Richard is the Executive Director of Better Public Services Result 10, which aims to have 70% of New Zealanders’ most common transactions with government being completed in a digital environment by 2017. Here, Richard writes about what Result 10 means to him.
You’d have to have been living under a rock, or undergone an extended stay in a sensory deprivation chamber, not to know that, back in September, the iPhone 5 made its New Zealand debut.
I, like so many other early-adopting, gadget-obsessing geeks, eagerly awaited the midnight hour to strike so that I could hit the Apple online store and order their latest and most coveted piece of geek jewellery. How sad is that? Yes, I know…
The great irony is that the iPhone has little significance to me as a ‘mobile phone’. The ‘Phone’ function is probably the least-used feature on my current slab of finger-friendly glass and metal. For me, its attraction lies in the fact that it is the most personal and intimate always-connected, always-on computing and communication device that I possess. It’s always with me, as a physical extension of my body and a virtual extension of my mind. Now, that’s really sad, but true. But I simply cannot conceive of contemporary life without the global Internet and the World Wide Web. A planetary-scale network that is integral to my existence, augmented by the constant stream of digital services and feeds that make my life ‘better’. Mostly.
So, how does government and public services figure in all of this 21st century awesomeness? Well, that’s the problem, because it doesn’t much. Yet. That’s why the government’s Result 10 for Better Public Services,
New Zealanders can complete their transactions with government easily in a digital environment, is worth keeping an eye on. If you’re so inclined, you might also want to consider contributing to its achievement. This particular result for NZ is all about improving the interaction of government with everyday people. I’m pretty excited by all this, not just because I’m leading Result 10 and its associated programme of change, but because I’m an everyday New Zealander (and we’re taking a broad, and I mean broad, view on what constitutes being a ‘New Zealander’. If you’re anywhere on the planet and eligible for a service from the NZ government, then we ought to be thinking of you). It’s definitely something worthwhile getting excited about.
We need public services from government that are as accessible, consumable and flexible as the myriad of non-government digital services available to us today. It’s no longer good enough just to have more of the same public services available via new-fangled digital channels, whether that’s a web browser, app or a public vending machine; they need to be demonstrably better than what we experience today. Result 10 is all about that.
I’m imagining a world in which public services and information can be re-configured, mashed up and delivered in ways that are more meaningful for New Zealanders. That means New Zealanders not needing to understand how government is organised or works, but being able to get things done with government when and where they need to as they go about their daily lives. This could mean accessing a public service, or part of a service, through a channel or service offering that isn’t even overtly ‘government’. That’s the ‘easily’ bit of Result 10.
Booking some international travel? Well, why don’t you check your passport and travel visas are valid at the same time? And while you’re at it, you may as well check whether you’ve got any outstanding fines that might hold you up as you’re about to slip through the departure gates (and, of course, you can take care of any passport renewal costs or payment of fines with a ‘one-click’ experience through your preferred airline’s or travel site’s booking facility). Easy. Done. Well, easy to imagine, not so easy to do. That’s the challenge ahead of us working on Result 10.
It’s a journey I’m very much looking forward to taking; I hope you will join me…