A survey from Accenture (NYSE:ACN) has identified thousands of suggestions — both practical and optimistic — from U.S. citizens for how government can help make their lives easier.
Accenture surveyed 5,000 citizens in 10 major U.S. cities across eight states (Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, DC), posing a single question: Is there one thing the government could do to help improve your life and save you time?
Beyond the expected suggestions of eliminating taxes, reducing health care costs and an almost universal call for driving motor vehicles agencies into the 21st century, respondents suggested thousands of ways to take the sting and complexity out of government applications and services — “life hacks for government,” or “GovHacks.” Similar to popular “life hacks” — short cuts, tips and tricks that save time and improve quality of life — “GovHacks” take aim at the complexity of ways public-sector agencies deliver services and meet the needs of constituents.
Generally, responses across all respondents fell into broad categories that included public safety, child care and child welfare, education, healthcare, taxes and digital transformation. The need for governments to embrace digital innovation to streamline services and eliminate paperwork — especially in completing benefit forms or addressing citizen questions — was one of the most popular topics. This was especially true for every city’s motor vehicle agency, with suggestions ranging from renewing driver’s licenses and vehicle registration online to text notifications for any vehicle-related renewal.
In fact, increasing online services, digitizing government forms, establishing a single ID and investing in a “one-stop-shop” to access all personal information was a common response from citizens in every city. And, regardless of age, family situation or education, the call for more smartphone apps was nearly unanimous. As one respondent in Columbus suggested, “An app for everything!”
“Current approaches and incremental improvements for the delivery of government services are not sustainable, and leaders are welcoming bold thinking in how they design their organizations for optimal service delivery,” said Ryan Oakes, who leads Accenture’s Public Sector practice in North America. “By tapping into the creativity and innovation of our citizens, leaders can advance beyond the conventional wisdom that existing processes, policies and laws are hindering the pace of change. Our suggestion to governments: ‘Stop tuning. Start transforming.’”
Also on the minds of many respondents: voting. The most popular GovHack suggestions would allow online voting, voting from home, registering to vote at libraries or stand-alone kiosks in stores, registering to vote at birth and when applying for a driver’s license, creating fingerprint ID voting, and (in Washington, DC) the ability to schedule a time online to vote.
Another theme among respondents was investing in bringing people together. Calls for community gardens, opportunities to volunteer, town halls and ways to help seniors and the homeless underscored togetherness and the recognition that strengthening the fabric of communities is an important goal for the public sector.
A few other Life Hacks for government include:
Smart ID cards – cards that store all the data that citizens are often asked to re-enter into forms;
Police scanners to identify people texting and driving;
Cameras that photograph license plates at toll roads and charge the fee to an associated bank account, thereby speeding up traffic;
A master list of all the available programs that government provides for people;
Scheduling a follow-up call or direct call back that allows a citizen to interact with the same person until the problem is resolved;
Establishing a system for all Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery tests to be shared across all branches of the military;
Recycling old planes, ships and military metals and use for next-generation housing; and
Using confiscated drug money to help homeless vets.
“Citizens are engaged in improving their local communities and have wildly creative and compelling ideas to improve their lives and the lives of those around them,” Oakes said. “Leaders in the public sector can embrace citizen calls for greater digital engagement and work with citizens in new ways to streamline services and exceed their expectations.”
McGuire Research, on behalf of Accenture, surveyed 5,000 adults across 10 major U.S. cities — Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Columbus, Ohio; Detroit; Los Angeles; Miami; New York; San Francisco; Seattle; and Washington, DC. The survey, conducted online in September 2018, asked a single question: “Is there one thing the government could do to help improve your life and save you time?”
Accenture is a leading global professional services company, providing a broad range of services and solutions in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations. Combining unmatched experience and specialized skills across more than 40 industries and all business functions — underpinned by the world’s largest delivery network — Accenture works at the intersection of business and technology to help clients improve their performance and create sustainable value for their stakeholders. With 459,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries, Accenture drives innovation to improve the way the world works and lives. Visit us at www.accenture.com.