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2025 Public Administration Retreat Agenda

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ASPA as an organization.

By Marvin N. Pichla
June 5, 2021

One of the standard organizational tools used for long-range planning, customized training or change management activities is the “retreat” option. And just to be clear, a retreat is generally defined as, “A meeting where a group can step back from regular daily activities to discuss decisions, plans and goals to help build a strategic development document and provide a focus on the future.” So, given all of the challenges that those working in the public sector have faced over the last few years…wouldn’t it be timely to organize a first-of-its-kind Public Administration Retreat? More specifically what if YOU were tasked with the responsibility of drafting the inaugural 2025 Public Administration Retreat Agenda?

In response to this hypothetical special assignment, this article will utilize a public sector innovation theme and methodology to discuss the unique opportunities that would be discovered when creating an ALL government 2025 Public Administration Retreat Agenda. Specifically, it will consider the multitude of issues that could be logically placed on this agenda for any select group of public administration officials. This writing will also review local, state, national and international diversity impacts that could influence prioritizing agenda items. Finally, despite the “what if” potential of conducting a 2025 Public Administration Retreat, this article will offer conclusion comments regarding its value for all governmental levels and what sense of urgency surrounds this type of futuristic opportunity.

First, as the designated “creator” of an initial 2025 Public Administration Retreat Agenda, it would be necessary to determine in the most concise way a specialized “FAR-REACHING 5” priority list of topics. Also given that the proposed retreat would be targeted toward public agency leaders, a more generalized, awareness-based collection of progressive subjects may be most appropriate. Possible introductory public administration issues for the year 2025 may include but not be limited to:

  • Leadership
  • Education
  • Technology
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Partnerships

This draft FAR-REACHING-5 list of major topics may appear to be too broad in focus. However their versatility and expansive nature should encourage maximum participation from all attendees.

Public service LEADERSHIP would be logical kick-off topic. What new or revised expectations will be most important to leaders in the field of public administration in the year 2025 and beyond? Will worker health safety be less of a concern or will it be still expanding? Will the new generation of public sector professionals have a better handle on the impacts of political shifts in the workplace? Will there be an acceptable compromise between working remotely and in person? Will the need for well-trained public sector workers be decreasing? These discussion areas are just a small sample of great… common… LEADERSHIP questions!

Next, think about EDUCATION related to the field of public administration five years from now. Will all of the best courses only be available online? Will everyone ever positively accept the virtual meetings format? Will small, local-level governments/public administration officials be able to keep up with all of the learning/re-learning connected to regulatory developments? Will the “business” of public administration advance and change so much that a whole new series of EDUCATION and trainings be necessary?

Possibly the most elusive FAR-REACHING-5 2025 Public Administration Retreat Agenda topic would have to be TECHNOLOGY! The potential discussion items in this area would be totally endless and strategically diverse. Examples could include; (1) would there be a means of “commonizing” techno-systems for all levels of government; (2) could training in new software areas be annualized for better planning/personnel management; and (3) what actions could all public administrators take to ensure better cyber-security?

But what about public sector ENTREPRENEURSHIP? Think of the potential for building energy in the field of public administration with a segment of the 2025 Retreat Agenda totally dedicated to prioritizing ENTREPRENEURSHIP. Given the ever-growing need for creativity, new service alternatives and programmatic flexibility in the public sector, including ENTREPRENEUSHIP as one of the FAR-REACHING-5 topics on the Retreat Agenda would be necessary and prudent.

Finally, no future public administration planning agenda would be complete without a discussion on multi-purpose PARTNERSHIPS. The incidence and number of private and public sector shared service PARTNERSHIPS has grown progressively over the years. Additionally, all levels of government have wisely embraced the value of strategically partnering with qualified private sector businesses to expand public administration effectiveness and efficiency.

History has proven that timing is critical for the introduction of any new public administration initiative. This factor would be even more true for the planning and facilitation of a 2025 Public Administration Retreat. Organizing an agenda that would target discussions on a FAR-REACHING-5 group of topics related to: LEADERSHIP/EDUCATION/TECHNOLOGY/ENTREPRENEURSHIP/PARTNERSHIP…would empower it to be innovative, example-setting and categorically diverse. Likewise, the inclusive framework of this proposed retreat would enhance problem solving and idea sharing across the public administration arena, thus exemplifying a unified option for future collaboration progress.


Author: Marvin N. Pichla, Ph.D., is the owner and creative adviser of Inspiring Innovations, Inc. Sharing his unique entrepreneurship and innovation in public service experience, Marv consults with public and private business, education and community organizations to develop new and different problem-solving methods through real-life, example-based learning. Email: [email protected], @TRIPLEIIITIME

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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