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Radical Visions for the future of government — some questions

I was recently asked to participate in this piece of work for One Team Gov imagining the future of government, here I share some of my thoughts…

Heather Wilson
Jul 12, 2019 · 4 min read

I recently attended the One Team Gov #BureaucracyHack which took place at the Tomlinson Centre in Hackney, it was a busy day with lots going on!

Some of the One Team Gov team were looking for volunteers throughout the day to contribute to their Radical Visions for the Future of Government project, this is a piece of work that a number of the network are contributing to for Nesta. You’ll find out all about it here:

I agreed to be filmed by the team and give my thoughts, but I also thought it might be useful to share some of them here for inspiration — as it has more questions than answers.

What do think will change by 2030?

In ten years time today’s seven year olds will be getting ready to leave school. Will school have prepared them for jobs that don’t exist yet? They will have grown up more aware of their rights.

Will their generation challenge us to have better relationships, to be kind and less abusive in our relationships and call out others for taking advantage of their power or resources? I suspect these young people will expect the workplace to meet their needs and to work in an environment where everyone has these met, including adjustments and recognising strengths to allow everyone to fulfil their full potential.

As a society we will be older and with that comes increasing disability and more varied needs. Finding ways for more people to stay at work and live independently for longer .

How will we look after the growing number of over 85’s to support them to live independently for longer? Will the design of our houses change to make them more accessible?

How will our mental health be as a nation? Will we understand more about anxiety and depression and help to reduce the numbers of people struggling with their mental health through earlier intervention? What medical treatments will help us live better and for longer?

More of us are living individually, in the way we used to. Will empty shops on the high street become housing? Will your local shopping centre become housing? What will happen to the high street? What other uses will it have?

Where will we be with homelessness and poverty? And will the policies currently in development be working?

The #ClimateEmergency has made more people aware that we need to be less disposable with the resources we use — clothes, what we own, even money.

Will products be again? Will societal pressure demand that we are less disposable with our resources? Will alternatives to plastic change our society in unexpected ways? It is worth remembering that asking everyone to carry more things around as we use less plastic is an access issue for those of us with disabilities. I can’t carry around anymore than I already do. So what does the design of products in the future look like to accommodate everyone’s needs with accessibility in mind?

One change in the last 10 years is that more voices are being heard in policy making through participation, co-production and more.

The way we use technology has changed in each decade of my life. Looking at each decade individually shows how far we’ve come. Some childhood TV viewing seems terrifying now. What tools will enable us to engage with the democratic process. Will we be able to vote using our TV remote?

‘Today the Government announced they are looking at the following policies which of these should we take forward? For Option 1 press 1, for Option 2 press 2…'.

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An attendee writes “How do we?” on a card

Will voice command technology like Google Home or Alexa develop and capture our comments hurled at the TV to change the plot and characters in our shows, or take comments on the news to inform government policy in real time?

What will those who don’t have access to technology or have disabilities be excluded from? How do we control our data and privacy rights?

And what does the Civil Service look like in 10 years time? Will technology write speeches and compile briefing? Will we all be working from home on a 4 day week only meeting by Skype and socially? Will we be manager-less with a flatter structure? Will we spend more time imagining the future than we do now?

If you are looking for inspiration on what 10 years in the future watch the recently finished BBC1 series Years and Years. What would you like to see improve? What do you think will have changed by 2029?

If you are inspired by this project please get in touch with One Team Gov at contact@oneteamgov.uk by midnight on 18 July 2019.

You can add your thoughts in the comments below too!

Thanks!

OneTeamGov

UK policymakers, service designers, digital professionals…

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