Innovation, Convergence and the Public Sector: Why Mature Technologies Matter
For years, digital transformation has been the go-to term for government modernization efforts. But it is now time that government entities – large and small – refocus on the concept of technological and industry convergence and its ability to unlock new opportunities for innovation. Governments have a vast, ever-growing storehouse of constituent data that can be leveraged with technologies that are maturing and converging at this critical moment.
Here are four key questions that government and government partners should consider to find real success in a commercial-driven digital landscape:
What is convergence exactly?
Convergence refers to the combining of previously separate technologies, processes, industries, and/or information to create new products, services, and experiences. In the past, digital technology has been a widely used target for convergence. However, in the future, it is expected that technology will serve as a catalyst to enhance cross-industry convergence that taps into relationships and partnerships across the value chain.
How does technological convergence relate to innovation?
Technological convergence happens when separate technologies mature to the point that they can be integrated with other technologies. Innovation gave birth to those separate technologies, but human ingenuity is what brought them to maturity – and what continues to mature them after they can be widely integrated. Governments do not need pure innovation, per se, but rather innovation that has matured and been proven to work – and that can be made incrementally better over time through ideation.
What does digital maturity look like in the public sector?
In the context of governance, there are two factors that – together – equate digital maturity. First, the technology must have proven its value to a larger ecosystem of technologies. Second, for the government to be able to use the technology, it needs to fit within the existing array of government regulations.
How can governments best make use of their technological investments today?
Digital transformation was once the most important investment, but now it’s convergence. Governments are being inundated with data from everywhere – constituent records, sensors within infrastructure, vehicles on roads. It’s no longer enough to have a place to store and secure such data. At the same time, governments need to be able to leverage the data with technologies and platforms that did not even exist five years ago in order to improve governance, decision-making, policy and constituent outcomes.