Digital Transformation of government Sector


Five Ways an Anticipatory Government Produces Positive Outcomes

Kuruvilla ‘Mat’ Mathew

In many towns and municipalities, governments rely on citizens to manually report problems or provide suggestions for civic improvements.

Kuruvilla ‘Mat’ Mathew

Mathew is Chief Innovation Architect at UST

Reactive governance is slow-moving to citizens’ needs because they either did not receive the data or received it too late to improve their residents’ overall satisfaction.

This creates inefficiency and unnecessary friction, where people feel burdened by a responsibility to fix what should be addressed by the government.

But there is a burgeoning movement in government to embrace predictive analytics, which features modeling, data analysis, and machine learning to better project occurrences. Predictive analytics has powered many industries, and the promise of their use in public affairs is an exciting development.

This is a welcome development for governments that find low citizen satisfaction.

While predictive analytics lessens the burden of citizens, it won’t minimize the value of their contributions. In fact, it will encourage citizens to find hard-to-assess challenges and opportunities because the basic stuff is easily addressed.

Historically, the facile explanation for governments addressing citizen concerns and issues stemmed from a particularly dedicated individual constantly contacting their representatives.

The best part about participatory government is it is non-political. As the Institute for the Future (IFF) described it in its Sustainability Outlook Scenario Perspectives 2009-2020 report: “As a movement, anticipatory governance is neither politically left nor right, but is rather fundamentally pragmatic.”

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Here’s how governments can anticipate the needs of their stakeholders using predictive analytics:

Identify health issues

Nowhere is predictive analytics more powerful than the ability to spot health issues. While many health issues are localized to an individual, there are plenty of examples of environmental, societal, or organizational impacts that can negatively affect health. Applying the Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), we can understand with additional vectors the conditions to effectively understand the condition and better understand treatment options for that individual. Predictive analytics can spot drug or wellness issues well before humans in nonprofit or governmental agencies identify patterns. It can also spot more last-mile concerns like time spent in hospitals showing a low quality of care.

Traffic-level sensors

One accident at a busy intersection is unfortunate. Dozens of similar accidents is a preventable pattern. Providing legislators with ample data about the incidents occurring in specific locations and under similar situations enables them to separate random occurrences from systematic problems. Knowing where traffic lights are needed (and where they are not), whether roundabouts would speed up traffic, and suggesting detours during high-traffic time periods are all ways to keep citizens safe and happy. Using Swarm Intelligence, particularly Particle Swarm Optimization, one can see the effects of optimizing traffic flows during rush hour, schools, public safety incidents, and events that will need intelligence based on a number of a dynamic set of variables.

Change with your constituents

Infrequent surveys and census reports are incapable of providing the same detail as an app or a website where citizens can identify their interests. Imagine what connection you can make with your constituents when they feel heard and you’ve invested in solutions that make it easier to convey their hopes and dreams for your community.

Curb wasteful spending

Budget bloat is a major concern for every government body. But being mindful of spending is not just a case for cutting services that people use or need. Knowing what services your constituents use drives smarter use of resources, where you cut programs with a limited appeal or low usage and reinvest those saved dollars into programs that matter. Applying predictive techniques leveraging stochastic models, we will determine the optimal workforce and maintenance of facilities and services. This will, in turn, lead to creating enabling digital transparency across cities, counties, and states.

Pursuing Resiliency

Becoming an anticipatory government means your work is never finished. Once you invite the community to participate more acutely in the process. That means both you, the government, and your constituents, the community, will continue to reassess the contract between you two. Done correctly, the municipality turns into something akin to an ecosystem where each party works closely together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes. It can cascade to strengthen relationships with the police, encourage investment in small businesses in the community, and other unplanned effects.

Anticipatory Government is a worthwhile goal for any civic leaders looking for a healthier and more productive relationship with their communities. It also ensures a more successful municipality, town, or city, encouraging greater investment from outside parties.

If you are interested in learning how to build an Anticipatory Government, contact UST.