We all know last year was unique for a multitude of reasons. Over the holiday season I reflected on what changed for Accenture’s public service clients. In considering the challenges you faced – and how much you accomplished – in 2020, two themes emerged:

    1. I am impressed and want to thank you for your service.
    2. Let’s keep it up.

While 2020 was one of the most complex and challenging years of my career, it was also the most rewarding because of the measurable impact that you – our government clients – achieved. If it felt that way for me, I can only imagine the weight that each of you carried. For that, I thank you.

The gratitude stems not just from what Accenture’s government clients did, but also how you collaborated with us during the COVID-19 crisis. The urgency and complexity of pandemic challenges sparked fresh and new ways of working together. We engaged with each other human to human. We tackled big, thorny problems at incredible speed. We saw some persistent bureaucratic barriers give way to meaningful conversations and to faster, more agile solutions that yielded better outcomes for citizens and residents.

There was just no time for traditional multi-year processes in which solutions and technologies can feel obsolete before they even launch. In their place, 2020 forced us to talk through challenges, co-create solutions and deliver them FAST.

We’ve seen the power of starting quickly, assessing progress and then adjusting as needed. We’ve realized that we don’t need an answer to every possible question at the start of a project – and that there’s nothing wrong with modifying a plan based on changing challenges, opportunities or technologies.

Having expressed my sincere gratitude, I have an equally sincere request: Let’s keep it up.

While the pandemic is far from over, I hope we maintain our newfound speed and agility, along with our intense focus on delivering outcomes. “This is how it has to be done” has given way to “Look what we did!”

Why turn back now?

At the end of 2020, Accenture shared new research on the shift from customer experience (CX), which focuses on optimizing customer touchpoints around a product or service, toward business of experience (BX), which focuses on solving for human needs around a purpose. COVID-19 put governments at the very forefront of that shift and gave us all a chance to prove how much we can achieve when we work together with purpose, for people.

As we move into the New Year, let’s resolve to continue our faster, nimbler, more “human” collaboration. I can’t wait to see what we do next.

Ryan Oakes

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Global Public Service

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