What does disruptive technology have to do with government?

What does disruptive technology have to do with government?

Disruptive technology is a common subject matter in conversations regarding digital transformation. But what does this actually mean and, more importantly, why should governments even be considering it?

Disruptive technology challenges and changes the status quo of how we connect, engage and consume. It wasn’t that long ago when holidays-goers had no choice but to pay premium prices to stay in premium locations - Airbnb has done much to turn this on its head.

As exciting as all this is, it can be easy for government, burdened with procedure, legacy technology and out-of-date practices, to think that these cutting edge organisations have no impact on how they should be operating. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Not only does disruptive technology change citizen expectations of the service they receive, but it also opens up great opportunity for government to truly embrace digital.

The Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT), refers to the use of data sensors and other internet-connected devices to control physical objects - this has been rapidly turning business systems on their heads.

Harnessing the technology effectively means that governments can produce smarter and better serving cities that will be in the best position to drive the economy forward. Using the ‘Internet of Things’ devices to monitor their city’s ‘health’, government’s will be able to pre-empt and deliver services that are catered to their citizens and the communities they service.

Increasing Expectations

Citizen expectations have been increasing parallel to the rate of the customer-experience being delivered as a result of disruptive technology. Shifting away from the strict service provider and service receiver relationship, citizens now expect to be able to take an active role in shaping how their government’s operate. Uber recognised that customers were not content with the transport system that had long been offered to them and responded accordingly - Governments needs to follow-suit. The smarter cities will be those that listen to their community and shape their digital transformation around what they learn.

Disruptive tech has given the power back to the people

Airbnb have empowered their users to make smarter, more affordable choices. Unlike long-standing hotel chains that could call upon their experience and reputation (and sometimes the fact they are the default choice for some holiday makers), Airbnb relies heavily on it’s unique customer experience - without this being the focus the organisation would surely have crumbled.

This is just one example of a customer-centric digital experience that has sent ripples through our hyper-connected society. Citizens are increasingly becoming more empowered and they expect the same sense of empowerment from their government. The divide that currently exists between government and citizen will soon become unacceptable. Governments have to empower their citizens by listening, shaping their technology around their needs and by giving the citizen easy access to the information and services that they are entitled to.

Government is not exempt

The main lesson governments need to take from this is that they are not exempt from the customer-experience revolution that is being supported and shaped by digital. Citizens expect a seamless experience from organisation-to-organisation and this includes the experience and services they receive from their government. Technology aside, the smarter, most future-proof governments are going to be those that define their services and approach around their citizen. Technology should come in only when these factors are clearly understood and defined.