Three focuses of my blog are Current Events, Financial Literacy/Money and Business/Entrepreneurship. In modern times, traditional forms of business have been disrupted by new startups and technologies. What is the government’s role during these paradigm shifts? The following contributed post is entitled, Government in the New Age of Disruption.
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We know of how businesses are being disrupted by start-ups that manage to find a consumer need that has been ignored and neglected by large corporations for years, maybe even decades, and then offering a solution changes the whole paradigm for the entire industry. No longer are the large corporations in charge, deciding on what the consumer gets and at what price he or she can get it. The consumer is now in charge, being able to vote with their wallet who gets their business and who doesn’t.
We’ve seen it in the fall of video-rental services when the consumer decided that streaming is more convenient than the process of getting and returning a VHS cassette. We have seen it in the taxi industry where the consumer decided that hailing a taxi from their phone, have full tracking and no-fuss payment options. Or just look at the banking industry who are on notice with all the waves made by fin-tech (financial tech) start-ups that challenge the way people think about banking. No longer it’s a large organisation with branches and cheque books, it can also be something that sits on your phone and offers your smart integration.
This is all good material for trend watchers, and one might ask him or herself, what about governmental organisations? Is there any disruption going on there? Governmental organisations are the poster boy examples of inert organisations that rely on set rules and procedures to operate well. The whole idea of agility and changing business models are, in most cases, the opposite of what you might want from institutions that are depended on and need continuity. That’s not to say that government organisations are not evolving. Actually, putting the citizen, central has been core to a lot of governmental investment, trying to create better processes that make dealing with governmental institutions easier. In some cases the language changes from citizens to consumers, indicating that they are taking a page out of the for-profit playbook.
Picking up the Pieces
The real work for governmental organisations sits actually on the effects of disruptive industry. One can think about the massive protests and pressures the taxi industry has put on national and local government, citing the unfair advantages companies such as Uber and Lyft have. Or the challenges that legislators face with the pros and cons of the gig economy. You can fire up a pretty intense discussion nowadays with people on both sides of the political spectrum when it comes to zero-hours contracts. Governments are even having to deal with smart services that help you get out of a parking or speeding fine, such as a 22350 VC, beating the government at their own game.
The New Norm
As with the disrupted industries, it’s also the consumer that has organised themselves, letting their voices heard as never before. The same goes for citizens. One can be dismissive of the likes, shares and tweet-culture we are seeing nowadays, stating that in earlier decades people would take to the streets. But that’s missing the point, as the world is moving to a place where the online business is as important as the offline business, or maybe even greater, we should start weighing things up correctly and see that an online movement is the core movement.