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Developed countries today face significant headwinds as they struggle to achieve economic growth in line with decades past. Wage growth has failed to keep up with overall growth, leading to increased social divides. As populations age, the dependency ratio increases, putting more demands on the working population and straining fragile recoveries. Geo-political risks and large debt burdens could abruptly tip the economy into recession.

Governments have a unique opportunity in these uncertain times to show other actors in the economy how it’s possible to “do more with less” and create a more just and inclusive society. As microcosms of the overall community, public agencies themselves frequently bring together workers of different skill levels and backgrounds to improve citizens’ lives. Thus, governments can demonstrate to nonprofits and companies how to effectively engage and deliver results across their own workforce. For example, providing inclusive modern workplace technologies with accessibility enhancements (text-to-speech, translation, computer vision, closed captioning, natural language processing, etc.), can boost productivity and participation among the working age population.

Other potential productivity enhancements include improving collaboration platforms, streamlining processes, leveraging secure cloud-based solutions and intelligent technologies, and increasing mobile productivity. For example, secure laptops and smartphone apps can connect field workers to real-time data and essential information, thus increasing efficiency and reducing time-consuming trips to headquarters. AI-driven cameras and sensors increase safety by quickly detecting safety hazards and alerting citizens and first responders nearby.

Ultimately, governments can show the types of productivity improvements that are possible within a given society, foster change at the local, regional, and national levels, and drive productivity and innovation throughout the economy.

That’s not all governments can do to drive prosperity, however. By developing open data initiatives and pushing smart data privacy regulations—like the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (EU-GDPR)—governments can support innovation while protecting citizens’ digital identities. Through the practice of properly sharing, storing, and collecting data, governments demonstrate good data practices within their own communities. Furthermore, increasing personalization and proactively serving citizens anytime, anywhere (via advanced AI technologies, for example) can allow governments to effectively scale their operations across a complex landscape of people and services. There are many ways that governments can become more productive, citizen-centered role models for society, and these are just a few of the many innovations taking place now with the potential to transform societies everywhere.

Read more about these issues and ways to foster a more productive and prosperous society.