26 posts categorized "Public Sector"

February 10, 2012

Public sector, disrupted

Dollar bill arrowThe global public sector is under massive financial pressure. But that’s only one of its challenges. Citizens—the public sector’s customers—are also demanding better value for their taxes. And that includes dealing with government in new ways. With every sector of the modern economy and society changing in response to new technologies and social practices, citizens can’t help but wonder why so many government offerings remain shackled by the practices of yesterday.

These conditions indicate that the time is right to bring the principles and practices of disruptive innovation to the public sector. As a recently retired U.S. government senior executive, I am, of course, quite familiar with government’s ability to avoid change until it in fact becomes unavoidable. This persistent late adoption of new and more efficient technologies and processes costs government money, efficiencies, and, perhaps, most importantly, credibility. That’s why public sector executives everywhere need to become familiar with the concepts behind disruptive innovation and consider where in their organization they can plant the seeds of change.

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December 15, 2011

The Gender Dividend: An urgent economic imperative

women, diversity, leadershipThe biggest issue facing many of the world’s economies today is economic growth and job creation; yet it is with mixed results that governments and business are tapping into arguably the largest emerging market in the world and the greatest natural resource for knowledge, talent and investment: women. Statistics strongly demonstrate that there is in fact a gender dividend, but despite progress, there is a long way to go with respect to improving women’s economic opportunity and thereby harnessing the potential of the gender dividend.

What is needed is focused government policy and business engagement at all levels to support women at work. Sound socio-economic policies must underpin and encourage action, and governments, along with business, must innovate, support community investment, and remain committed to making the difference as it relates to women. Amongst business this means measurable, management-led policies and practices to drive female leadership across management roles and divisions, on boards, at the highest executive levels (the C-suite), and throughout the talent and supply chains. Many companies worldwide are making significant strides, but ongoing commitment is needed.

This is not just a question of the trillions of dollars of untapped consumer demand that women represent, but the potential for better, more informed decision-making in our societies, an educated and diverse source of talent for private and public institutions, and role models who can be an inspiration to billions of women and men worldwide. Government, business, and society must continue to integrate women’s experiences, perspectives and voices into the fabric of their organizations and systems. Only then will we truly benefit from the gender dividend.

For more on this issue, read the full article (PDF). Also read and download Deloitte Global Public Sector's report "The gender dividend: Making the business case for investing in women."


Charles HeeterCharles Heeter is with the DTTL Global Public Policy Group and a principal in the U.S. member firm. In his role, he engages in Deloitte global public policy initiatives, is responsible for building cooperative relationships with capital markets stakeholder groups, and helps coordinate the Deloitte global regulatory network. Heeter is also Chairman of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

November 30, 2011

Mobilizing healthcare resources – TUNAJALI “We Care” program

TUNAJALI The TUNAJALI "We Care" program is an initiative supported by the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, through USAID, to assist the Government of Tanzania. Deloitte Tanzania implements the TUNAJALI HIV/AIDS Care and Treatment Program in collaboration with Family Health International and Cardno Emerging Markets, and this was  one of several client case studies recently highlighted in the Deloitte 2011 Annual Review.

It has been scientifically proven that the virus that causes AIDS, HIV, continuously mutates. Full adherence to HIV treatment is key to suppressing the spread of HIV. Poor adherence to HIV treatment has the dangerous potential of generating drug-resistant HIV viral strains, which could subsequently be transmitted.

People living with HIV/AIDS (PLIV) on anti-retroviral therapies (ART) must take medication daily for the rest of their lives. The TUNAJALI program experience shows that these patients are highly motivated to take medication initially, but that that changes over time. After nearly three years of treatment, some supported Care and Treatment Clinics (CTC) started experiencing notable losses of patients on ART. Some of the high volume (over 5,000 patients) at CTC sites were reporting Lost-to-Follow-up (LTF) patients between 30- to 40 percent of their enrolled PLHIV. A patient is considered LTF after two to three attempts to contact them within a three-month time period have failed. This raised serious concerns about long-term patient adherence to medication. It was clear efforts had to be made to identify the “lost” patients and to take reasonable steps to prevent “losses” of patients in the future.

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November 17, 2011

The shock of the old

The Bush House Telegraph
News and views from the Deloitte Center for Strategic Leadership, Bush House, London

Forget innovation and originality, in the work of the consultant the old leadership lessons matter most.

Getting Unstuck imageA colleague recently complained to me that we don’t do anything new at Deloitte, just “re-visit old truths.”

“Would you prefer it if we re-visited old lies?” I replied—in an authoritative, yet avuncular way.

“Hmmm…” she murmured and returned, flat-footed, to her desk.

Had she been in the mood—and had I more time—I’d probably have treated her to a few “old truths” about consultants. But her loss, dear reader, is your gain.

The fact is we seldom trade in new things. Scientists offer discoveries and breakthroughs; consultants, generally, experience and insight.

In my field, leadership, a subject anatomized for thousands of years—think of the Tao Te Ching and The Republic—there’s little we can come up with that hasn’t been thought of before. Our job is not to re-invent the wheel but to add new value to those old truths—and help clients apply the lessons of leadership in ways that will benefit their organizations. We’re about practical solutions for old problems—transformations, possibly; revolutions, no.

Why do old problems keep recurring? Why can’t leadership lessons just be learned once?

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October 18, 2011

Deep diving for innovation

Bzi_col_glb_ve_1036_low[1]You work for the government and you have to build from scratch a dashboard that measures innovation in your agency. Never mind that your government probably hasn’t even developed a comprehensive system of innovation. Oh, did we mention that you have less than a day to do it?

Welcome to the 2011 Victoria Public Service (VPS) DeepDiveTM innovation workshop. Here, innovators from the Victoria Public Service (VPS)—and earlier in the week the Australian federal government--gathered to design systems that gauge whether their innovation efforts were delivering results. And with that one-day timeframe, it wasn’t going to be easy.

That’s where Deloitte’s DeepDiveTM comes in. An approach for rapid brainstorming and problem solving, DeepDiveTM has been used hundreds of times by Deloitte to help companies, governments, and nonprofits innovate. DeepDiveTM enables teams to create breakthrough solutions in a dramatically shorter time than conventional problem-solving approaches.

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September 23, 2011

The shuttle may be grounded, but NASA's relevance lives on

Skyexpress_rocketOn Thursday 21 July the space shuttle Atlantis safely landed at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida—and so ended a 30-year window into the wonders of space for thousands of technophiles throughout the world.

But with NASA’s whole-hearted embrace of social media, the journey may not be over by a long shot. Yes, the future of U.S. manned space missions remains uncertain. But for those who follow NASA on Twitter—and have been lucky enough to be a part of NASA’s recent in-person “tweetups”—the agency’s use of social media presents a whole new way to access the inner world of space exploration—and create a new generation of space enthusiasts.

NASA currently administers over 100 Twitter accounts.  Last year, it updated its iPhone application with new connections to social media sites and access to more than 125,000 photos from its image collection.  And by a wide margin, NASA placed first in a recent study that ranked 100 public sector organizations in the effectiveness of their websites, digital outreach, social media use, and mobile sites.

But what could possibly be the significance of an astronaut tweeting from outer space (except that it’s really cool)? It all comes down to access.

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April 12, 2011

Why WEP matters: The UN Women’s Empowerment Principles – one year later

Blog_pellegrino_WEPIt is a universal maxim that there is strength in numbers. While it’s great when one company commits to investing in women—it’s even better when that number is 170. That’s how many CEOs have now signed the United Nation’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP). And as evidenced by the UN’s one-year commemoration of the launch of WEP last month, that number seems likely to grow.

This event, where I participated as a panelist, took the importance of WEP to a new level. More than 150 executives attended the conference, from such well-known companies as Banco de Brasil, Calvert Asset Management, and Novo Nordisk. The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, himself opened the meeting—and there were nearly as many men as women in attendance.

All of this underscored a palpable sense of urgency that seemed to pervade the conference. An urgency that the time to invest in women is now. Not in a year or two when the economy recovers. Not when the dust settles after various laws and regulations take effect, but now. If you want to grow your economy or business and stay competitive, you need to start taking the role of women in organizations and in leadership roles more seriously—and focus on intentional change.

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March 07, 2011

Not business as usual: Realities for professional women

Woman checking postings on windowIn the past year I have co-authored two reports on women—Paths to power: Advancing women in government and The Gender Dividend: Making the business case for investing in women—and participated in many events, including a symposium at the Harvard Kennedy School, discussing how investing in women can help organizations and countries reap a gender dividend. Yet even with all the attention this issue is attracting, it still seems that change is slow in coming.

Statistics bear out that there is awareness of the potential that women represent. There is movement to change the rules around equal pay, equal access, and equal opportunity as well as a resetting of norms to acknowledge the importance of women’s advancement and economic access.  In many cases, these concepts are validated through legislation and policy.  

But the results are not yet there, the change is not entirely embraced, and the “systems” are not acting in concert with the rules. Working women are still limited by a lack of support networks and mentors as well as near -impossible demands in terms of work-life balance. Yes, there are organizations that value women and choosing to work at one might be the single most important decision a woman can make to ensure her career has longevity and advancement.

But if you are waiting for an organization to drive the new behaviors that will allow it to reap the gender dividend, you may miss important windows of opportunity. So what can you do right now? You can build a personal business case for yourself.

The business case concept put forth in The Gender Dividend was built to argue for an organization’s targeted investment in women. But if we morph the concept ever so slightly, it can also be applied directly to an individual. We are at a moment in history when both top-down and grass-roots approaches can coexist and you, the individual change agent, can serve as a powerful element in the current state of play.  Enough individuals taking action can and will have a significant impact.

As you mentally consider your business case, there are two realities to keep in mind:

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February 02, 2011

Cloud computing in government explodes

Ethernet_cablesGovernments struggle with technology. Be it the procurement of hardware, vendor selection, or storage capacity, all of these things can present grim bureaucratic hurdles for public administrators.

This is changing. Today, anyone with an Amazon account can instantly access nearly unlimited computing power on Amazon's Web Services platform in a matter of minutes. No contract is needed. With a few clicks—the procurement process is as simple as buying a book—anyone can rent virtually unlimited computing capacity and storage. Popular services such as Gmail and Flickr operate on the same principle: Information is stored on the Web, where it is accessible from any machine, anytime. Similar cloud services are available from IBM, Google and others.

This is cloud computing, a technology with the potential to dramatically overhaul IT in the public sector.

It's hard to recall a recent technological development that has generated more hype than cloud computing. Why all the excitement? Simple. Cloud computing offers governments a clear and compelling value proposition: All the technological firepower you need without any of the headaches of ownership and maintenance.

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January 21, 2011

The Gender Dividend – Transforming business through the leadership of women

Woman_pointing_at_symbolsAs we begin the second decade of the 21st Century, businesses need to make the most of their resources, especially those with a proven track record in boosting performance. That makes now the time for many more women to take on greater leadership roles, especially in the c-suite and boardroom.

As an accountant for the past 38 years, I have long believed that numbers tell a story. For many years, I have seen a steady stream of research whose numbers confirm the impressive contributions made by the relatively few women at the highest levels of leadership in business today. So it only makes sense that more women serving in these roles will lead to greater business performance and economic growth.

Catalyst, a nonprofit research and advisory organization focused primarily on the advancement of women, invited me to serve on its board a few years ago. I have long been acquainted with Catalyst’s research. Its research findings consistently confirm that those organizations with the most women as senior leaders enjoy rates of return that are greater—often by double-digits—than those with far fewer or no women in their leadership ranks.

That’s what the Gender Dividend is all about. Much like the dividends that public corporations pay to shareholders, the Gender Dividend is a steady benefit that is earned by making wise, balanced investments in developing women as workers and potential leaders, as well as understanding women as consumers and their impact on the economy and the bottom line. Done right, the Gender Dividend should be reflected in increased sales, expanded markets, and recruitment and retention of a key market segment—women.

It is not wishful thinking. As research has consistently proven, the Gender Dividend is a demonstrable fact. But when culture and custom conspire to keep businesses from achieving the greatest returns, investors should take note and vote with their feet. I believe that enlightened investors in search of the greatest returns will vote for those businesses that not only value diversity, but are smart enough to capitalize on it.

Beyond returns in the marketplace for talent and customers, the Gender Dividend can show a payback in the boardroom. As the chairman of Deloitte’s board, I speak often about the ABCs of corporate governance—attitude, behavior, and candor. When present and positive, they help create a boardroom environment that can set ideas into motion and enable people and organizations to move forward productively. Yet it is another element that follows the ABCs—the letter “D” for diverse people and diversity of thought—that enables businesses to enjoy strong governance and develop the best strategic decisions. The diversity of thought provided by women can bring different attitudes and behaviors to the boardroom, as well as fresh candor that can be inspired by a variety of perspectives. Diversity in the boardroom is powerful, and it works.

At the height of the recent recession, Catalyst produced a short video to address the business challenges of a desperate economy. Its voiceover concluded by telling executives that there is an “overlooked yet effective solution to help you make your numbers—and she may be seated right next to you.” I hope that documented research and an open mind will help people understand that such thinking makes perfectly good sense.

Economic growth is one of the quickest ways to unleash transformational change – and with more growth comes more possibilities. In two weeks, the World Economic Forum will convene once again with its mission to improve the state of the world. In the spirit of Davos, let me challenge you, your business, and your nation to intentionally invest in women as business leaders. The women that your investments will enable—as well as the greater returns from the Gender Dividend that it will create—can transform your business, spur your nation’s economy, and improve the state of our world.


Sharon Allen is Chairman of the Board for Deloitte LLP where she leads the board in providing oversight and guidance to the management of the U.S. Firm and its subsidiaries. Frequently honored for her contributions to business and community leadership, Sharon was named to Forbes’ list of “The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World” for four consecutive years.

As used in this post, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see About Deloitte for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.