Transformation in a fish bowl

A New Zealand context Public sector thought leadership

Insights into transformation

Seven lessons for the public sector

The public sector, like most industries, is undergoing a significant period of change. Government needs to remain innovative and attuned to the expectations and demands of citizens, staff and other stakeholders. How it manages that change is crucial to delivering the outcomes of a modern, cohesive public sector.

However, transformation in the public sector presents some particular challenges. These include the level of transparency required and the number of stakeholders involved, something that can be likened to undertaking ‘transformation in a fish bowl’.

This and other key considerations for transformation in the New Zealand public sector are outlined in PwC New Zealand’s 2016 Insights into transformation - Seven lessons for the public sector report. 

Fifteen chief executives and transformation leaders from 13 Government agencies were interviewed face-to-face for the purposes of this study, which highlights the experiences and lessons learnt around large-scale change in New Zealand government.

The New Zealand study follows the Australian Insights into transformation white paper, which was released in 2008 and has supported PwC New Zealand engagement with some of New Zealand’s largest transformation projects. At that point, transformation in the New Zealand public sector was largely in its early stages. The 2016 New Zealand Insights into transformation - Seven lessons for the public sector report provides an update to the earlier Australian paper, within a New Zealand public sector context.

As with the Australian study, the New Zealand report focuses on seven lessons that leaders earmarked as critical to successful transformation.

  • Lesson one: Transformation is as much about the journey as the destination  

  • Lesson two: Technology: driving force or distraction?

  • Lesson three: Power for the people

  • Lesson four: The bottom line for successful transformation is leadership

  • Lesson five: Bringing the right stakeholders along for the ride 

  • Lesson six: Talking the talk and walking the walk

  • Lesson seven: Running today’s business alongside tomorrow’s

Overall, the findings of this report show that New Zealand public sector organisations are willing to implement large-scale change to remain relevant, despite the challenges. Those who do, gain valuable insights from their experiences. These insights will be of value to any New Zealand public or private sector organisations undergoing, or considering, significant change in the future.

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