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The future of state government

Intuitive. Integrated. Intelligent.

Technology is reshaping government and the speed of change is accelerating. Living out the promise of this change means pushing past old limits and setting new expectations.

So what might the new model look like?

State government of the future starts with people. The Future State provides the right services through the right channel at the right time. There is no wrong door—it cuts across the functions and connects all the dots. It uses evidence to deliver better outcomes. If “respond” was the old standard, “anticipate” will be the new one.

Three key trends drive this change—customer experience, analytics, and integration across government and the broader ecosystem. State governments drive fundamental innovation in their business models and deliver a better experience. The future state will be more intuitive, integrated, and intelligent.

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In this future…

  • Disconnects in customer service yield to the smart power of technology, not the hard labor of formalistic reorganizing. Gain doesn’t always require pain.
  • Health care systems evolve from “sick care” to wellness. Helping people stay healthy in the first place is the best prescription—and the most cost-effective.
  • Citizens aren’t left to decode the system and work it from the outside. Citizens are at the center, and the system organizes itself around them.
  • Human services shift from focusing on transactions to achieving life-changing outcomes for children and families.
  • Business licensing, compliance, and reporting, now costly and burdensome, transform into a seamless, one-stop shop experience.

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A new model

Intuitive. In a world of constant change, intuitive governments harness the power of analytics and digital technology to sense and respond to citizen needs as they evolve. Feedback loops and performance analytics help to continuously refine and improve services.

Integrated. Integrated governments replace vertical divisions with a horizontal model that aligns the enterprise to create a streamlined, personalized, and engaging citizen experience.

Intelligent. Governments that learn from behavioral economics, psychology, and analytics can use data to manage risk, empower their workforces, and continuously reconfigure in pursuit of better outcomes.

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Features, Principles, Outcomes

Living in the future state

Nudge vs. fudge.
Analytics—New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions: One in 10 state unemployment insurance dollars goes to someone who is ineligible. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions is using a novel approach to stem these losses: Instead of the traditional “pay then chase” method, the department has combined predictive analytics with behavioral nudges to stop overpayments before they’re made. Field-tested “nudge” language on the department website encourages claimants to give accurate answers rather than “fudging” questions about their eligibility. The difference this language makes during key moments of the filing process has been able to reduce improper payments and provide significant savings to the state’s unemployment trust fund.

Technology based on reality.
Customer experience—Texas HHS eligibility app: Moving citizen-government interaction onto a mobile platform sounds like a worthy task. But it would be cumbersome to account for every kind of interaction and make each one work on every kind of device. Instead, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission visited service centers to see what people needed to accomplish and what devices they carried. Many benefit recipients have smart phones, and many use them as their primary online devices. Creating an app that allowed citizens to submit verification documents using the cameras on their phones was a targeted solution, not a needlessly comprehensive one. The result wasn’t just quicker and cheaper; it was more effective. Within a month, the new app was the commission’s leading channel for verification submissions.

Embracing complexity.
Ecosystem—The RE-AMP Network: An ecosystem is too complex for single-point solutions to work well. Instead, many problems respond better to a broad approach that applies a full portfolio of strategic interventions at many points in the system. The RE-AMP Network uses that insight on behalf of clean energy—it’s a collaborative effort among 160 nonprofits and foundations in eight Midwestern US states. The group has one goal: Reducing greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. But in pursuing that goal, the network has identified four mutually supporting “bulls-eyes”: Prevent the building of new coal-fired power plants, shut down existing plants, make renewable power a viable alternative, and reduce energy consumption through significant efficiency measures. Ruth Rominger, a consultant to the project, said the group “knew that unless they coordinated to work on those four levers simultaneously, they wouldn’t make progress.” Or, as the Monitor Institute put it, “Start by understanding the system you are trying to change.”

Power to the people.
Innovation—Open NY: The machine-readable data from more than 100 million public records is a terrific public resource. But how to extract value from it? In New York State, the Open NY program turned to citizens for the answer. The state invited developers to six “hackathons” and encouraged them to develop apps and portals they thought would be useful. Some of the results already in operation include apps that let people find local shelters and food banks, teach sign language to hearing children, or locate family services, as well as portals that support a ready view of health data, budgeting, campus crime, and local statutes. In a parallel move, the state also carried out a user-centric redesign for a state website that hadn’t changed in 15 years.

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Future of state government.

Traditional government surrounds the citizen with a confusing array of touch points—and it’s the citizen’s responsibility to know and pursue them. When government functions instead as an integrated, intelligent, intuitive ecosystem, it is able to connect dots, sense needs, and react accordingly. If a family interacts with government at one point, analytics may be used to anticipate the right services at the right time, in the most effective manner, at the most appropriate cost, across the ecosystem.

Let's talk. State government leaders will be faced with a rapidly changing landscape based on the exponential speed of technology-driven innovation in areas like customer experience, analytics, and coordinating across ecosystems. The promise of an intuitive, intelligent, and integrated state government is within reach. Are you ready to follow?

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