Since the turn of the millennium, pandemics, heat waves, wildfires, floods, cyberattacks, supply chain interruptions, and other crises have deeply stressed governments, communities, businesses, and individuals around the world.
Contributing Authors: Rob Handfield, Bank of America University Distinguished Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management, North Carolina State University and Tony Scott, President and CEO, Intrusion, Inc.
This cascade of
catastrophic events raises fundamental questions
about how governments can anticipate, prepare for,
and respond to these and other shocks yet to come.
Shocks transcend geographic, jurisdictional, political,
and organizational boundaries. Furthermore,
adaptation, preparation, and response to shock
events cannot be the responsibility of a single sector,
program, agency, or level of government. Instead, the
key to success—and the root cause of many failures—
lies within the capabilities of individual network
participants and the strength of the network before,
during, and after an upheaval. Simply put, complex
problems cannot be solved in silos.
What practical steps can governments take in the
near term to better prepare for and respond to future
shocks? IBM, working through the IBM Institute for
Business Value (IBV), the IBM Center for The
Business of Government (the IBM Center), and in
partnership with the National Academy of Public
Administration (the Academy), launched an initiative
to help governments identify core capabilities critical
to building resilience. The initiative also addressed
priorities included in the “Grand Challenges for Public
Administration” put forth by the Academy.
Global sessions were combined with regional and
local sessions through partners including the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and
Development (OECD), the Center for American
Studies (CSA), and the American Chamber of
Commerce in the Netherlands (AmCham).
The partners convened a series of international
roundtable discussions with global leaders from the
public, private, academic, and nonprofit sectors to
capture lessons across five key domain areas:
emergency preparedness and response, cybersecurity,
supply chain, climate sustainability, and workforce
development. Insights from the roundtables identified
valuable strategies and solutions to drive governmental
action. A roundtable on a sixth domain, international
collaboration, is scheduled for 2024 and will be
reported on separately. To learn more about the
initiative, read the blog, ‘Preparing Governments for
Future Shocks’ or listen to the podcast with Michael J.
Keegan, IBM Center for The Business of Government.
Based on the common themes that emerged from the
roundtable discussions, this compendium report lays
out a roadmap of eight imperatives—a guide that
governments at all levels can use to anticipate, prepare
for, and respond to shocks of virtually any origin. These
imperatives and related practices do not constitute an
exhaustive list. Instead, they reflect expert insights
presented in a roundtable discussion context. Finally,
this compendium does not substitute for individual
roundtable reports that provide more details and