Successful transformation projects have the following features: aspirational goals, a balanced portfolio of pragmatic initiatives, and an integrated nerve centre planning team sprints.  Every challenge of the Covid-19 twin transition requires a decidedly agile mind-set and a scrum framework. Implementing an agile mind-set within government can be challenging. Government agencies are waterproof to any form of freshness. During a crisis, transformation teams do not track progress at a casual cadence.

Only an Agile Mind-set, or manifesto or a set of conventions that a team chooses to follow on how to create and respond to change and how to deal with uncertainty and succeed, can create an enabling environment for transformation. Governments are experiencing penetrating pressure to deliver better performance within a high-stakes, often opaque milieu of matchless change during the pandemic portal.

An unenthusiastic work culture in matrixed government agencies is partly a function of archaic public sector regulations, and a function of habit.  Repetition, risk aversion and routine removes any prospect to reimagine work. The shift away from a personnel model of imperial administration towards a human resource model is a constellation of beliefs shift. It is a movement away from “control of workers” towards approaches suited to the “management of work”.

Transformation opacity and drag is created when human resource departments are created in government departments but the constitutional functions of appointments, promotions, transfers and discipline remain in cryptic Commissions. Digit-agility and delegation of authority will increase productivity and agility with Commissions retaining only a monitoring function.

Declaring a “Digital Decade for Development” creates an Agenda 10 for the Caribbean. Just twenty months ago, “lockdowns,” “mask mandates” and “social distancing” were unknown concepts. Smart island states are equitable islands – spaces where anyone and everyone has access to services justly. Covid-19 has unmasked “internet inequality”. The internet is the gateway to many vital services, such as e-identity, e-health platforms, ACH checks, and mobile-wallets.

Regrettably, access to digital infrastructure and connectivity remains relentlessly limited in the world’s poorest countries. Responses to COVID-19 has harmed the unbanked, the overlooked and the unremarkables, creating a “New Poor”. The virus threatens to push millions more into poverty after years of slow progress in reducing the number of people living on less than US$1.90/day.

The COVID-19 portal is ushering the first reversal in the fight against extreme poverty in a generation.  For developing economies, the transition to green sectors—including renewables, energy storage, electric vehicles, green buildings, and waste recycling—present new opportunities for skilled jobs and economic transformation. But whether countries can access these benefits will depend on their climate strategies, their approach to carbon pricing, access to finance, and a conducive investment climate.

The organizational problems that bedevil government institutions are, much like performance pain points, both countless and wide-ranging, particularly across loosely coupled departments that operate within rigid regulatory frameworks. Leadership turnover associated with five year political cycles further compound these challenges. Additionally, bureaucrats remain risk averse. Civil servants fear that they are more likely to be interdicted for failure than rewarded for taking risks on the fringes of problem frames.

In many cases, leaders work with the team to which they are assigned and they have no authority to overhaul or build their team from scratch. Principals of state schools are expected to lead but have no input in the appointment of teachers, Deans, or Heads of Departments. This privilege is reserved for schools encircled by a Concordat. Consequently, making structural changes can feel close to impossible. Attracting and retaining top talent is not only onerous but a remote aspiration. Classifications establish the minimum criteria for eligibility but seniority trumps talent every time.

Section 4, founded by NYU Professor Scott Galloway, raised US $30M to democratize elite Business School Education. Section 4 offers state of the art courses taught by illustrious professors from ivy league universities residing in 60+ different countries. The syllabus is what is in progress. The entanglements of real work problems. Section 4 education is relevant. The emphasis is on futureproofing the never normal ahead. To “Join a Sprit” or “Sprint with a Team” – click and your request is held in the queue until the next available slot opens up. That is not just development. It is the democratization of business education. Section 4 has removed every unfreedom to learn.

Section 4 has demolished onerous, lengthy, time consuming application systems that can be clunky and difficult to navigate. Price point is a fraction of the cost. Section 4 is building the density of thinkers in hotbeds and economies like Miami. Cities in which low code/no code academies are already nurturing citizen-developers and amplifying developer-density. All of this fecundity while others buttress the stability of brick and mortar intuitions with legacy thinking.

Large water states in the West Indies may consider initiating a Digital Decade for Development by first measuring the digital ability – and the agility – of digital infrastructure across CARICOM member states. This activity can set out to investigate the digital leadership capabilities of the CARICOM states in terms of digital readiness, innovation, and competitiveness and to determine the relationship among these variables. The output will be a CSME Digitagility Index.