In brief

In brief

  • Accenture and NASCA surveyed Chief Administrative Officers to understand how they innovated during the pandemic and will continue forging change.
  • In the face of prolonged shutdowns, states were forced to accelerate digital transformation initiatives.
  • More than half of CAOs believe the pandemic has had a positive impact on the public’s trust in state government services.
  • CAOs were highly involved in innovation—including stepping up when asked to help in new areas outside their typical domain.


The global health pandemic prompted radical changes in how state governments operate and deliver services. In the face of prolonged shutdowns, states were forced to accelerate digital transformation initiatives. Along the way, they proved what is possible at speed and scale—and the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) has been at the core of this fast-paced innovation. In fact, during the pandemic, many CAOs were called upon to be innovative in an area outside their traditional domain.

From health crisis to enduring change

90%

CAOs who agree that state government strategy and operations will look very different going forward.

53%

CAOs who believe the pandemic has had a positive impact on the public’s trust in state government services.

7X

CAOs participated in nearly 7x as many pilot projects in 2020 as they did in 2019.

90%

90% of CAOs agree: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, state government strategy and operations will look very different going forward.

72%

CAOs who were called upon to be innovative in an area outside their typical domain when the pandemic struck during the pandemic.

About the Authors

Kelly Rogers

Senior Manager – Public Service, North America


Bill Kilmartin

Former Comptroller – Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Jenny Brodie

Senior Manager – Health & Public Service, Research


Pam Goins

Executive Director – National Association of State Chief Administrators


Jamie Rodgers

Consultant – Public Service, North America

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