In assessing the impacts of the nine megatrends on the future state of government, we present possible responses using the core tools available – policy, regulation and programs – as well as the strategies, structures and skills that future governments will need to have in place.
What governments need to change?
Policy, including the expansion of:
- national governments' engagement in international, regional and jurisdictional forums to address interconnected issues
- the quantity and quality of evidence-based policy which uses high-quality data assisted by strong data analytics.
Regulation, including shifts that seek to:
- encourage behavioral change among citizens to mitigate and manage downstream megatrend impacts (where policy and program changes have been ineffective)
- enforce market practices to align with government policy priorities and choices, including controls over the extent and form of any foreign investment.
Programs, including shifts that seek to:
- minimize costs to governments by reducing unit costs/prices, reducing unit demand and/or capping total demand for government services
- take a more holistic long-term view of infrastructure systems, encompassing both hard and soft infrastructure.
How governments need to change?
Strategy changes include greater focus on, and use of:
- long-term planning and scenario exercises including long-term economic forecasts and critical infrastructure renewal assessments
- behavioral insights to encourage people to act in ways that will reduce pressures on social support systems
- outcomes and metrics to help ensure that funds are allocated to cost-effective programs
- flexibility and "paradigm" thinking as part of policy and planning capacity to address unexpected challenges and opportunities
- technology adoption that is flexible, affordable and timely.
Structural changes include shifts towards becoming more:
- internationally integrated through active engagement with international partners, or increased cooperation with international institutions
- highly integrated through more connected-up policy arrangements within and across relevant policy domains
- locally empowered with greater funds and authority given to cities to meet their responsibilities
- networked through meaningful collaboration with citizens, other levels of government, neighboring countries, the private and non-profit sectors to sustain key areas of government service delivery
- flexible and adaptive in planning to facilitate greater risk taking and more timely responses to unanticipated situations.
Skills needed include greater capabilities and capacity in:
- international awareness, including knowledge of global trends and their impacts, to factor into decision-making processes
- financial sophistication with a deep knowledge of highly integrated international capital markets
- systems thinking to understand the potential benefits and risks of technology developments and undertake effective technology road-mapping
- effective stakeholder engagement, including the use of new communication channels such as social media
- risk assessment and change management to address complex risk issues.