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Government is many things to many people. They provide services to citizens, protect the public, run transportation systems, promote economic growth, collect taxes, and so forth. Goverment organizations also have to manage their internal operations, finances, and human capital.  We can easily see when government is not running well.  We see newspaper reports exposing fraud, waste or abuse in elections, procurement, or government programs.  But how do we know if a public sector organization or government is running at its best? Here are 3 examples how governments can run better to achieve greater value for citizens. With their transformative way to solve problems they can be a role model for other governments.  

1. Best run governments are open and make data-based decisions

The Management and Performance Hub (MPH) project of the U.S. State of Indiana tracks key performance indicators for targeted policy solutions. The MPH project uses in-memory technology and visualizations, ideal for quickly gathering and analyzing data from disparate sources to drive improvements for citizens. The MPH website is a public tool aimed at enhancing transparency and increasing site usability.  Indiana residents can view Governor Pence’s six roadmap goals and their progress, review the state’s overall financial health, and examine each executive branch agencies’ progress on individual key performance indicators (KPIs).

2. Best run governments listen to their citizens

The City of Buenos Aires processes citizen complaints about problems in the city, such as clogged storm drains, uncollected trash, or a fallen tree. The service ticket created is often sent to a contractor to do the work, which is then validated by a city inspector. Using a mobile application, the city inspector confirms that the work is done, and the citizen is notified that his or her request is complete.

3. Best run governments are enablers

Youth unemployment is particularly high in the Middle-East and North Africa (MENA), a serious problem considering that more than half of the 369 million inhabitants of this region are under the age of 25, according to the International Labor Organization. A MENA government established a labor market program to combat youth unemployment and make it easier for entrepreneurs to launch successful new businesses. This program, currently being implemented, will provide a learning environment in a public-private partnership to upscale job seekers competencies, targeting 2.8 million learners.  The government will provide a comprehensive and flexible entry point for 9 million job seekers through web-based and mobile solutions.  The program’s job matching component will match job seekers with identified skillsets with available jobs in the market.The program also will deliver a benefits solution to pay 4 million beneficiaries from different social protection programs.

Governments do not have to solve all problems themselves. But citizens rightfully expect from their government that issues are perceived and a solution is provided. Societal solutions – public-private partnerships, crowdsourcing, citizens as experts –  can be even more successful if government manages them well: in a data-driven, transparent and outcome-oriented way.

The author would like to thank Marlyn Zelkowitz, Industry Cloud Public Services, for her valuable insight and contribution to this blog.

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