What happens when an e-commerce giant starts taking on complex healthcare challenges? Or a retailer introduces energy bundles for its customers? These are examples of convergence – the phenomenon of an entire industry or paradigm being disrupted, often from an unexpected source of competition.

With convergence, industry boundaries blur and value propositions, technologies and markets come together in profound new ways. For many in the private sector, convergence presents both compelling opportunities and existential threats. After all, up to 30% of global revenues could be redistributed across traditional industry borders in the next decade. Private sector leaders are paying close attention to identify potential upside and manage potential threats.

For the public sector, convergence is almost entirely a “good news” story. As commercial sectors navigate convergence, how can you leverage innovative strategies and sometimes unexpected partnerships to deliver even greater value?

Non-traditional collaborations made it possible to develop vaccines for COVID-19 in less than a year and to stand up mass vaccination sites in less than two weeks. This is a perfect moment to think strategically about extending cross-boundary coordination and cooperation, including embracing models like Government as a Platform. These approaches can be key to tackling some of the thorniest challenges out there: Addressing environmental sustainability. Wrangling rising healthcare costs. Advancing social justice and equity. Rebuilding infrastructure.

Rethinking public infrastructure – including fundamentally reimagining our cities – could be one of the richest opportunities. In talking with my colleague Brian May, who leads Accenture’s Industrial Equipment practice in North America, it’s clear there are opportunities for private equipment providers and the public sector to work together to find new ways of addressing infrastructure needs efficiently and sustainably. We’re also seeing freight and logistics companies teaming up with other industries – including the public sector – to sustainably address the “last mile” explosion.

As we work to update infrastructure, plodding along with traditional planning and procurement mechanisms is unlikely to drive real change. Instead, consider how we might unleash a better tomorrow by generating truly new ideas for transportation, energy use and the economics underpinning them. Let’s do far better than patching up aging infrastructure; let’s design and build entirely new physical, economic and governance structures.

Consider, too, how Government as a Platform can fuel a similar transformation of citizen expectations. Today citizens expect government services to be reliable, secure and resilient – but not necessarily easy. By tapping into cross-industry collaboration, government can prioritize how services are consumed – delivering better experiences and better outcomes for the people they serve.

Convergence-inspired partnerships can help government reimagine how – and, more to the point, with whom – you deliver services to the public. I invite you to start opening the aperture as you consider current and nascent public-private partnerships. Start approaching your thorniest problems not from the perspective of today’s structures but with a cross-industry view of what could be.

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Government experience in 2021: Agile and effective
Ryan Oakes reflects on governments’ amazing progress in 2020 and encourages them to maintain that momentum in 2021.
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Ryan Oakes

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, Global Public Service

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