Civica’s Chief Innovation Officer, Liz O’Driscoll, shares seven key trends to inspire more innovative public services today and in the future
As we entered 2021, we eagerly awaited the time when the pandemic would end and we could resume “normal” life. Instead, we endured another 12 months of restrictions, freedoms and various threats. Yet our thirst for innovation remains stronger than ever.
Digital and mobile now dominate many aspects of our lives; what were once just “cool apps” are becoming a core part of our commitment. Retail restrictions have accelerated the adoption of technologies such as augmented reality to “try before you buy”, while the rise of chatbots has continued, now become essential members of our team and further improve front-line services.
Closer to home, our way of life and work has evolved into a mixed model that looks set to continue. For many of us, it is an opportunity to rethink and change. In 2022 and beyond, we will likely refine our expectations and assumptions about this new way of life – and these are the trends that we believe will shape it.
1. Personalization as a service
Citizens now expect the same level of personalization in public services that they currently get with digital services like Amazon and Netflix. This growing trend of personalization will provide opportunities to improve the citizen experience and even provide enhanced support services. This is a view shared by public sector leaders: in a recent Civica survey, 88% said personalized services could benefit their industry.
2. AI + Human Collective Intelligence =?
It’s a trend we highlighted last year, and it is the one that accelerated further. The reality is that with the growing demand for public services, there simply aren’t enough people to meet the demand. One possible solution is to embrace the collective intelligence of humans and machines. It’s not about bots replacing our jobs, it’s about ‘augmentation’: using the processing power of intelligent algorithms to make services more resilient and put valuable information into our hands.
3. Embrace hybrid living
The mixed home and office environment has become part of our daily lives, and we believe it’s here to stay. The next iteration of virtual interactions is already coming with tech companies like Meta and Microsoft invests heavily in the metaverse. This year will see demand for inclusive physical/digital hybrid offerings that ensure high-quality services for everyone, regardless of how they choose to deliver or access them.
4. A smarter one society
There are now more smart devices in the world (12.3 billion) than people. The spaces around us are increasingly driven by sensors, generating data on everything from energy consumption to air quality. Demand will grow for portable home, urban and personal devices to communicate with each other and create a complete “Internet of Us”. We anticipate continued interest in connecting more devices and building a smarter society.
5. Trust as a new currency
We are now at a tipping point in confidence. Having strong data standards in place will help ensure both transparency and trust to answer the larger question of how our data is used, by whom and for what value. With utilities coming under increased scrutiny, we will see new technologies such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrencies and blockchain being explored to manage funds and bring transactions into view. public.
6. Supercharged digital democracy
People invest more time in their local communities and therefore take more interest in local decisions. The growing demand to include the voice of citizens will be an important trend when designing and delivering future public services. But a significant challenge for public services will be to make all voices heard, not just the loudest ones.
7. Growing social awareness
The social impact has become mainstream. The demand for utilities to demonstrate practical action on some of the biggest environmental and social issues will impact their desirability as an employer as well as public support and engagement. Data and AI will play a key role in supporting transparency, evidence-based decision-making around social impact, as well as helping to track and share its progress. We will also see more innovation around social impact investing, the development of local economic systems and carbon credit trading.
In 2022, our NorthStar Laboratory and Perspectives* will explore how data, AI and new devices can help utility organizations respond. And we started with share a new report how we can collectively inspire more innovative public services. Now is the time for us to use more technology and support the evolution of our society for the greater good.
Public Sector Technology Trends 2022 is to read here
Catch the previous episode of Perspectives* LIVE which explored how we decipher the machine learning matrix for utilities. To see click here