I'll start by not re-stating what you already know about the effect of digital on the world and the need for transformation. That need has been well established and covered comprehensively elsewhere.
I'm also not going to talk about those urgent IT issues that undoubtedly exist at your council. If expensive legacy systems, outdated systems that are no longer supported, siloed systems, dis-aggregated data and an unstoppable stream of new apps coming on board from service areas all sound familiar, then you have my sympathy but I won't try and solve those issues for you here.
Of course, solving those issues is important. But unless you start by looking at the people in your organisation, you'll only solve half the problem. Where are 'people' and 'culture' when you’re looking to build your business strategy? Do they come before technology? I'd be surprised (but delighted) if they do. Transform your IT estate to help solve some of the legacy issues, absolutely, but what about changing the way your council works? What if you started with your people?
What if that conversation between the leader of the council and the chief executive hears the leader say 'we should be more like Amazon or Google'? What if that followed through? What if they embraced innovation rather than writing 'we will be innovative' in a strategy document and hoping it will happen?
Think about the type of organisation you might want to be. What role does digital play in helping you achieve your transformation objectives? How will it help you deal with change, your relationship with risk or talent acquisition and the skills that your workforce are going to need? Call it culture, call it ambition, call it genuinely new ways of working.
So, what am I getting at?
Get your people and culture right and you start to unlock real innovation. Allow digital to be the enabler to deliver a creative, diverse, data-driven, user-centred workforce. Combine that with an empowering, rewarding, risk-embracing, iterative, change-loving culture and you can move from an organisation that tackles a series of individual challenges, working in silo, to one where organisationally aligned, continuous improvement is the norm.
An over-simplification, no doubt, but just imagine what could be possible if your case for digital transformation started with your people.
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