This is the first part of a blog series on the political organisation of the future.
2020 was exceptional in many respects: a global pandemic, economic downturn, and new anti-democratic movements entering the stage. But by focusing on single events and issues, we fail to see the underlying trends which have a long-term and lasting effect on our societies and on the political sphere.
To start the right organisational transformations for a better tomorrow, leaders of political organisation need to identify and assess trends now. Only by doing that will they secure the long-term viability of their organisations. But is this knowledge available today?
Much has been written, but not about trends shaping the political sphere
The political sphere consists of a broad range of actors: from political parties to public administration, from civic society organisations to private sector organisations. But when we look at trend reports and other data available today, most focus on one specific actor, e.g. the future of governments, or one specific issue, e.g. government technology, or broad policy issues, e.g. upskilling and investing in people.
What we have not found to this date is a comprehensive overview of the major trends influencing the political sphere. This blog is a step in this direction.
To identify the major trends shaping the political sphere, we designed a three stage process: first, we screened existing reports, e.g. by McKinsey, Deloitte, OECD, Zukunftsinstitut and others. Second, we talked to experienced practitioners from the political sphere. And third, we contributed our own expertise gathered through our consulting projects and programmes.
The key denominators of change in the political sphere
Through this process we identified the three trends which have the strongest impact on how political organisations will function in the future:
- Connectedness: People organise in networks and aim to be connected with one another. They share ideas, exchange data and demand political organisations to be open and transparent. hey also have a strong desire for political participation.
This trend is already influencing political organisations today. Governments use crowdsourcing-approaches to draft bills. Government institutions share their data openly, and independent organisations solve challenges collaboratively and digitally in their city.
- New Work: The way we work is fundamentally changing. Hierarchical structures are breaking down, knowledge and creative work are becoming more important, and the boundaries between private and professional life are getting blurred. In this regard, political organisations will become more flexible, adaptive, diverse, and embedded in a network of connected organisations.
- New Learning: We have immediate access to an ever-increasing amount of information whilst traditional models of education are falling behind. Instead, learning becomes a life-long activity. Organisations are opening up and are making it possible to innovate beyond organisational boundaries.
Existing examples for this trend are, for example, open innovation efforts in political parties, the development of new offers for learning and development in politics as well as global learning platforms for government.
You may wonder why digitalisation and technology are not on our list as a main trend shaping political organisations. Contrary to other contributions about the future of political organisations, we see technological developments not as a key driver but rather as an accelerator and enabler of change.
Insights into the political organisation of the future
To support leaders in the political sphere in their endeavour to adapt their organisations to future needs and align available resources accordingly, we have developed a framework of the political organisation of the future.
This blog served as the introduction into how we developed this framework. In the following blogs we will provide insights into this framework and its key components. Sign up to our newsletter to receive upcoming insights.What are your thoughts on this blog? Did we make you think? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!