3 Ways to Prepare Yourself for the Unexpected

The challenge with expecting the unexpected is no one can predict the unknown. In 2020, agencies learned the hard way that disaster comes in many forms. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated even the best recovery plans do not cover every catastrophe.

No matter how much turbulence surprises the public sector, they can weather it through flexibility, innovation and resilience. The more agile agencies are, the more prepared they are for tomorrow’s challenges.

Enterprise automation can boost agencies’ elasticity and nimbleness, said Damien Eversmann, Staff Solutions Architect at Red Hat, Inc., an open source software provider.

Eversmann provided three tips for rebounding from COVID-19 using innovation, determination and an open mind.

1. Embrace Agility

Ten months in, the coronavirus crisis has exposed many disaster preparations as short-sighted. Agencies did not anticipate a viral infection lingering longer than harmful weather conditions such as hurricanes. For scores of agencies, COVID-19 has revealed how they are only prepared to quickly rebound from setbacks and nothing else.

“Disaster planning is perpetually chasing our tail trying to figure out what the unknowns are,” Eversmann said. “We’re not going to figure out all the unknowns.”

As agencies become more agile, their workers can react to hurdles such as COVID-19 with fewer disruptions to the products and services they deliver. Agencies can grow more agile by analyzing and making decisions about their data quicker and more efficiently.

2. Find Silver Linings

Obstacles can be opportunities for growth. According to Eversmann, the unanticipated can jolt agencies into innovation and transformation.

“Troubled times are when we change, and they are when we change the best,” he said.

Take the shift to remote work that many agencies implemented as COVID-19 spread. While trying, the switch helped many agencies improve the processes and technology involved in working remotely.

“Everything is jumbled up, you might as well reorganize it,” Eversmann said.

3. Automate Enterprise-wide

Automation performs processes and procedures for people with little to no human help. When applied enterprise-wide, automation can make agencies more efficient, reliable and speedy.

Using automation, agencies can free their workers from chores such as changing users’ passwords. Gradually, these employees gain more time to brainstorm solutions to the public’s problems.

“Enterprise automation looks at everything from a higher level and asks, ‘How can we connect these together?’” Eversmann said.

Enterprise-wide automation not only clears more space for innovation, it makes agencies more agile. Leaning on enterprise automation, agencies can roll with the punches thrown this — or any — year.

“If we’re going to put a positive spin on 2020, there are a lot of people with more of an open mind for change,” Eversmann said.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Reinventing Government: 20 Innovations for 2020.” Download the full guide here.

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