“A confluence of technological, demographic, social and economic forces is enabling societies to fundamentally redesign how government operates, how and what the public sector provides, and ultimately, how governments interact and engage with their citizens.” (Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, November 2007, authors of “Wikinomics: how mass collaboration changes everything”)
The 21st Century is heralding a decisive step-change in our expectations of government and the public sector. In most other aspects of our lives, whether at work, in our free-time, or as consumers, we are increasingly using sophisticated and powerful ICT applications such as the Internet, Wikipedia, YouTube, Facebook, LinkedIn, Second Life, Google, as well as many other empowering and collaborative tools that change the way services can be delivered.
From governments, we demand high efficient service delivery, top quality, rapid response to our queries, and to have our highly personal wishes and needs precisely catered for. But we are wary of giving them our own personal data or too much power. Whereas achieving some of these expectations was never an option in the past, ICTs may enable them in the future.
These are the new expectations that the public sector, through eGovernment, has been attempting to meet, with many successes to date but also many failures. In the right circumstances, we know eGovernment can organise its internal collaboration and access to information better with the use of ICTs. But, to go beyond the successes of the past ten years, we must adjust our governance structures, processes and mindsets to cope with the full potential impact of the technology. This is the next big challenge, and it is likely to require a step-change in technology, institutions and thinking, both in terms of service orientation and in terms of information assurance:
“A confluence of technological, demographic, social and economic forces is enabling societies to fundamentally redesign how government operates, how and what the public sector provides, and ultimately, how governments interact and engage with their citizens” (Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams, November 2007, authors of “Wikinomics: how mass collaboration changes everything”).
With these expectations and challenges in mind, the European Commission has asked an experienced team of experts to think the unthinkable and provide the Commission and EU Member States with reasoned, pragmatic and visionary insights for the future.
Building on historical analyses to better understand the impact of technology innovation and social change on the role of government, as well as on an analysis of today’s key trends in technology and governance, leading thinkers and practitioners will be consulted. They will be presented with explicit scenarios representing major possible futures, and asked to help develop foresight to achieve further improvements in efficient (cheaper), effective (fulfilling promises) and interactive (between citizens and their governments) services through the transformational application of information and communications technologies.
This moment in time is an historic turning point. We will apply our understanding of innovative transformation in the public sector to the emergent European digital space to cater for the needs of mobile citizens and businesses as they interact with public authorities across the continent, as well as the role the Commission can play in supporting these developments within the wider EU policy context, post 2010.