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The digital citizen – lessons learned from Steve Jobs

September 26, 2016
In 2007, Steve Jobs introduced the iPhone to the world. Following its announcement, Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft CEO at the time, proclaimed the following:

“There’s no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance. It’s a $500 subsidized item. They may make a lot of money. But if you actually take a look at the 1.3 billion phones that get sold, I’d prefer to have our software in 60% or 70% or 80% of them, than I would to have 2% or 3%, which is what Apple might get.”

On the heels of the latest iPhone release, and over 1 billion iPhones sold, it’s safe to say that Steve Jobs had it right – complete disruption that has changed the way people all over the world interact with technology on a daily basis.

There are many things that can be learned from the example above – vision, persistence, and never settling to name a few. For me, however, the most glaring lesson here is that Steve Jobs had the courage to defy conventional wisdom and embrace what was possible by thinking differently.

For government agencies, whether federal, state, local, or K-12, there is a propensity to take a ‘wait and see’ approach to change, whether changing business processes, services for the community, or implementing new technologies. The result of this type of approach is always playing catch up and missed opportunities to provide exceptional and innovative services to our communities. Digital disruption takes many forms and means different things to different organizations. For governments, it is ultimately about using technology to deliver exceptional services to our constituents.

Technology enables us to do things today that weren’t even dreamed of 10 years ago. That same technology allows government agencies and organizations the ability to match the expectations that consumers and citizens already enjoy in their private lives. It’s time that government embraces that same disruptive mindset demonstrated by Steve Jobs. Our communities expect it.

Dr. Kurt Steward
  • Federal Government
  • State and Local Government
  • North America
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