Government exists to deliver results but... ( From Center for Public Impact, a BCG Foundation)

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Governments exist to deliver results for their citizens.

This is true even in the most challenging contexts, where

states strive to provide security and order for their people. And

it is especially true in democracies, where the ability to govern

rests on explicit promises made to citizens in each election. No

matter where one lives, making government deliver effectively

for its citizens is one of the great moral issues of our time.

But when most political leaders arrive in office, they find that

delivering results is the hardest part of the job. Formally

speaking, they have authority to direct what government does.

But they sit on top of a large and complicated bureaucracy, and

it’s not immediately evident how to work through it to get

things done. At the same time, political leaders must of course

manage politics – the inevitable day-to-day distractions of

events that public figures must deal with.

The challenge feels intractable. But in recent years, a group of

leaders in government around the world have come to

understand this challenge better – and to develop a solution.


The emergence of ‘deliverology’

One starting point of this movement was in the UK at the turn
of the millennium. In Tony Blair’s second term as prime
minister, he prioritised 20 public service targets. They covered
a range of outcomes – literacy for 11-year-olds, reduced road
traffic congestion, and lower street crime rates, for example –
that captured citizens’ expectations of what effective
government should accomplish for them. And he set up a new
entity, the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit, headed by Sir
Michael Barber, which reported directly to him and was
responsible for ensuring the delivery of these targets.
Within four years, the unit had helped the government to
achieve over 80% of these targets and had made significant
progress on the others. This attracted attention and interest in
the work of the delivery unit, especially after a book detailing
the original experience was published.
Without realising it at
the time, Sir Michael and his team had discovered a
repeatable methodology for achieving real impact in
government. They had invented a missing discipline:
‘deliverology’, the science of delivering results.
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