Mr. Brett van der Bosch

The Covid-19 pandemic has made one thing very clear: When a real, unprecedented crisis hits, citizens do not turn to the private sector for guidance, they turn to government. In the past few months, we have seen governments that are capable of handling such a crisis with intelligence, clarity, and strong leadership. We've also seen governments handle it quite poorly. 

If one thing is certain, it is that governments will be the key to tackling our greatest challenges in the coming years and decades. With that in mind, there are two paths forward coming out of the Covid-19 crisis: Becoming a stronger and effective administration, or a more fractured and ineffective one.

Administrations and organizations who use this crisis to better engage with citizens, better train civil servants on new skills and mindsets, and those who are able to provide a clear sense leadership and direction to their departments, teams, and citizens, will be the ones that come out stronger. These forward-looking entities will be better suited to deal with crises in the future and deliver better results for citizens overall.

Administrations who continue to work in rigid siloes, ignore the needs and demands of their citizens, and insist on getting "back to normal" without asking if "normal" worked, will lurch from crisis to crisis, see high turnover, poor results, and ultimately struggle to achieve even the most basic goals. Sadly, many administrations will fall into the latter group - simply continuing to do things the ways they always have. The former group – the administrations that embrace change and challenge themselves – will see a new era of productivity, collaboration, and  positive results. These administrations will be the ones that are prepared to tackle issues like climate change, famine, corruption, urbanization, and much more. 

This means that successful administrations will have a clear and strong sense of purpose amongst the entire hierarchy. They will become adept in using tools of co-creation, citizen-centered design, the data-driven decision making. They embrace new mindsets and skills to become effective 21st century public servants. But most importantly, they will realize the time to act is now – that getting "back to normal" just isn't good enough and that citizens demand they get "back to better".

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