Rearchitecting Government

A new operating system for the 21st century Government

Unprecedented digitization and social media combined are challenging government institutions to shed archaic organizational structures and reorient themselves around the changing needs of citizens. As citizens increasingly experience speedy and innovative digital services from the private sector, their expectations of what governments should deliver rise as well.        

Moreover, the abrupt and brutal disruption by the COVID-19 pandemic has catapulted public servants onto the frontlines in the response to the crisis without any clear roadmap, forcing them to deal with a quickly and ever-changing situation and improvising along the way. This shift does not just affect the way governments have traditionally been structured, it also affects the way that those who work in government institutions are recruited, guided and incentivized to innovate. To catalyze their transformation into ‘Govpreneurs’ – public service providers who, driven by a strong sense of empathy and duty towards service seekers, increasingly think and act like an entrepreneur— acquiring tacit knowledge about how to get things done in the public sector, building new relationships, leveraging resources, working across sector lines, replacing the profit motive with the pursuit of enhancing public value, and acting, and sometimes failing, fast.

a2i has introduced an empathy-triggered culture of public service innovation that is built on the 3 pillars of PURPOSE, AUTONOMY, and COMPETENCE.

Focusing on changing the mindset of the civil servants, a sense of PURPOSE was established through ‘reducing TCV’ – reducing the time (T), cost (C) and the number of visits (V) it takes for citizens to access government services. “Reducing TCV” went viral within the civil service in Bangladesh and became the byword for innovation. Starting from the country’s Premier to the most senior civil servants have now embraced this notion and publicly echoed that “failure is ok”. This makes the spirit of the bureaucratic rules more important than their wording, the end more important than the means. It gives govpreneurs a sense of AUTONOMY and the ‘Service Innovation Fund’ provides them with the means to experiment and bring their ideas to life.

COMPETENCE, the third pillar, captures the intrinsic motivation that govpreneurs need to improve for accurately understanding the challenges that citizens face, and identifying the critical pain points. ‘Empathy Training’ and ‘Service Process Simplification’ gives thousands of govpreneurs the tools and that sense of competence to walk the last mile of service access in their shoes; to experience challenges from their perspective and identify solutions that make sense for them.