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Local Government - Think Differently

Posted by

Steve Graham

31 July, 2019

The pressure on local government to get key investment, resource allocation and delivery model decisions right has never been greater. Increasing demand for services, rapid technology change and the constant requirement to invest in asset construction and renewal are forcing local government to reconsider traditional business models.

To be successful local authorities must leverage all the intellectual know-how within their organisations. Empowerment through collaboration and innovation may be the very impetus you are looking for.

The status quo is no longer an option for local government. Projected financial short falls mean that unless significant action is taken current services may either be reduced or eliminated.

The New Zealand Productivity Commission identified that, collectively, councils are forecasting significant capital expenditure to be spent over the next 10 years. Councils propose to spend $54.5 billion over the next 10 years, which is 31% more than what they proposed in their 2015-25 LTPs.

Unless New Zealand citizens are willing to pay more, out of pocket, the model as it stands today is not sustainable. Kiwis have to think differently and according to, Chris Simpson, CEO Waikato Chamber of Commerce said, “Ask them (employees) how they think they can do better. Ask if there needs to be more research/thinking? Engage with them and no doubt they'll come up with great ideas.”

Over the last 10 years, The Global Innovation Index shows NZ's rank has dropped by 12 places to 25th. All NZ organisations, including local authorities need to collectively respond and start gathering insight, to produce alternative approaches to existing models.

Other than citizen experience, council employees (who are subject matter experts by definition) are closest to how existing services are delivered and from anecdotal evidence, empowering front-line staff to collectively provide new approaches works.

This experience has been mirrored in the UK. Historical data shows the total UK budget for 2013 of €4,181 million was down 17% on 2008, meaning that the local authorities simply have had to do more with less. Several progressive UK Councils started to address these challenges utilising the HunchBuzz innovation platform, e.g. City of London, Aberdeen City Council, Bexley Council, London Ventures and others. They have all used HunchBuzz to gather insight from their thousands of employees who have know-how and front line knowledge.

As citizen expectations change and technology evolves, local government will continue to come under pressure. Customer centricity and innovation must be a priority on the agenda for all local authorities.

Using staff insights and data, councils can provide better solutions and reduce costs. Find out how HunchBuzz helps local, district and regional councils achieve more through collaboration.

Steve Graham

Founder/Director HunchBuzz
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