Building an Innovation Mindset to Achieve Digital Transformation in Government

Digital transformation is currently becoming a to-used term, not only in the technology business ecosystem, but also in almost all industrial fields, especially for SMEs and conventional businesses. The implementation of digital transformation in various fields has been proven to increase efficiency and effectiveness, both from an operational and budget perspective.

Apart from business, digital transformation is also intensively implemented in government systems around the world. In an era when internet access and technology adoption rate are getting higher, the implementation of digital governance is very important. The goal is for citizens to enjoy government services as they deserve using various technology products and applications provided by technology companies and digital startups.

However, realizing an ideal digital government is not an easy thing. This is because successful digital governance is not only captured by a number of websites and applications created by government agencies, but also from how the digital products and platforms can actually make it easier for people to access government services.

One country that has successfully implemented a proper digital government system is New Zealand (New Zealand). Through its website, residents of New Zealand can access a variety of government services. Starting from issues related to population administration, health, work, to business establishment of various services. Reflecting on the success of the New Zealand government system, there are several aspects that can be learned, including the following.

Innovative mindset in the Government

Innovation, especially in terms of technology, is an important element in digital transformation, both in companies and in government. However, efforts to realize an ideal digital government will certainly be difficult if the government mindset is still conventional.

To realize an ideal digital government system, an innovative mindset must be embedded in all levels of government, especially stakeholders with important positions and roles in government. This is one of the fundamental aspects in building a digital government system. An innovative mindset will help decision makers to be open to new ideas and technological solutions that can be presented through digital transformation.

Put Citizens as Customers

Realizing and implementing a digital government is like establishing and developing a technology business. One way is to treat citizens as customers or users of their digital products. Platform development that is in development also needs to pay attention to convenience for users, have a clear flow of information, and present a good and simple appearance.

As the digital products made by startups, service development should also be done dynamically and agilely. They need to collect feedback from users, measured and analyzed to find out how much satisfaction citizens are with this digital-based government service. Input from users can also be used as provisions in developing the platform to better suit the needs of citizens.

Collaboration is the Key for Innovation

One of the false assumptions in the implementation of digital government is that every government agency needs to create its own platform and application to digitize its services. New Zealand had also experienced this in 2006. At that time, all ministries competed to create websites and applications. However, after conducting a survey, the number of existing applications and websites makes people confused in choosing what service is right for their needs.

Finally, the New Zealand government created a main website,, which is able to provide comprehensive information on various government services available, and direct its users to the relevant government agencies. This shows that in a good digital government, all institutions do not always operate and work independently. Collaboration between ministries and existing government agencies can actually make the services developed easier for the public to use.

Apart from developing its main platform, the New Zealand government also supports employees in government agencies to be able to develop innovative solutions for the public sector. One of them is by organizing the NZ Govtech Accelerator program which has been organized since 2018 and has produced various projects that are able to help the problems of its citizens. NZ Govtech Accelerator participants are also not limited to the New Zealand government. This program is open to all government agencies, both national and local around the world, as well as companies and startups with ideas to develop solutions in the public sector.

Not only for their own country, the New Zealand government also encourages and assists neighbor countries in the South and Southeast Asian region to be able to build and realize successful digital governments through the G2G Know-How cooperation program. In this collaboration, New Zealand will provide a team of experts to analyze various public sector problems in a country, then provide views and solutions based on the steps that have been successfully performed in New Zealand, and adapt to the existing conditions in that country. They will also help measure the effectiveness and success of the implemented solutions, and provide an evaluation for these solutions.

Realizing digital transformation in government is not an easy thing. It needs a long learning process, and indeed takes a long time. Support and input from the community is also very important in order to find the best solution that can make it easy for citizens to access various government services easily, fast, anytime, and anywhere.

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