Governance and Technology: How to Achieve Better Results?

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May 05, 2019
by Martin Silva Rey
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Governance and Technology: How to Achieve Better Results?

Forthcoming program of the Public Sector Strategy Network considers the impact of technological innovations on governance Photo by Ilya Pavlov on Unsplash

In a fast-moving world, governments need to become more agile to rethink public service and envision institutions fit for new challenges and disruptions. How will innovations in technology affect governance? What are the opportunities presented, or challenges anticipated – are they fundamentally different from those in the past? Can they be dealt with through the same governance mechanisms or do we need to construct different mechanisms? What tools do public servants need to master to be fully equipped?

Those are some of the questions that participants will discuss during the Salzburg Global Seminar program Agility for an Accelerating World: Can Governments Keep Up? From May 05-07, senior public sector leaders from 19 countries will gather at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, Austria.

They will be able to speak openly among peers about major disruptive forces confronting governments over the next 10-20 years. The program will also examine effective planning strategies to face those disruptive forces. Together, participants will devise year-round opportunities for practical exchange and follow-up among involved countries and institutions.

This program takes place under the auspices of the Public Sector Strategy Network, a platform that equips governments to tackle complex challenges through improved foresight, innovation, and implementation. Co-created with senior leaders from around the world, it is building a mutually-supportive coalition of individuals and institutions on the frontline of digital, financial and societal disruption, promoting effective public leadership and strategic communication.

The annual invitation-only retreat is supported by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, in partnership with Apolitical. Additional country and institutional partners include the Australian Government, the Government of Ireland, the Government of Canada's Impact and Innovation Unit, Civil Service College Singapore, and Nesta. The program director is Charles Ehrlich.

Looking ahead of the program, Ehrlich said, "Governance is a process, but too often gets driven by its own process. The world is moving so rapidly, that governments need to think less about the process and more about the ends: what results their citizens expect. This requires agility to respond to - and often to anticipate - trends, events, and even unforeseeable developments, and to adjust the process on the fly. Some roles traditionally carried out by the public sector will no longer be – but this does not mean that governments abdicate their responsibility to their citizens.

"At this year's Annual Foresight Retreat of the Public Sector Strategy Network, we have a diverse group of 32 public leaders from 19 countries exploring precisely these challenges, exchanging their own experiences with each other, and enhancing international relationships across the strategic policy community."


The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Agility for an Accelerating World: Can Governments Keep Up?, is part of the Public Sector Strategy Network. This program is supported by the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court, in partnership with Apolitical. Additional country and institutional partners include the Australian Government, the Government of Ireland, the Government of Canada's Impact and Innovation Unit, Civil Service College Singapore, and Nesta. More information on this network is available at the following link: https://bit.ly/2PMCt5m