Technology Isn’t Resilient, People Are
The pandemic showed that real resilience and agility lies not in technology but in people. No one could have planned for the disruption COVID-19 introduced, yet government workers took the necessary steps to overcome that disturbance.
They were open to doing whatever was necessary to solve the problems in front of them, and that openness enabled them to respond quickly.
Flexibility and adaptability will prove critical moving forward. As more states begin to reopen, things will change yet again, and will continue to change as we emerge into a post-pandemic world.
Responding to the challenges ahead will require a unified effort by leadership and IT to deliver services that meet the moment. Technology will support their efforts, but those efforts will be driven by humans.
There Is No Blunt End or Sharp End, Just a Means to an End
Healthcare providers often refer to something called the “blunt end/sharp end” model. It refers to decisions made by leadership at the upper levels of an organization (the blunt end) and how they impact physicians and nurses at the point of care (the sharp end).
It implies a disconnect between the two groups; for example, board members aren’t necessarily thinking about how their decisions will impact a patient in the operating room.
The model can also be applied to state and local IT, where state and county leaders could be considered the blunt end and developers, engineers and IT managers the sharp end, but successful transformation requires agencies to think differently. Digital disruption impacts everyone. Therefore, everyone must be involved in the innovation process.
Communication is key. Development teams must be able to communicate with product managers, architects and operations managers. Likewise, leadership needs to stay connected to developers and others who are ultimately responsible for delivering services. Everyone needs to work together toward the common transformational goal.
Government Can Be Disrupted, Especially at the State and Local Levels
Digital disruption is often associated with the commercial sector — Uber or Airbnb upending the way people travel, for example. However, the pandemic proved that the public sector is just as susceptible to disruption, especially at the state and local levels.