There is an Engagement Gap in Government
Government leaders who want to implement change and improve public service should consider technology as a tool for ‘engaging’ their constituencies. Citizen centricity is not a new concept for eGovernment initiatives, but the application of technology to improve engagement for the entire ecosystem is new. An individual ‘engages’ with government the moment they require an agencies services, attempt to transact business with an agency or simply seek to understand its mission. That individual may be a citizen, they may also be an employee, a businessman or business entity, a non-profit, a serviceman, a contractor, etc. Engagement manifests itself with a phone call, browsing a web site or mobile device, visiting a physical office or personal contact with a government professional at work or home. When the experience of engagement is meaningful and effective, an agency will more successfully deliver on its mission.
In private industry, effective customer engagement is paramount to success, with companies like Amazon, Google and Apple thriving because they effectively use technology to enrich the point of engagement with their customers. In government however, technology is used more as a tool for automating process or providing transparency to operations. The consequence is that the individual who must engage with the agency is forgotten and becomes disengaged from the process. Adobe calls this circumstance an engagement gap.
For a very simple example, go to any government agency Website (I don’t want to pick on a specific one, but try a regional social services agency) and you will probably find a picture of the agency’s leader, a list of recent news and an organizational chart. Now imagine if you went to apple.com and the first thing you found was a picture of the CEO, Steve Jobs, a list of recent Apple press releases, and links to the different business units inside Apple. You probably wouldn’t buy an iPod. For Apple the consequence of poor engagement would be lost sales. For the social services agency, its a lost opportunity to help someone in need.
The concept of engagement can seem abstract at first and we will spend some time on this blog substantiating it.
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