The challenge ahead also requires that leaders do better at leveraging the resources around them: employees, stakeholders, industry partners, vendors, and other agencies. To innovate, organizations need to expand the diversity of thought and experience they expose themselves to — that’s the only way to expand one’s vision of what’s possible.
Leaders don’t wait for a new normal, they build it
As the saying goes: The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Prioritizing technology is essential to ensuring the enterprise doesn’t fall behind. However, true leadership will emerge from the embrace of radically different mindsets and models.
The world has been beset by sweeping change and demands leadership that thinks boldly in response. Thriving in this moment will require ambitious leaders not content to rehabilitate what was, but who are willing to upend convention and wield their vision for the future. Leaders have spent decades building systems — workforces, supply chains, technology infrastructures, operating and business models — that were suitable for an era when change happened slowly and expectedly. But today, success will come to those with the audacity to reimagine it all.
In the last year, enterprises were forced to confront deep-seated assumptions about how fast the organization can pivot, and where or how work gets done. Before the pandemic, if you asked Defense Department executives how long it would take to deploy a new office collaboration platform across the department, few if any would have said it would be possible in less than a year. But we found out that with the right level of priority and leadership, anything is possible.
This journey of reinvention has only just begun. The pandemic radically accelerated changes that agencies knew were coming but didn’t expect to see so soon. While it will be tempting for agencies to retreat to what they know, 2020 brought the need for a different path forward into clear focus. If federal agencies continue to have a clear-eyed perspective and sharp focus on their expedited digital transformations, reimagining everything from their people, to data, architectures, and ecosystems, they can emerge as leaders.
The federal technology trends shaping the future of government
In our Federal Technology Vision 2021 report, we see how many federal agencies are beginning to imagine and build their digital future. They understand the importance of architecting for the future and recognizing that business and technology strategies are increasingly indistinguishable. Architecture has never mattered more — and the options available have never been so vast. But getting this piece right is critical, as the technology choices that agencies make today will determine their possibilities and constraints far into the future.
As leaders thread technology through all aspects of the business, the valuable troves of data generated are being used to build massive networks of intelligent digital twins. This mirrored world that these next-generation twins create is fueling change by unlocking the value of data and allowing enterprises to simulate, predict, and automate by seamlessly bridging the divide between digital and physical.
Government enterprises must also ensure their people are empowered to become drivers of change — an outcome achievable through technology democratization, which is making powerful technology capabilities accessible without the need for specialized skills. Many agencies are already igniting grassroots innovation by equipping all employees with the tools and skills to build technology solutions at the point of need.