28 Jun 2021

UKCloud: Public Sector Service Innovation – Future or fantasy?

Innovation. Just the word itself is daunting for some and considered a huge opportunity to others. it’s a term that is used by many - whether as individuals or as part of an initiative in a wider organisation. But what does it mean? And what are the impacts to those who can be considered innovators in their field and ultimately the services they deliver?

The first thing to consider is that Innovation is a word used to describe something new that enables the delivery of greater performance, efficiencies, cost savings but ultimately experiences. So, let’s keep this focused at an organisational level and look at the benefits of being considered an innovator. Perceptions can be powerful and can have far reaching benefits to both the delivery of products and services, as well as being seen as being new, current or on the pulse.

In today’s world, we find you are no longer constrained by the physical environment. Over the years, digital adoption has been widely accepted by individuals with each generation learning new ways to use technology enablers. As with any new technology adoption, challenges arise, and today those are likely to be stability, resilience, sovereignty, security, and compliance.

As a recent example, existing technologies have become the digital enablement tools of our communities, be it messaging through WhatsApp groups rallying together to support the vulnerable. or video calling to maintain those human connections we need for our mental wellbeing. But these are also innovations - using existing technology to meet current challenges and deliver outcomes to address loneliness, and the challenges society has with an ageing population. However, as seen in our recent state of Digital and Data Survey, 55% believe public sector data should be protected to a higher standard than commercial data. However, a worrying 43% aren’t confident that their organisation’s data is stored appropriately for its security classification. With 53% of respondents showing concern about over-reliance on Big Tech, education is clearly necessary on why. As a national asset, it’s vital that public sector data is kept safe and sovereign where it can be protected under the UK’s The Data Protection Act.

No matter the context or associated challenge, digital innovation is that bridge between the digital and physical world. Documents, bank accounts, music, photos and beyond - it’s about how these enablers can be used to drive innovative outcomes.

These innovations are enabling the public sector to achieve greater outcomes, delivering more intelligent care solutions. For example, by using smart home assistants in triage of care services, systems are taking a physical input and using digital innovation to drive a level of actionable intelligence and change the physical outcomes. Driving public services based on digital insight and intelligence will be key as we move forward into the digital world, from IoT sensors for smarter bin collections to smart parking or smart communities.

Moving forward, the key to successful innovation will be the correlation of different data sets. As proven in the recent report, 63% confirmed that their organisation still stores data in various legacy formats (such as paper-based archives), which makes it difficult to extract value and create forms of actionable intelligence, and this is one of the core points of focus for UKCloud. This will be done via the cultivation of market leading partnerships from those collecting data through sensors and platforms, to those distilling value from it using technology enablers such as AI and ML. By doing so, we will enable future innovation and enable the public sector to deliver the digital outcomes citizens desire, but it will ultimately require organisations to build solid and secure digital foundations.

As the public sector makes these steps and looks to innovate its citizen services, one of the biggest innovation challenges it will face is the behavioral and cultural change required. With 67% of public sector organisations currently allocating no more than a few days each month for employees to innovate and research ways to unlock more value from data, this suggests there just isn’t enough time for them to discover new ways of working. The UK Public Sector will need to stop looking internally at innovating their technologies’, and switch focus to look at the outcomes they deliver for the public. By changing the mindset to focus on outcomes and address the challenges faced by UK citizens, organisations can truly use innovation to deliver improvements to the services they offer. The Key will be to start small but start now. With expert guidance, we can ensure that future UK Public Sector services are enabled by the innovation, and targeted at the outcomes citizens are looking for.



This insight was originally written by James Maynard, Solutions Director at UKCloud. James is a Technology/Innovation specialist, with 16 years of experience in IoT, Innovation, Wearables, Telecoms, Marketing and Commercial roles. With entrepreneurial spirit and strong experience in all areas of go to market strategy. Learn more about this author here.

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