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The future of government - tools for today and ideas for tomorrow

Record levels of loneliness. A surge of knife crime. Distrust in politicians. Overwhelming seas of plastic waste. A childhood obesity trend that isn’t going away. Rising nationalism. The regulation of drones.

Governments around the world - both state and local - are facing issues that will define not just our generation, but the world our children inherit.

Some would have us believe our town halls are not up for the job. Yet up and down the country, week in and out, I meet committed, engaged public servants taking on the task of reimagining public services for the 21st century.

Austerity has made it necessary for some to reimagine services - but in so many other areas the motivation is not just money, but a sense that we’ve lost our way by over-professionalising services created to push solutions to citizens rather than develop solutions with them. Others are reaping the benefits of machine learning and cheap, smart technologies in our homes to create new services altogether.

It’s clear that the role of public servants is changing; from service providers to convenors and place makers, from deliverers to public problem solvers.

This new role requires different skills, as we talked about in our new guide Which behaviours fuel an innovative culture in government?, which is based on competency framework for experimental problem solving.

This changing role also requires confidence with new tools like behavioural insights, collective intelligence, experimentalism and data analytics.

That’s why on 19 September 2019 we’re hosting our first Nesta Government Innovation Summit here in London. We’ll be coming together for a full day of talks, workshops and panel discussions with input from senior public servants and local government leaders. We’ll be sharing our top 20 proven tools from around the world that government innovators can be making use of today (and the evidence behind them). And we’ll be exploring what skills public servants will need in the future to make change happen.

Come ready to share your own vision for how local and national governments can work collaboratively to tackle the biggest challenges of our time

Now, in a twist even our planning team had not predicted, we’ve managed to choose a date slap-bang in what may turn out to be a turbulent political season... But whether it’s a Johnson, Hunt or even Corbyn government in September, we will all be faced with the stark reality that we need to reimagine public services and build a new vision for government that is fit for the future.

Nesta recently ran an open call to find contributors to predict the future of government in 2030. These radical, optimistic, dystopian, even eye-watering, alternative realities will help frame our afternoon conversations at the event, including Hilary Cottam’s provocation for a more relational state.

We’d love you to join us in laying new foundations for the future. You can register your interest. Our only requirement is that you come ready to share your own vision for how local and national governments can work collaboratively to tackle the biggest challenges of our time.

Author

Vicki Sellick

Vicki Sellick

Vicki Sellick

Executive Director of Programmes

Vicki is an Executive Director at Nesta, responsible for the foundation's grant making function.

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