How Should A Government Be?
For a century, the most divisive question in political thought has been about the size of the state. Should it expand and take an active role in all sorts of areas of life? Or is that just meddlesome and wasteful? Those questions might have made sense in the previous century. Now, with revolutions in technology and organisational structure, and a world transformed by Covid-19, a revolution is also coming in the essential business of government – whether we like it or not.
Join organisations expert Jaideep Prabhu on a tour of what’s possible in government. Discover amazing initiatives in unexpected places, from India’s programme to give a digital identity to a billion citizens, to a Dutch programme that lets nurses operate almost entirely without management. Or perhaps China’s ominous Social Credit system is a more accurate vision what the future has in store for us. Whether you are on the political left or right, it matters whether your government does what it does fairly and well. And the game is changing…
A fantastic, incisive, and timely roadmap for the reinvention of government. We spend around a third of GDP on public services. While others look back to how governments might learn from business and organisational lessons of the past, Prabhu looks forward. He draws out how governments and public servants can learn from, and even leap ahead of, how businesses and organisations are evolving. If you ever wondered what government and society would look like if guided by a top business school or entrepreneur, How Should a Government Be? gives the answer. It's a gem - a must read for aspiring Prime Ministers and public sector leaders. -- David Halpern, author * Inside the Nudge Unit * A fascinating book. Professor Prabhu goes to the heart of some of the most difficult issues facing modern governments. In an entertaining style he describes the challenges posed by transformational technology and the new ways of doing business which are emerging. The implications for our traditional institutions may be profound. Required reading for anyone concerned by the way that public life is changing -- Sir Richard Wilson, former Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service In a world where everything about government can seem political, one thing still unites us: the desire for competence in our governments. Prabhu's inspiring and insightful book shows how public servants - the most apolitical part of government - can powerfully harness new tools such as digital technologies and new ways of organising to accelerate positive change across national, regional, and local government. It also makes the important case for more talented young people to seize public service as a way to make change happen at scale. This focus on apolitical competence can also help solve our political division. A government that competently delivers for the people it serves earns their trust, and trust in government - the second most urgent vaccine in the world - is a vaccine against populism and polarization. -- Robyn Scott, co-founder and CEO, Apolitical In this interesting and important book, Jaideep Prabhu not only examines the new levers of state power that public servants can use to improve government work, but also the role of citizens in bringing about such change. His ideas on how citizens can engage in public life, not only from the outside, but also from within governments, are timely and imperative -- Roberto Stefan Foa, co-author * The End of the Democratic Age * Everybody has heard about businesses being digitally disrupted, but what about governments? In this urgently needed book, Professor Jaideep Prabhu explains how governments can get smarter, rather than smaller (or bigger), and deliver for their citizens the improvements in services, nimbler regulations and better economic policies made possible by digital technology. -- Diane Coyle * author of GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History * Governments around the world today face immense pressures to do more for their people and do so faster, better and cheaper. This book takes a fresh look at the challenge from the perspective of two important levers of state power now available to public servants everywhere: new technologies and new ways of organising. Drawing on recent cases from around the world of what works and what doesn't, Prabhu offers us a compelling case for how to reinvent the state in the twenty-first century. This is an entertaining and vital book for those who work for or care about their governments. -- Lisa Witter, founder, Apolitical We are at a profound moment in history, and what governments can, and must, contribute to creating our future as a species has never been more important. Jaideep Prabhu manages to look at this question in a different and inspiring way, posing some great challenges to how we think about government and opening up new possibilities ... In its way this is as dissecting a read on the realities of government in the 21st century as The Prince was in the 16th. -- Andrew Corbett-Nolan, chief executive of the Good Governance Institute Praise for Frugal Innovation: 'Fascinating * FT * Accessible and engaging * Irish Times * The practical roadmap and numerous cases in this book find the beat of the new customer-led world order - where velocity, synergy, empathy and involvement come standard. The future will be about doing more with less, and here we see how. -- Kevin Roberts * CEO Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi *
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