In making government more efficient, all too often time is overlooked as a critical variable in the equation. According to a recent report, federal leaders can transform government, cut costs and increase mission effectiveness by focusing on this underemphasized factor.
The report, Fast Government: Accelerating Service Quality While Reducing Cost and Time, looks at how people, processes and technology affect and are affected by an emphasis on time.
Public sector leaders can employ a number of strategies to make government work faster, by redesigning processes, adopting new technologies or supporting innovation and risk taking.
Implementing a fast-government strategy requires making sure federal employees have the skills and capabilities to succeed and that they understand how their work contributes to the larger agency mission. People must be motivated to work faster and more efficiently.
Fast government requires public sector leaders to make time a key performance metric in their respective agencies. It involves being innovative and using technology to mechanize basic tasks, cutting bureaucratic steps in government service delivery, developing ways to execute a requirements quicker and empowering citizens to solve their own problems rather than relying on government.
Predictive analytics can also be used to reduce or eliminate entire processes. Analytics can predict and prevent problems that would otherwise result in additional mission time and costs.
Another key component of fast government is technology-driven innovation and growth. The report suggests government should focus on infostructure instead of infrastructure. This means working to support private sector investments in ultramodern technology initiatives through forward-thinking, growth-oriented public policy, legislation, regulations and standards.
Reducing fragmentation in government will also be essential. Congress has numerous committees and subcommittees dealing directly or indirectly with technology or its acquisition. Establishing a technology committee or subcommittee specifically geared toward maximizing transformative use of technology, including drawing in private industry, is essential, according to the report.
As with all federal initiatives, accountability is imperative. Government must have an institutionalized mechanism for attaining speed and agility in agency missions without sacrificing federal integrity or performance in so doing.