and most policymakers and even most of the citizens who are out there, tend to look at government problems, big social problems, as a kind of vending machine. They put money in the top, pick the problem that they want to solve, pick the solution that they think [will work], punch a button, and then wait for the results to come out.

Eggers: That mental model is not actually how governments operate today. It doesn’t reflect the reality of how the world is. Most societal problems extend far beyond the legislatively defined boundaries that lawmakers initially mandated to deal with them. There’s no real low-hanging fruit, no obvious solutions. Now consider homelessness. Is it an economic problem? Is it a jobs problem, a mental health problem, a drug problem, a family problem, a criminal justice problem? Is it a problem for government or for nonprofit organizations? For individuals, for local governments, or for states or the federal government? Do private companies play a role?

And the answer to all of these questions is—yes. And so the solution must go beyond the old lines that we’ve drawn to address them.

Q: So let’s dig into that just a little bit because it is a very complicated landscape, as you both allude to. You make the argument for the need for a new model for public management. But what are some of the things that may be lacking in collaboration between public, private, and not-for-profit sectors right now?

Kettl: Too often, the problem is that we have big, tall barriers that separate organizations from each other and make it hard for organizations to collaborate with each other. We have organizations that have cultures of structures, have different processes, [or] tend to focus on different ideas. As a result of that, it's sometimes hard for organizations to figure out how it is that they can work with each other. That’s the knocking down barriers–[type] piece that we started off the book with. What we need is more emphasis on creating the leaders, the individuals who are capable of being able to do this. The big change is not only the growing complexity of government and the problems that government is trying to solve, but also in a kind of paradox. The more complex things become, the more important individual leaders become—the individual focused [on] navigating these complex worlds.

Eggers: Just looking at the impact of bridgebuilders we’ve already seen throughout history, even dating all the way back to Clara Barton’s founding of the Red Cross. Or you can look at the former head of NASA, James Webb, who used his really unparalleled bridgebuilding and political skills to lead NASA’s first mission to the moon. Or take former Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who employed this sort of blended government model to organize Houston’s battle against homelessness, which 10 years later has reduced homelessness by 63% in Houston.1 Or take DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and the Department of Defense’s bridgebuilding model, which has resulted in the creation of the internet, GPS, and voice-activated assistants; or Operation Warp Speed, which helped produce a vaccine for COVID-19 in record time—six months—through a public-private partnership; or former Unilever CEO Paul Polman, who played a pioneering role in getting the business community to focus more time and resources on sustainability. The list of world-changing achievements is really long, and I have no doubt that many of tomorrow’s biggest achievements will also be the result of this kind of bridgebuilding model.

Q: Every collaboration needs a catalyst: An individual, or perhaps a small group of people, who find themselves in the right place (or perhaps wrong place) at the right time and seize the initiative.

How they respond to the situation they find themselves in can make a huge difference.

For example, the actions of Michael Day.

Lieutenant Michael Day was working in Lower Manhattan on  September 11, 2001—a day etched into the annals of history.

Rear-Admiral Michael Day: It [was] a beautiful day in in New York. I was at an operations brief, which is how we typically start our day. One of the towers was struck and we lost our ability to communicate with our boats and vessels out of the harbor … that where we had all of our antennas for New York Harbor.

I was sent out on a on a boat to pass information back to our command center. [6.7s]

When the second tower struck … I think we all thought the first tower being struck was an accident, and we didn’t have a lot of information to know that a commercial jetliner had had struck tower one.

When the second tower [was] struck, like the rest of America, we realized we were under attack.

For Coast Guardsmen, I think it’s our DNA, if you will, to help others in time of need. I think that’s why people join.

But when you see people swimming across the East River or the Hudson River, people are jumping into the water and swimming across … the current was taking them. And we just knew that was a dangerous situation.

There [are] just tens of scores of people lined up because the city had been cut in half. If you if you look at some images, you can see the cloud where it kind of cut Manhattan in half.

All the bridges and tunnels were closed down by the NYPD.

It was almost disorienting to be in Lower Manhattan because people were forced to the tip of lower Manhattan, all on the waterway and seeing people in need wanting to get off. There were some boats that were going along and picking up people on their own, [but] they weren’t making a dent into the number of people.

So I made a call on the radio for all available boats wanting to help with the evacuation of Lower Manhattan to report to Governor’s Island, which was a landmark that all the Mariners in the harbor were familiar with.

It’s been over 20 years, but I do remember thinking that this was the Pearl Harbor of our generation without knowing, you know, that we’d been attacked.

Things were moving so fast that I really I don't think I really processed what occurred until about three days later—three or four days later—when I finally had a moment to myself. But for me, as far as the evacuation, it was just almost instinctual to get people out of the way into safety.

I’d always been a little bit of a risk-taker in terms of pushing the boundaries of trying new ideas and innovating.

There was another lieutenant that was with me, and I can recall at the time [him] saying, “Hey, we can’t do this. We don’t have the authority. We’re going to get in trouble for calling this evacuation. And it just that it didn’t make sense to me at that point in time. And I felt the conviction to do it.

I couldn’t ask higher authority if this was the right thing to do, but I knew that the environment that  command had was one of empowerment in and that you can make a difference no matter who you are.

I don’t think in time of an emergency you can imbue everyone with, “Hey, you can do this, you can do that, you can innovate, you can create.” I think you have to set that environment all the time so that when higher authority is not there to ask permission, you know that you're supported and that you have the ability to make a decision without fear of repercussion.

Q: So what was it about Rear-Admiral Day’s actions that grabbed your attention?

Kettl: What Michael Day organized was the largest single boatlift since the evacuation of allied soldiers from Dunkirk in World War II. Dunkirk lasted days. He created Dunkirk in an afternoon, got 500,000 people off the southern tip of Manhattan by bringing ferryboats, pleasure boats, tour boats, dinner boats, a wide variety of different kinds of boats got people not only off the island, but sort it out to where it is they needed to go home.

Eggers: And I would just add that Day's leadership that day was really the product of a fundamental change in the Coast Guard's training that happened after the oil spill in 1989. The responders struggled to build an effective network in response to the spill, which made it even more difficult to clean up. And the Coast Guard's commanders determined to react far more nimbly to the next disaster and shifted the training it gave to its personnel. And that's why they was ready. The disaster turned out to not be an oil spill, but a terrorist attack. But the strategy was the same—to break down the barriers to create a network focused squarely on the mission. And I would add that when you look at disaster response in general, that is the sort of approach now that we've seen at the state, local, and federal level, [which] FEMA now calls a whole of community response to disaster response. And I think it's a great example of adaptation and change over time of organizations to be able to bring in all the different players and react very nimbly and actually to these sort of problems.

Q: Does bridgebuilding rely on one person who can cut through the chaos and make a decision to act? Or can it be a group response?

Kettl: In many ways, it has to be a group response. The key is trying to find ways of stitching together the organizations and the players that are responsible for providing an effective response. So the short answer to the question is that individual leaders are critically important, but they’re critically important in bringing together other leaders and other organizations who can contribute their assets to solving a common and shared problem. That’s the great ability of being able to leverage this kind of approach and bring it to scale to solve some of society's most complex, most difficult problems.

Eggers: And Tanya, I would add that what we've seen emerge over the last few decades are organizations who have very, very deep skills in creating these partnerships in these networks across sectors to tackle some of these very big societal challenges. And within these organizations, you might have dozens or even hundreds of people who have deep expertise in this sort of bridgebuilding. An example [is] around malaria reduction, where we've seen historic reductions in malaria over the last two and a half, three decades. There [are] organizations that have played [an] outsized role in bringing all the key players together across the government, private sector, nonprofits, [and] social enterprises.

Q: So, let’s shift our focus toward that example Bill has just raised, namely malaria.

Malaria remains one of the biggest killers on the planet. According to the World Health Organization, in 2021, the disease caused nearly 620,000 deaths with an estimated 247 million cases reported.2

Around half the population of the planet is at risk of catching malaria.3

What could a global collaboration achieve when attempting to wipe malaria out?

It’s a massive challenge, made even more challenging due to the fact that the disease continues to mutate and shift around the globe.

Just this year, we have seen a new threat from malaria in parts of Africa.

Researchers from Kenya’s Medical Research Institute have detected a new species of mosquito in the East African nation that has shown resistance to locally used insecticides and has the potential to transmit malaria throughout the year, unlike traditional malaria-causing mosquitoes.4

The mosquito species—named Anopheles stephensi—was previously only known to spread malaria in South Asia and parts of the Arabian Peninsula, according to the World Health Organization.5

Let’s hear from one of the frontlines in the battle against the disease: Kenya.

Our reporter Michael Kaloki spoke to Juliette, currently recovering from the disease, and Professor Isabella Oyer, head of the Biosciences Department at KEMRI-Wellcome Trust Research Program. Juliette has asked that her last name not be used to protect her privacy.

Juliette: I remember like a month ago, after like three days, there was no change. So I decided to visit the hospital after a checkup. They told me that I had contracted malaria. That’s when they put me on medication. But mostly since I reacted to malaria medication, the tablets, they had to put me through injection for three days. I can see that [it’s] one of the worst experiences that an expectant mother would want to have. Because, again, you don't know whether your baby’s okay. And then going through the injections, the process of recovery, then you have kids were depending on you. You need to go to work. You can't even perform as you used to when you're sick. Malaria is common, mostly in Kilifi. Most people do get malaria. It's common.

Dr. Isabella Oyier: Africa contributes about 95% of malaria cases globally.6 So that’s a stark statistic. I’ve had malaria twice. One, when I was a child, I can remember eight or nine years old and it was terrible. I was very, very sick. There was vomiting, it was fevers, just very uncomfortable, and [I] basically didn't get out of the bed.

When I was [older], I then had malaria again. Funnily enough, I was doing my PhD at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine. I had come home for my Christmas break and then I went back. So when I went back, I started feeling sick, you know, fever and shivers and headaches and just not feeling very comfortable. Thankfully, I had carried my antimalarial tablets.

Malaria has always been a life-threatening disease. Over the last 20 years, we’ve made some really good gains with regard to controlling malaria, reducing the number of cases that have malaria, and reducing the number of deaths due to malaria.

Q. Despite that progress, there are challenges.

Oyier: What we call insecticide resistance, with insecticides we're using. The mosquitoes are no longer responding to that. We've got the invasion of the new species. We have a decreasing resource envelope. So all these will present a lot of challenges for malaria control in the long run.

Q. The new species Dr. Oyier talked about is Anopheles stephensi, which until now has been seen mostly in South Asia.

Oyier: The data out there is that it is currently resistant to the insecticides we’re using for the vectors that are common in Kenya. It’s being identified in urban areas. If this new invasive species is hitting urban areas and spreading malaria, we’re going to have an escalating problem of increasing in number of malaria cases and potentially deaths, because a lot of the people in these cities have not been exposed to malaria before.

Q. Dr. Oyier says it has a lesson for us.

Oyier: What Anopheles stephensi demonstrates is how much we live in a global village. So it has spread south, it has been detected in Ethiopia and more recently in Kenya.

Q. And the global village is responding. One of those responders is Dr. Regina Rabinovich, director of the Malaria Elimination Initiative at ISG Global and the ExxonMobil Malaria Scholar in residence at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is a veteran in this campaign, and she identifies one surprising issue that people working on these sorts of big problems can encounter.

Dr. Regina Rabinovich: Well-intentioned fiefdoms of people wanting to control what they're good at, what they know they can deliver on, without realizing how it impacts or, even more importantly, depends on success of other groups that they may or may not be aware of. People wanting to make the right things happen, but not listening carefully enough across the sectors.

We need a diversity of opinion, a diversity of approaches. But I think it’s important that there be key conversations, that there’ll be awareness of what groups are developing, what the challenges in the field are, that what the research community's coming up with actually addresses problems that are being faced in the field. And the problems of malaria are huge …

Q. There’s the disease itself …

Rabinovich: Malaria is probably, I think, beautifully complicated for a scientist. It’s a riddle to be untangled. You have different species of the parasite. You have different species of mosquitoes. You have humans with a variety of immune constitutions. And untangling all of that is fascinating as a scientific problem. Turning that into a vaccine has been a 40-year effort.

Q. … the challenges of geography and political realities …

Rabinovich: … having linkages across all sectors and across this divide of North-South as well as research to implementation, are all really important for our long-term success. [17.0s]

Q. … competing priorities …

Rabinovich: International organizations that have a mandate to either get vaccines or the key therapeutics …

Q. … the realities of the market …

Rabinovich: Usually, in the real world, there is a profit motive. That’s what industry does. All that unseen work that industry does was not being done because that was not their mandate.

Q. … and the occasional unforeseen circumstances like, say, a massive global pandemic …

Rabinovich: Part of the challenge of COVID-19 was as the incredible amount of things that we needed to know that we had no clue.

People were told not to go to the clinic unless they were really, really, really sick because the clinics and the hospitals were overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as a result.

In Africa, children were not being brought in for fever, which a large part of the time, particularly during the malaria season, is malaria, which means they were not getting diagnosed, treated, or counted.

We have at least a two-year cohort that has missed the health care system.

I don’t know how well we will ever know what that impact has been on child health, particularly for those youngest, most at-risk children.

Q. In a situation like this, Bridgebuilders are key.

Rabinovich: I see leadership, across genders, across countries and across fields. And whether it’s coming from WHO and enlightened leadership in Africa or at in-community hospitals, which have been there for decades and have been tackling this. I see it at every level. I see the capacity and the possibility at every level.

I think governments are a critical player. I don't think you can try to do this without the engagement of government, but you also need the right tools and you need to be able to question some older practices.

It takes many other groups and activities that we're not trained as physicians to think about in public health. There's just an enormous amount to learn.

Q. The battle against malaria is being fought on several different fronts and on multiple layers of expertise. Can you tell me about some of the instances where you've seen collaboration in this space?

Eggers: It’s a really remarkable, incredibly hopeful story. We’ve seen malaria mortality fall by 60% over the last 20 plus years. Fully 1.5 billion cases averted, 7.6 million lives saved.7 [It’s] just been a huge scale-up of resources brainpower around this area.

You’ve had so many major players involved in this, many different governments all over the world. And you also have some corporations who have played a key role in the fight against malaria: ExxonMobil has run workplace malaria control program in Africa and the Pacific Rim and averted more than 2,000 cases of malaria.8

When it comes to scaling these sort of big problems, markets can provide a very powerful engine. Through government investment, through foundation investment and others, they were able to create huge markets for things like mosquito nets, malaria medicines, low-cost diagnostic devices, which help to drive costs low enough to serve hundreds of millions of poor people and encourage companies to develop solutions. One example of this is a low-cost health tool called the Rapid Diagnostic Test, which allows health workers to detect the disease in a patient within minutes at 99% accuracy in just US$0.15 a test.9 And it was the creation of these markets through the blending of public, private, and foundation money that was able to really result in a lot of these innovations in this area.

And now, of course, we are seeing a vaccine in this area around malaria reduction, which should turbocharge a lot of these efforts. [A] modeling study in 2020 showed that if it was rolled out in all the countries with its greatest toll, it could prevent 5.4 million cases in children younger than five years of age and prevent close to 25,000 deaths in that group. So I think the fight against malaria has all kinds of key ingredients for addressing the toughest societal problems. You saw a large and diverse group of engaged organizations across all these sectors. A lot of coordination between government, nonprofit institutions to provide leadership and direction, a whole portfolio of interventions, technology advances that help to drive innovative solutions and, really importantly, market incentives to scale those solutions. And most importantly, allies a vast array of different groups in a concerted effort to pursue this goal of malaria reduction. It's a great case, and I think that model can be applied to many other societal challenges we're facing today.

Kettl: It’s worth stepping back and asking, how did this happen? Because we’re talking about organizations in countries across the world and the public and the private and the nonprofit sectors all somehow trying to work together. I mean, how does this happen? And what really is the driver [is] people like Bill Gates, who have created not only the funding, but also the personal leadership to be able to galvanize the work. But most importantly, the secret sauce in all of this is a focus on outcomes, of getting all these different organizations from so many different places to all agree that they have a role in trying to solve this problem, understanding what that role is, and then driving them to success.

Q. Don, you read my mind because I was just thinking to myself, all the players in the malaria story, they're in geographically far removed areas. There [are] different types of organizations that are working together on this. What are the systems that need to be in place for that kind of collaboration to thrive?

Kettl: It’s a combination of things. One is the cultivation of leaders who recognize that the key to solving problems is reaching across boundaries and finding ways of putting together the kind of broad networks that are responsible. It means creating a data system that creates a language that weaves these different organizations together, and this important focus on outcomes. Because if everyone understands their role in the broader system of trying to produce change and understanding their particular contributions that can measure and produce it, it’s the thing that really brings together all the different approaches that we've seen and that we explore in the book.

Eggers: And government has a variety of different roles it can play in these complex public-private ecosystems. First of all, a role as integrator, to craft the ecosystem so that all of the different participants can work effectively together. Now, sometimes the integrator of these ecosystems can be nonprofit organizations, as I mentioned, or foundations, but often government, as it plays an integrated role.

Problem-solver is another role: To work out solutions for particular problems, as we saw within the malaria reduction or creating the markets for those solutions to emerge.

Another one is being an enabler to lower the bar or break through barriers through systems like human capital development, data management, specific funding. In the case of Operation Warp Speed and the record time in developing a vaccine, government played a major role in reducing some regulatory barriers, derisking some of the investment from the private sector.

Another role is as a motivator, to provide incentives to grease the wheels on everything from grants and contracts, tax incentives, or using prizes and challenges, which NASA has done very often for close to a decade in terms of trying to really promote the development of the commercial space industry and space travel.

And lastly, [there is the] convener role, the ability to bring together a wide variety of players and to foster this effective collaboration, using everything from conferences and hackathons to crowdsourcing citizen engagement meetings at the White House, and so on.

Sometimes, government is playing not just one role, but multiple roles in these different endeavors. Being able to figure out what is the best role to play is one of the key questions and issues that must be answered as government engages in these different ecosystems.

Q. Emerging technology [has] the potential to radically change how we live and work. How can you apply the bridgebuilder model to issues like that?

Kettl: The most important thing about bridgebuilding is that it is not constrained by the way in which we used to do things. It is a focus in a dynamic way, in a way that is agile, to try to adapt the systems that we have to the new problems that we face. Somebody somewhere has found a solution to almost everything. The key is trying to find them, to bring them together, to create leadership, to be able to allow people to attack the problems that they find, to bring the resources together to get at them.

Eggers: When you think about emerging technology, everyone is thinking of AI and generative AI in general. As we are taping this podcast, the White House just announced that through their convening authority that the seven companies at the forefront of the generative AI wave have given voluntary commitments to make sure that their products are safe and transparent.10

In any kind of emerging technology, the key thing to understand is government has a variety of different roles that it plays, as funder, as convener, as regulator, as user of the technologies. And through that combination of different roles, it can help steer these areas into directions that produce the most public value and create the most safety for consumers, businesses, and so on.

Q. So given the right circumstances and climate, what potential do you think bridgebuilding will have on some of these big issues, [such as] future disaster reaction, massive global projects?

Kettl: [One of] the things that’s most exciting is watching organizations learn, watching organizations move from a kind of vertical, top-down structure where somebody comes in and says, “I'm in charge, out of my way!,” to a more horizontal structure where organizations become essentially holding companies of expertise, where smart leaders find ways of tapping into the expertise that’s needed for a particular problem and focusing in on the outcomes that the organization seeks to achieve. The real excitement here is being able to adapt organizations quickly, adapt the collaborations among them quickly to be able to solve on problems that are not going to go away.

I think about the quaint world just a year ago where people were saying that maybe someday there would be some AI system that will allow us to be able to tap the internet to solve our big problems. But maybe that’s, you know, 10 years from now, we’ll be able to get to there. Six months later, we’re looking at a remarkably different kind of world. And it shows not only the speed with which new problems could arise, but also the importance of trying to create organizations that could learn and adapt quickly by focusing on what assets do I have, what problem am I trying to solve, how could I find others who can join with me to solve them?

From natural disasters on the one side to the bold role of AI and maybe even space exploration, [this] will be the way we solve these problems. Devising organizations that can respond quickly and that can create armies of bridgebuilders to draw these connections. [But there’s] also the great excitement [that] organizations are discovering ways of being able to make that happen. The remarkable photos that NASA is bringing us from the Webb Space Telescope11 are the product of collaborations across sectors. The ways in which we produce dramatic improvements and the whole system of dealing with the homeless is a product of these kinds of systems. And now the efforts of the system to respond to the challenges of AI are precisely the same kinds of things. We need organizations that are flatter, that connect with each other, that understand their shared contribution to common objectives, and create the kind of individual leadership that's capable of being able to make those both those boundaries flat and to focus on the outcomes that we all want to achieve.

Q. That’s all we have time for now and I’d like to thank my guests here today:

Bill Eggers, the executive director of Deloitte’s Center for Government Insights, and professor and author, Don Kettl. I’d also like to thank the people who shared their real-life experience in dealing with these wicked problems with us: Rear-Admiral Michael Day, who organized the largest water evacuation since Dunkirk when the Twin Towers fell on 9/11; Juliette and Dr. Isabelle Oyier, who are in the trenches in the fight against malaria in Kenya, and Dr. Regina Rabinovich, who has been working in the fight against malaria for more than 20 years.

In the next episode, we’re talking governance: How can collaboration enable those in positions of power to improve the way they serve their voters?

Thank you for listening to Government’s Future Frontiers. Remember to follow and subscribe, so that you don’t miss an episode.

This podcast is produced by Deloitte. The views and opinions expressed by podcast speakers and guests are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of Deloitte. This podcast provides general information only and is not intended to constitute advice or services of any kind. For additional information about Deloitte, go to

Tanya Ott

United States


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  10. The White House, “Fact sheet: Biden-⁠Harris administration secures voluntary commitments from leading artificial intelligence companies to manage the risks posed by AI,” press statement, July 21, 2023.

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  11. NASA, “James Webb Space Telescope,” accessed August 29, 2023.

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The authors would like to thank David Noone, Shane O’Hagan, Amrita Datar, Annalyn Kurtz and Sarah Jersild for their time and contributions to this piece.

Cover image by: Sofia Sergi