F.A.S.T. Government (Flat, Agile, Streamlined, Tech-enabled) for the 21st Century

Latest developments in technology, changes in socio political scenarios of various regions in the world and underperforming economies have prompted a massive transformation on how governments are run around the globe. In order to address all these issues, the World Economic Forum is spearheading a new model of Government for the 21st century. This model commonly is known as F.A.S.T. Government Framework where F.A.S.T. is the abbreviation of Flat, Agile, Streamlined and Tech Enabled.

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This particular model of Government provides long lasting solutions posted by F.A.S.T. changing digital world and therefore, it moves beyond the common e-government concept to encompass all aspects of government and governance.

Why F.A.S.T. Government Framework?
Many people argue that why World Economic Forum has presented this Government model at this particular point in time. In fact, the governments around the world are facing many new challenges that have made it impossible for them to live up to their people’s expectations using the old governance methods. Some of these challenges can be summarised as under.

  • The demands and expectations of society are increasing and they are asking their governments to perform more than their capacity.
  • Civil society, businesses and citizens are becoming increasingly networked, creating new sort of challenges for the governments.
  • The scarcity of resources and permanent changes in global economy are some more issues governments around the globe have to address sooner rather than later.
  • Demographic problems such as continuing urban explosion, elderly cohort and the “youth bulge” are also creating serious problems for the governments.

These are some of the issues that have prompted the need of transforming the way the governments are run. Although, Governments like Malaysia and South Korea have done really well in recent years yet these high “performing governments” need to do a lot to address these problems for sustainable growth and development.

The F.A.S.T. Government:
So, how F.A.S.T. governments will resolve all these issues and perform as the masses want them to perform? As mentioned above, F.A.S.T. is a governance system that will develop models for responsive, creative, effective and open governments for the 21st century. These models will be designed keeping in view the requirements of this century and will also suggest ways to meet them. These models will reflect the needs of the 21st century and will also enable governments to explore boundless opportunities this extremely advanced century has to offer.

It is also important to note that F.A.S.T. governments do not focus on speed. There is nothing wrong with speedier services delivery as well as timely responses and decisions. However, the purpose of the F.A.S.T. is to empower governments to analyze all the problems, needs and desires of the people living in 21st century and develop effective strategies to fulfil those desires and explore new opportunities to grow and prosper.

We also need to understand that F.A.S.T. is a truly transformational government model. It does not simply introduces a minor change, transition or reform to the current system but it is intended to totally overhaul and transform the governance system currently in vogue in most of the countries. The scope of F.A.S.T. is truly wide and it has gone beyond the e-governments and other similar concepts such as WEB/GOV 2.0.

The recent global economic recession is one of the major reasons that forced World Economic Forum to present a totally new and revolutionary government model. There is nothing wrong in saying that F.A.S.T. is capable enough to meet all the challenges discussed above as it is flat and agile that is it is a fluid system and adapts to the changes quite easily.

Similarly, it has especially been streamlined to the requirements and needs of people and helps governments to perform better than ever before. Last but not the least, this system is tech enabled that is it encourages the use of latest technology to find the solutions to the problems governments have to encounter in the 21st century in order to perform according to the expectations of the masses.

In following lines, we study the fours aspects of this particular governance model in more detail.

Flatter:
This is system is ‘flatter’ in four key areas of the government. These four key areas are citizen management, decision making process, administrative efficiency and intergovernmental and cross sectional collaboration. This system is better, more responsive and offers timely information in the context of customers and constituents needs.

Agility:
The F.A.S.T. government model is also agile due to the fact that it is collaborative and leverages networks, responds and organizes as well as “de” organizes around changing opportunities and needs in timely fashion. It also fosters innovation by developing an agile workforce that is tech savvy, innovative, team oriented and responsive. In simple words, the F.A.S.T. model encourages evolution, continuous improvement, responsiveness and creation of leaner workforce.

Streamlined:
The F.A.S.T. model is streamlined to decision making, business process and operations as well as gathering, sharing and dissemination of information and data. Therefore, this very model of running governments is more transparent and fosters accountability as well as better access and use of data.

Tech Enabled:
The latest technological inventions have become a necessity to carry on day to day tasks and the governments are no different. The F.A.S.T. models also encourages the use of technology in government affairs by developing a tech savvy workforce, real time decisions and service delivery and the infusion of technology through government processes and communications. In simple words, F.A.S.T. promotes true interoperability and provides a holistic view of government driven by data and processes.

Concluding, it can be said that F.A.S.T. incorporates more open, effective and transparent governments. It encourages more citizen participation and connected governance in which all governmental departments are interdependent on each other rather than working as separate and independent entities. Approaches like Web 2.0/3.0 and cloud technologies make F.A.S.T. governments very feasible in which data is collected and used at a foundational level. However, we also need dedicated and motivated leadership to implement F.A.S.T. in all the countries to attain all these goals.

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