Reinventing the Business of Government– Inspire Entrepreneurship: Transform Inefficient Government Bureaucracy…

Entrepreneurship in government? The idea may sound like an oxymoron to government bashers; but government must become more creative with a different mind-set to stay relevant in today’s global society– there must be more entrepreneurial thinking in the business of government.

Government means– federal, states, cities, local communities, such that this bureaucracy is more creative, efficient… According to Jeffrey Stinson; pundits are quick to suggest; make government more like business, but government is not a business and it cannot be managed like a business… but, maybe it can be more business-like; in its use of entrepreneurial techniques, ideas, philosophy… Government has lost its way; something must be done…

Transforming inefficient government bureaucracies into dynamic, customer-driven organizations is challenging under any circumstances, but when the entity is as vast and multifaceted as a current governments, many would argue that the mechanisms for substantial change do not exist, and the problems that governments must grapple with, have outstripped its capacity to respond creatively… But David Osborne; disagrees and argues that many of same tools used to improve performance of private companies, such as; employee empowerment, internal competition, accountability… can be used to ‘reinvent’ government, as well…

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According to Bruce G. Posner and Lawrence R. Rothstein; reinventing government is a mammoth task, much larger than any change efforts that would be undertaken for the largest multinational corporations… Consider; according to the U.S. Treasury; the U.S. federal government has over 2 million civilian employees, hundreds of departments and agencies, and is estimated to collect about $2.9 trillion in tax revenues, spend a total of about $3.43 trillion in its 2015 budget, resulting in a deficit of $532 billion.

The deficit is expected to be 3.2% of its total estimated GDP of about $16.4 trillion… In addition and according to Gallup a survey; U.S. federal government workers are less engaged than the rest of U.S. workforce. On average 73% of federal government employees are disengaged in their jobs, compared with 69% of all workers in U.S.; this lack of engagement is costing U.S. government an estimated $18 billion in lost productivity annually, or about $9,000 per employee… Hence, the tough question is: How do you change government? How do you take a vast government bureaucracy, transform it into– creative, innovative, relevant… services provider?

What is Entrepreneurial Government? Traditional bureaucratic governments have nurtured people with tendencies to– protect their position, to resist change, to build authority, to enlarge their sphere of control, to encourage and defend projects and schemes irrespective of their relevance to the present conditions… in short, to protect the status quo.

On the contrary, an ‘entrepreneurial’ government initiates more efficient and effective ways of managing systems and organizations. It’s a government that recognizes the importance of abandoning old and irrelevant programs and methods. It encourages taking timely and necessary action. It’s a government that is creative and innovative: It has a business-like-orientation. It privatizes wherever it makes pragmatic sense, and where private operators can provide the same service much more effectively. It makes room for new ventures and revenue-generating operations. It’s customer-driven and adopts transparent performance metrics. It rewards merit: It’s a government that welcomes change and challenges and has the will to win.

In summary, an entrepreneurial government; first and foremost services its customers–the public… and it does so by staying relevant with it programs, creative in delivery of services, efficient in the use of resources…

In the article Public Sector Entrepreneur– New Type of Leadership by Regenesys writes: When you put public sector and entrepreneur in the same sentence it’s tempting to think of ‘tenderpreneurs’ or ‘corrupt officials’ who run businesses on the side. The public sector needs more entrepreneurial and innovation skills to continuously improve service delivery and to actually make the business of government work…

Government leaders with a good understanding of the needs of customers, and ability to run public sector organizations on business principles, are rare. Increasingly, there is a need for leaders to learn high-level business skills that allow for more effective delivery of services, and the abilities to transplant ideas into the framework of regulation and complex world of politics and public administration.  Government leaders need to have more in common with entrepreneurs; likewise, they need to create new models and frameworks for delivery, which are based on innovation, risk management, sustainable development…

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In the article Government Entrepreneur is Not an Oxymoron by Mitchell Weiss writes: The idea of ‘government entrepreneurship’ may sound like it belongs on a list of oxymoron right alongside with ‘government intelligence’… Government entrepreneurship is not simply about innovation in the public sector (although it uses innovation), and it’s not just policy reform (although it drives reform). Government entrepreneurship is about reinventing how things get done, by applying a different mind-set.

 But most government workers are trained to be government ‘administrators’: They are schooled in status-quo management, i.e.; improve exist systems, instead of developing more efficient programs, better programs… that are relevant in today’s world and satisfy the needs of their customers (i.e., the public)… Current government bureaucracy is taught to run from risk instead of managing it… also it has developed a long-standing cultures that teaches people to keep their heads-down, stay out of trouble… and result very little constructive work gets done… The key to– better, different, relevant government is the crafting of a different kind of culture, e.g.; entrepreneurial mind-set… 

According to a public survey; 51% of respondents believe that the federal government needs ‘fundamental changes’; another 34% believe it needs ‘a complete rebuilding’… In other words, 85% of those polled believe fundamental change is needed in government, and that includes; federal, state, local… As a result, every politician in U.S. is desperate to find new ways to operate, e.g.; providing more services with fewer dollars and improve productivity… But that not the answer either, government has lost touch with the public it services; the current government mind-set is 100 years old, and it needs fundamental change… Why has government become so bloated and ineffective?

According to David Osbome; think about how government institutions were created during the industrial era– government was structured as a– top-down, top-heavy hierarchy with multitudes of rules and regulations… now this aged government business model is outmoded and irrelevant… It has not kept up with the times; culture and society has changed, people have different needs, expectations… technology has changed, the world has changed; but the business of government continues to operate as it did one hundred years ago…

In the article Reinventing Government by Ted Gaebler, David Osborne writes: Most people’s image of government is– a sluggish, centralized bureaucracy with a hierarchical chain of command, preoccupied with rules and regulations. It’s a form of government from the industrial era, and it does not function well in the current rapidly changing, knowledge-intensive society…

Today, most government agencies are required to perform complex tasks and provide services, in highly competitive, unpredictable environments, for which they were not designed or trained to do… The problem of government goes beyond the liberal/conservative dichotomy, where arguments revolve around more programs versus less, or raising taxes versus cutting spending…

What is needed is not more or less government but different kind of government; government that is creative, innovative and embraces ‘entrepreneurial’ type thinking… This does not mean running government like a business, since that ignores the many differences between the two, or indiscriminately privatizing public programs… However, government can become more efficient, responsive by adopting methods, management techniques used in business…

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Common themes emerge from observing innovation in government, e.g.; promoting competition between service providers, use market mechanisms to bureaucratic ones, measuring performance and holding providers accountable… Also, they are driven by missions, not rules; they empower citizens by pushing control out into the community; and the public are defined as customers and offered choices…

These common themes decentralize authority, and attack root-cause problems instead of only offering cures… Finally, government programs that focus on catalyzing the community to solve problems, rather than only on providing services… It’s time to take a fresh look at the business of government, to reinvent government, and to get government that works…

A fresh look in the sense that it restates issues in nonpolitical terms, thereby avoiding endless partisan debate… Government is vital in a modern society, but it must be structured and managed to effectively service its customers– the public…

Sowing the Seeds of Change: Reinvention, innovation, entrepreneurs are crucial to competitiveness… But it goes beyond that; a slow, bureaucratic system that specializes in shoddy service can put any ‘service entity’ at a serious disadvantage in a competitive market; government is no exception… The current edifice of government is a legacy of the past, created during vastly different times… Hence, governments worldwide are beginning to recognize that the current business of government is unsuitable to meet the requirements of today’s turbulent times.

Many developed countries have made impressive advances in reinventing their governments. Reinventing government is a gigantic task, beyond the scope of any individual or group, it requires the consensus of the entire populations… Reinventing at any level (individual, group, or organization) fundamentally revolves around taking ownership, which implies operating with an entrepreneurial mind-set…