Skip to content

Agile, user, and product-centric approaches have been part of government for over a decade, yet they have not resolved some of the core challenges that hinder the transformation of complex government services. Policy-operations disconnect, short-termism, silos, non-interoperability remain stubbornly present. But we may be about to see a radical change in the way government delivers public sector transformation. ‘Mission centricity’ could be the new and preferred delivery methodology and, implemented well, it could finally address some of those persistent challenges.   

What is Mission Centricity? 

Missions aren’t new – we’ve all heard about NASAs Moonshot mission – but there is a resurgence and re-evaluation of what they mean in a UK context. That’s because, in December 2023, the Labour party published its ‘five missions for Britain’.  

For Government, missions could be seen as an evolution of the ‘Outcome Delivery Plans’, introduced in 2020, that clarified priorities but stopped at Departmental boundaries. Missions, on the other hand, focus on long-term, complex outcomes that cut across multiple government departments and require a systemic view of challenges and solutions. 

With a new Labour government now in power, we’re about to see mission centricity boom across the public sector. How that improves outcomes for citizens is less clear. Having a mission doesn’t achieve anything.  Fundamental changes are needed in the way the public and private sector currently deliver government transformations if mission centricity is to be successful.  

Realising the potential of Mission Centricity   

Policy making

We must start by bringing policy and operational teams much closer together. Together, they can identify the right missions, understand the many services involved in delivering it, and then decide what to do about it. Mixed teams made up of policy, operational and delivery staff, seems like a small change but would have a massive impact. They can bridge the gap between policy, departments and citizens and, by incorporating user-centred design principles, they can ensure that policies are operationally feasible and aligned with the needs and expectations of citizens. 

A Policy Impacts digital twin, a digital model that harnesses the power of big data to forecast the impacts of policy changes before they are enacted, is a critical tool to support the effective delivery of the mission. It can bring policies and operational activity together to set the strategy, roadmap and identify – with a high degree of certainty – most impactful activities for the mission. No more unintentional outcomes, no more dealing with one part of the system only for it to cause pressure in another, no more operational unpreparedness because of policy decisions.  

Mission Culture 

Mission centricity needs to address the short-termism and short-sightedness of a system that works according to election cycles and team, directorate or departmental interests. This means a embedding a new mission centric culture. To held do this, Mission Level Strategic Research and Design approaches can discover shared objectives, pain points, and opportunities. They canbring together complex webs of inter-related services and help identify the long-term changes required to achieve the mission.  

To create truly end-to-end services, it’s essential for departments to collaborate beyond their traditional boundaries. This means breaking down silos and fostering a holistic view of mission delivery that considers the entire, long term user journey, where citizens don’t need to understand how government is structured or works. 

An integrated service might combine health, housing, and social care into a single, seamless experience for users, rather than requiring them to navigate multiple disjointed systems. This can be achieved through a global service design processes and efficient exchange of research insights between business units and departments. 

Mission Operating model

Done right, mission centricity will cut through the fog of complexity that acts as a constraint to a system wide approach to public sector transformation. Governance, through cabinet sub-committees, and SROs with authority across all the levers needed to achieve the mission will help. Real cross departmental working will need to go to the next level down: data controllers, enterprise services, programme managers and product owners need to sit in the gaps between departments to be free to deliver effectively.  They need to be enabled by programme management capabilities that reflect the complexity of mission centricity. Mission Centric Operating Model, with the people, processes, tools and approaches required, must simplify and codify the complexity, so that delivery can be achieved, and stakeholders can understand, interact and maintain alignment with the mission.  


The ultimate beneficiaries of government services are UK citizens. Therefore, a mission-oriented digital transformation must be citizen-centric, focusing on improving user experience and accessibility regardless of the department, technology, citizen touchpoint. To achieve this, it is essential to involve citizens directly in the design process through regular qualitative research, surveys, and workshops. 

Identifying and building common data standards, legislation and policies, technology platforms and the skills of the people delivering the services must reflect the interoperable ambition of government.  As part of this, organisations will need a heightened approach to digital ethics and cybersecurity to maintain trust and security.  

Critical tools for Mission Centric delivery  

Mission centricity is an opportunity for greater, more successful transformation across the public sector. But the potential benefits of this new approach aren’t guaranteed. They won’t appear unless government takes deliberate and meaningful action to put in place the tools, capabilities and ways of working needed to enable civil servants and the private sector to achieve the mission.   

Only holistic approaches ensure that the mission-centric transformation is truly citizen-centric, addressing the real needs and improving outcomes for everyone. 

That’s why, as many public sector Teams will be thinking about how they can adopt a mission centric approach, Hitachi has developed 4 key tools to help: 

Tick icon  Mission Centric Discovery:  A methodology to discover and define key missions that align with organisational goals and public sector priorities. It involves strategic research and collaborative efforts to identify shared objectives, pain points, and opportunities across business units, stakeholders and departments. 

Tick icon  Mission Centricity Design Sprints: Using the power of research, diverse perspectives and data to delve into complex user journeys that span end-to-end experiences for citizens, and ensure enterprise systems serve as an effective backbone supporting these experiences. We help you to identify interoperability dependencies and establish business processes crucial for achieving the mission’s goals. 

Tick icon  Mission Centric Operating Model: The design and implementation of a mission centric operational model creates the foundations for successful, hyper scaled, mission centric delivery. It aligns all activities, resources, and strategies with the core mission, ensures organisational coherence, maximises impact, and fosters a unified approach to achieving the mission’s objectives.  

Tick icon  Policy Impacts Digital Twin: A usable digital model that brings together policy and operational activity in a digital environment so that the impact of policy decisions can be tested, planned and implemented with confidence. A Digital Twin The Digital Twin will enhance decision-making, optimise performance, and reduce costs by providing real-time insights and simulations of complex physical systems that make up the mission.  

If you would like to speak to us about how these tools can help you make the most of mission centricity, please get in touch.  

Ben Brown

Author Spotlight

Ben Brown

Ben Leads our Defence, Security and Justice practice. As a former Civil Servant he brings deep public sector experience, previously holding senior DDaT and strategy roles at both the Home Office and Ministry and Justice. Ben also brings a wealth of consultancy experience supporting many complex government transformation projects with Accenture and Sopra Steria. He is passionate about User Centred Design and People centric transformation​.