Reflections from the Executive Director

Part of a Series

This Reflection is a part of the 2016 Public Sector for the Future Summit Report.

To see the complete report, click here.

Dear Colleagues,

“If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company.”

– Jeffrey Immelt Chief Executive Officer, General Electric

The private sector is not alone in undergoing the immense digital transformation that Jeffrey Immelt describes in this quote. At this year’s Public Sector for the Future Summit, 59 percent of attendees said that they are currently facing significant or extreme change in their operating environments and roles; looking ahead, 92 percent anticipate significant or extreme change over the next five years.

Compounding the challenge for government is that the magnitude of the digital transformation will require redesigning organizational structures, systems, processes, and workforces that have been stable for a long time. This will not be easy. Fifty percent of the leaders at the Summit said that organizational redesign will be critical going forward, yet only eight percent felt their organizations are well prepared to respond.

For leaders spearheading the response, success will depend on the portfolio of Uptake and Edge Matrix innovations adopted—and how those innovations can be integrated and embedded across agencies to create a sustainable path for near- and long-term transformation.

As you will see from the cases and insights in this report, savvy government leaders are making progress already, and the future is unfolding before us. My hope is that their examples and ideas will help you to move forward, too, with confidence and vigor.

All the best,

Dr. Antonio M. Oftelie
Fellow, Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard
Executive Director, Leadership for a Networked World
Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

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