- Agile Government & Skills for Success
Governments are expending tremendous energy on predicting the future skills to shape education (mostly focussing on industry), but most of the government employees are products of an older education system and must quickly adapt to a disruptive world. OECD (2017) highlights that the skills for a high performing civil service need for new look at public employment and management policies and framework, and at how people are managed. There are several studies on future skills and very little agreement on them (Stephens, Spraggon & Vammalle, 2019). This session focuses on some cutting edge research in that field and the public sector skills and competencies individuals and departments must develop to ensure success. Agile innovation needs a re-invention of management roles, practices, values and communications (Denning, 2013).
- Soft Power
As the military capacity of individual nations increase, it becomes obvious that hard power measures like warfare are often in the long-term more dangerous for countries and result in tremendous negative emotions. Because the political landscape is constantly shifting governments need to be agile in developing foreign policies. Soft power has been considered a strong diplomatic foreign policy tool that allows countries the ability to get countries and other key actors like organizations and individuals to contribute to or support national goals. While the concept of soft power is popular, few empirical studies exists and it remains poorly understood (Ahonen, 2001; Matten, 2005). This session presents both empirical and conceptual papers in this topic.
- Country Happiness and Wellbeing
The job of an agile government is the delivery of public value. For a nation, happiness and well-being are considered public goods (SDGs, World happiness Report). Many countries are actually outlining these concepts in their national agendas like Bhutan, UAE and there is a need to have a focused happiness and well-being strategy at the national policy level (Global Happiness and Well-being Policy report, 2019). For an agile government, happiness and well-being are a moving target as they are embedded in an disruptive environment that is open to multiple shocks. The concept of happiness must include health and social well-being at individual, societal, organizational and national level. This session presents key papers in this topic.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from an adverse event at least the same level prior to exposure with minimum side-effects. For an agile government the ability to adapt to these shocks is critical for national stability, national security and national strategy. This session presents key papers in this topic covering national security, tech disruptions, and lessons from organizational of large scale events. A resilient organization is prepared (by scanning or future foresight), but an inherent tension exists when there is a need for speedy recovery and timely adaptation (Westrum, 2017). Resilience is embedded in institutional design and culture (Goodin, 1996).
The agile government’s ability to predict the future is key to a robust national strategy. At the heart of policy making is strong understanding of the creation of public value. For example AI is a new field with tremendous impact, but there are inherent tensions between ethics, policies, and value (Calo, 2017). Global uncertainty, including that of new tech and innovation, requires the ability to foresee the future, assess the impact of the spillover of the innovation, the so called ‘adjacent possible’ or the ‘hummingbird effect” (Kauffman2000; Johnson, 2015). This session presents key papers in this topic.
- International Business and an Agile Government
In the government sector, the field of agile government (under new public management) began to overlap with digital transformations, but the high failure of e-government projects in the region and worldwide (35% total failure and 50% partial failures), and the “the unrelenting waves of technological and social changes that show no signs of easing off”, have resulted in renewed thrust to focus on Agile Governments to better prepare for the future. In simple terms, agility refers to “the ability of an organization to react to changes in its environment faster than the rate of these changes.” The reality is that governments and business are co-dependent on each other for success. This session is a joint session with the Academy of International Business – Middle East North Africa and explores papers in this theme.