Public Sector

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Strategy

We help public institutions build and execute strategies to achieve their policy and organizational goals.

Public-sector organizations around the world face important questions about how to fulfill their core mission, respond to political and environmental changes, and deliver services to citizens despite reduced budgets. To answer these questions, organizations must undertake rigorous strategic planning—a process that can be difficult, especially in the context of a diverse stakeholder environment with numerous and often divergent interests and priorities.

What we do

Working in collaboration with senior leaders, we help public-sector organizations set a vision for strategic outcomes, build a robust fact base, rigorously assess options under uncertainty, design an actionable plan, win support from key stakeholders, and evaluate progress from design through execution to ensure that strategies have lasting impact.

Drawing on insights from the private sector and decades of public-sector work, we support clients on a range of strategic topics, including identifying social, economic, and technology trends; synchronizing budgeting and strategic-planning processes; designing stakeholder-engagement plans; and creating innovation programs at scale. We advise public-sector agencies varying in size, scope, and geography—from regional health agencies in Africa to school districts in US cities, from national defense departments to municipal infrastructure and technology teams.

Examples of our work

In the past 5 years alone, we have supported more than 1,000 public-sector strategy projects. Examples include the following:

  • advising a national government in Asia on a competitive tourism strategy that has led to revenue growth and significant job creation
  • helping a government agency bring together three subagencies that had historically developed their own strategic plans, creating an integrated approach with broad staff support
  • supporting a US government agency in overhauling its approach to strategic priority setting; specific tasks included helping the client build alignment and develop a shared prioritization process used by all ministers and senior officials
  • assisting a major African government's tax division in transforming its process for handling budget planning and revenue allocation in the face of significant demographic and economic changes, resulting in improved collection rates
  • supporting an Asian municipality in creating a strategic road map to grow into a major metropolis, attracting significant private investment, developing a "go live" plan for a new automotive zone, and implementing new urban-planning incentives to ensure sustainable growth

Our global team of consultants has access to proprietary research, tools, and solutions that have been successfully tested and applied in various contexts. For example, the McKinsey Center for Government's research on strategies for government innovation offers insights on how successes achieved in one department can be appropriately scaled across a national government. We use proven approaches, such as the portfolio of initiatives and senior-team workshops, to help our clients identify solutions, accelerate innovation, and drive on-the-ground change.

Featured experts

Andres Cadena

Senior Partner, Bogotá

Jörg Schubert

Senior Partner, Dubai

Impact story

A large US agency rallies employees around a new strategic plan

In the process of developing a new strategic plan, a government agency unified a fragmented organization and reenergized its teams.

Related insights

Book Excerpt - McKinsey Global Institute

How do you govern a disrupted world?

– Seismic economic shifts are placing new demands on governments globally. In this excerpt from the new book No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All the Trends, its authors explain how policy makers can respond.