Reflections from the Executive Director

Part of a Series

This Reflection is a part of the 2017 Public Sector for the Future Summit Report.

To see the complete report, click here.

Dear Colleagues,

“Organizations are perfectly designed to get the results they get,” noted Bob McDonald, the past chief executive officer of Procter & Gamble and past secretary of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs. “If you don’t the like the results you are getting, then you need to change the design of the organization.”

McDonald’s quote carried a lot of weight for the leaders at the Public Sector for the Future Summit. In fact, at this year’s Summit, 73% of attendees said they have faced “significant or extreme change” in demand for better outcomes over the past five years, and 75% anticipate even more change over the next five years. Needless to say, the world urgently needs new strategies and tools to move the needle on outcomes in government.

To help leaders in the public sector with this outcomes challenge, this year’s Summit focused on “nudge” strategies that can transform not only how government interacts with the public, but also how agencies can improve internal operations and capacity. And importantly, we also went strides further, as we looked at nudge-based strategies in a new light – illuminating how the most powerful nudges are driven by the convergence of design thinking, data and analytics, and behavioral economics.

What emerged from the Summit was an entirely new way of thinking about innovation and transformation in government, and the growth of public outcomes and value. The convergence of behavioral economics, design thinking, and data and analytics provides policy makers and government agencies a strategy they didn’t have before – in that nudges don’t require new regulation, taxation, or financial incentives. This is a win for government, taxpayers, and the general public.

This year, I would like to deeply thank the Summit Executive Leadership Group – who gave their vital ideas, time, and energy to building the framework for this year’s Summit. And as always, on behalf of the Harvard team, the Executive Leadership Group, and Summit attendees, I would like to thank Accenture Public Service – as without their global insights, collaboration, and resources – this Summit would not have been possible. And last but not least, thank you for investing your time and energy into this Summit report. I’m certain the insights will prove valuable and actionable for you.

Now, let’s get to work!

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