Public Sector & the New Normal of Tech & Social Disruption

The rate of disruption is escalating across every industry and in our daily lives. Driven by the internet, social media, emerging tech like AI, much of the impact has been positive, but these waves of change are disrupting nearly everything. Organizations of all types are struggling to deal with the rate of change. Public sector organizations face even harder challenges, but also great opportunities.

The market’s rapid pace of change is forcing organizations to face a sobering reality. If their rate of innovation is slower than the market’s rate, they fall farther and farther behind. But how do they increase their rate of innovation when it seems like are barely hanging on?

The overwhelming landscape

Challenges appear from nearly every direction. News sources are full of buzzwords labeling strange and complex issues: Foreign election interference, cybersecurity, online privacy, cybercrime, climate change, blockchain, cyberterrorism, cyberbullying, the dark web, gig-economy, technological unemployment, the list grows bigger.

Companies are encouraged to ditch obsolete product lines, divest of failing business units, refocus core business, merge and acquire. And even these strategies usually fall short. Even the disruptors are being disrupted. Who could have imagined that just last month, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg would proclaim his new vision: the future is private (source 1).

For public sector organizations (PSOs) this dynamic is much more challenging. Unlike private companies who are free to change business models and ‘pivot’, PSOs mandates are fixed. Instead of focusing on quarterly results, public sector bears the responsibility of demographic and infrastructure scale timelines. Also, accountable to the public, they are held to a level of transparency and accountability that’d make corporate executives shudder.

Open Innovation is the only solution

But, hidden in these encumbrances are their greatest strengths. Leveraging many of the same technologies enables new tools for open innovation and crowdsourcing. By appealing to the common interest of their citizens, PSOs have access to their collective ingenuity and intelligence.

It might come as a surprise to many, but the government founded open innovation. Long before the digital networks that connect all of us, governments have been using these methods (sources 2 and 3). Public sector is also an early adopter of modern crowdsourcing, with examples like, NASA Tournament Lab and DARPA.

Open innovation & crowdsourcing is a powerful tool that leverages the best of government, human nature, and the technology that connects us. And, as their adoption grows, the future will look a lot brighter.

Call to Action

Ready to get started? HeroX is the world’s leading expert in crowdsourcing and open innovation strategy. Send us your disruptors and we’ll convert those half-baked ideas into powerful challenges.  

HeroX's Director of Client Success, Kyla Jeffrey, shares some examples of PSOs that have successfully integrated Crowdsourcing in their Internal Innovation Strategy.  


  1. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says the ‘future is private’ – April 30, 2019
  2. In 1783, the French King and Academy of Sciences offered 2400 livres for a method to produce alkali from sea salt – leading to the Leblanc Process
  3. In 1714, the British government passed the Longitude Act, an open call to invent a simple and practical method for the precise determination of a ship's longitude at sea. 10 winners were awarded.
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