Quote of the week
“A new economy has emerged at the borderlands where traditional sectors overlap.”
Just had a fascinating discussion with Paul Macmillan about the new book that he and Bill Eggers have written called The Solution Revolution. The subtitle says it all: How business, government and social enterprises are teaming up to solve society’s toughest problems.
The issues they raise about the role of government, and its value-added as a solver of major social problems, should give public servants pause.
Bottom line: they argue there is little empirical evidence that the way in which government has been managing big ticket items like social programs is working in terms of meeting broad outcomes. They say that new technologies and citizen expectations are setting the stage for innovative ways of working with other sectors to reduce costs and make things better.
They write that, “The defining feature of Western-style government – its success in catering to a wide variety of citizens needs – has become its greatest liability.” It’s simply stretched too thin, is running out of money, and has large bureaucracies that are inefficient and often working at cross-purposes.
Macmillan describes the social revolution as a global phenomenon in which non-governmental players come together to help solve the social problems that have typically been the purview of the public sector.
He goes on to argue that this trend offers public servants the ability and opportunity to leverage both the interests and abilities of the non-governmental sector to make things happen.
And lest you think it is just an academic treatise, Macmillan and Eggers give concrete examples of how government can grow, and benefit from, this new phenomenon. They include (for example) changing how government does procurement and shifting power “via co-production and co-creation.”
My full interview with Paul Macmillan will be in the October issue CGE magazine.