Three principles to make small changes count
Vodafone examines the way small adjustments can transform the public sector
Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes small, practical changes can create the most lasting outcomes. The start-up industry is a perfect testament to this, with some of the most prominent start-ups owing their success to small-scale, calculated adjustments to their business models in the very early stages of their development. But what if this same logic were applied to the public sector? By following these three principles to making small changes count, public sector organisations could put themselves on a fast-track to becoming more agile, and ultimately find new ways to make improvements to services.
Small changes to delivery methods go a long way
The vast and intricate nature of the UK public sector means that sweeping, wholesale change is a huge challenge.
A more practical approach can be adopted. If there’s one thing that this decade’s wave of start-ups has demonstrated, it’s that small changes can have massive ripple effects. Applying this to the public sector means adopting agile service delivery methods, like making a series of small changes to processes and technologies and removing complexity piece by piece. This allows for quicker decision making, meaning services can be adapted both before and after launch. This in turn can greatly reduce the risk and timescales attached to projects.
For example, giving mobile devices to community and frontline employees, such as police, social and healthcare workers, means they can securely access information and update records from wherever they are. By making this relatively simple change from paper to digital process, critical staff can improve interactions with citizens, reduce travel times back to ‘base’ to complete and pick up paperwork and avoid duplication of administrative tasks. Whether it’s officers taking witness statements while on the beat or giving community nurses access to records and information in patients’ own homes, this small change to how services are delivered can make a big difference to citizens and to those who work on the frontline.
Small changes should be made one step at a time
Many legacy applications and services are reaching the end of their lives, but often appear too expensive to completely rebuild. The process of replacing them also can seem daunting and complex. However, much can be accomplished through small step-changes.
For example, some city councils have used YouTube not only to engage with their residents, but also to share information about how to access their services. Short videos get the messages across in a very human and direct way, and help cut calls to a council’s contact centre. The reduction in calls about forms has enabled agents to spend more time dealing with complex and urgent cases with greater efficiency.
Vodafone is helping public and private sector organisations across the UK understand how they can refresh their existing assets with new digital capabilities, taking that first small step at affordable price points and with exceptional return on investment, without compromising usability or security.
Small changes to technology can have a big impact
The potential for technology to benefit citizens and streamline government is unlimited. And the technology is already here – not just the networks that help people collaborate more effectively but new AI-based automation tools, deep analytics, virtual and augmented reality and much more. Together, they’re helping the public sector re-imagine everything from public services and infrastructure to government itself.
And these emerging technologies don’t come with a big price tag. The most significant changes could start with a simple mobile app. The advent of network-driven data collection and analytics is unleashing a new world of possibility for UK cities and national infrastructure. Spatial interaction data, for example, is opening up new territory for urban and transport planners, highways agencies, utilities companies and a host of other organisations.
Vodafone is helping the country access and analyse this data through intelligent operating systems that take feedback via mobile-ready applications and generate data that can be used to refine services. Our solutions range from using anonymised data to plan a more efficient transportation network, to using connectivity to monitor the welfare of the nation’s livestock by using tail-mounted IoT sensors.
Public sector organisations, regardless of where they are in the UK, have many needs and challenges in common, and many of these can be supported by using technology in a way that can be quickly replicated across geographic and administrative boundaries. By joining everyone and everything up, smart connectivity and communications services are yielding enormous savings for a whole range of organisations across all sorts of industries.
But even these changes start small. Public sector organisations can replicate the success of other sectors and position themselves to become more agile service providers by taking small steps that truly count.