Citizen Engagement Citizen Experience Workshop Videos

Delivering Transformation

At our workshop in London a few weeks ago we asked Abigail Gilbert of think-tank NLGN and Stephen Morgan of Squiz to discuss how digital initiatives might work to enhance public service provision.

Abigail and Stephen chatted about how authorities are engaging, increasingly with platforms and smart city infrastructure to improve things – with a strong focus on procurement issues, as well as citizen-driven attitudes.

Citizen Engagement Workshop Speakers

Social Relationships and GovTech

Abigail Gilbert
Abigail Gilbert

According to Abigail Gilbert of the New Local Government Network, “Technology is an enabler of new social relationships. But it can only present opportunities for social change to the extent that these changes are conceived and explored by the people who design and create it. For civ-tech and gov-tech to make people more creative, collaborative, and self-determining, councils play a key role in ensuring that design is democratically influenced, and service user-centric.”

Abigail will be discussing these ideas at our upcoming ‘conversations workshop‘ on April 27. She’ll be joined in conversation by Jeffrey Peel, Editor of Citizen2020, and Stephen Morgan, Co-Founder of Squiz.

Citizen Engagement Digital Government Workshop Speakers

Integrating City Services

Ricky Morton is responsible for defining the ‘Digital Kingston: Smart Borough’ strategy and leading on open data, smart city infrastructure, web and digital presence, customer experience and digital transformation.

Ricky will be presenting at our London workshop on April 27 and will focus on integrated city services. He also promises a pop quiz as part of his presentation.

If you’d like to attend the workshop we have a few places left. You can find out more about the workshop and pre-register here.

Citizen Engagement Workshop Speakers

Digital Public Service: Delivering?

One of our speakers at our upcoming London seminar is Mark Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems at University of Cambridge, Judge Business School.  Mark is also Strategy Director of Methods Group.  A couple of years ago Mark, in conjunction with co-authors Alan W Brown and Jerry Fishenden, published a book called Digitizing Government: Understanding and implementing new digital business models.  

An extract of the book is below. At our workshop on April 27 at the Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, London, Mark will elaborate on some of the themes presented below and update us on progress in digital public service delivery in the UK and beyond.

Public sector agencies across the world are attempting a transition from closed, top-down, bureaucratic, and paper-based transactional models towards online, integrated digital offerings that encourage a new kind of interaction between citizens and the state.

This journey towards “digital public service delivery” appears to be reaching a critical point. The confluence of citizen demand for greater speed and more transparency in service delivery is being met with increased appetite within the public sector to deliver services in more innovative ways. This is happening through the use of open technologies; diversity of delivery agents including increased involvement of smaller companies; and more agile delivery practices to demonstrate meaningful progress earlier in a project’s lifecycle.

The context within which this digital public services revolution is occurring is the much broader transformation taking place in our personal lives and how we conduct business – driven by a constant stream of digital technology changes, optimised production practices, and flexible global delivery models.

There has been a sea change in the way consumers expect to use technology – it has become cheap, easy to use, consumable like a utility, always on, mobile, and open; working seamlessly with everything else. We have become sophisticated consumers and users of such technologies, and of the flexibility and freedoms these enable. Consequently, there is an increasing demand to see these same benefits realised in public services as everywhere else.

One driver of this digital transformation has been the use of technology platforms, whether these are proprietary, like Apple’s iOS, or more open, like Google’s Android. Such platforms provide standardised environments that stimulate whole ecosystems of businesses to build products and services, attracted by the volume of demand that these platforms generate. Platforms can drive astonishing rates of innovation, investment, choice and competition.

However, until recently very little of this platform-based thinking – and its associated benefits – have been taken up within our public services. The contrast between these emerging business models based on digital platforms and our public services is stark – the latter are underpinned by idiosyncratic processes, point solutions, top-down assumptions about users’ needs, and out-dated systems.

The challenge is to build an understanding among public officials of the radical impact that common service platforms might have on their operations and organisational models. There continues to be a general lack of awareness of how digital technology changes public service design to deliver agile, easy-to-use, consumerised services at lower cost and in a way that emulates our daily experiences in the private sector.

This lack of understanding – and the missed opportunity for public services – crystallises the need to build a common view of what the transition to digital public service delivery actually involves. Most importantly, digital technology needs to impact and influence the design and operation of public services as they are being developed and evolved, rather than being applied merely as a means of automating an existing process.

The UK has a renewed focus on making digital part of the culture of the public sector at both central and local government. This will entail a revolution in the design and operation of public services that can capitalise upon developments in technology and the emergence of digital organisations to create services that better meet citizens’ needs, develop channels that offer efficiency and increase inclusion to all citizens, and re-invent service supply chains to deliver faster, cheaper, and more effectively.

A variety of “online” approaches have been tried before and yet have largely failed. This time, delivery and execution must be on a much broader front than technology alone. There are proven models that the public sector needs to adopt – most fundamentally, the move to a digital, 21st century organisation. This will require cultural, capability and leadership improvements across people, communities, and clients; organisation and delivery; platforms and interfaces; infrastructure and technology.

This digitisation of public services needs to be built on the application of open technical standards and platform-based architectural principles. Sustainable and meaningful reform and improvement will only be achieved when there is an equal relationship between internal organisational and digital services transformation – significantly improving our public services in the digital economy.

This is an excerpt from Digitizing Government: Understanding and implementing new digital business models, which was published on 3 December 2014. 

Citizen Engagement Citizen Experience Workshop Speakers

International Fashion Retailing and Government?

At our upcoming workshop in London on April 27 we’ll be welcoming Nick Vat, Managing Partner of Syzergy Limited, as a guest speaker. Nick has been working with local government clients on transformation initiatives designed to make them much more citizen-engaged. He has also applied some of the approaches he has adopted with commercial sector clients.

In fact, Nick will co-present on April 27 with one such private sector client – a major international fashion retailer. They will describe how a focus on the non-technical elements of the transformation was critical to delivering the change and, in particular, why they believe this will ensure the benefits are sustainable.

Our speaker line-up for our London event also includes:

Mark Thompson, Senior Lecturer in Information Systems, University of Cambridge, Judge Business School

Charbel Aoun, Digital Innovation and Transformation Evangelist, and Non-Executive Director, Future Cities Catapult

Abigail Gilbert, Researcher, New Local Government Network (NLGN) – a ThinkTank focused on local government

David Moody, VP & Global Business Leader | Digital First EM at Verint

If you would like to register for a place please visit our event page and complete the web form.

Citizen Engagement Digital Government

New UK Government Digital Strategy

Last week the UK government (specifically DCMS – the Department for Culture, Media and Sport) published its new “Digital Strategy for the Digital Economy.”  Much of what’s in the document is motherhood and apple pie. The document paints a grand vision for “an economy which is resilient to change and fit for the future.” But there are a number of specific pledges to make the provision of government services more fit for the future.

We’ll be discussing some of the themes contained in the strategy at our upcoming digital transformation workshop in London on April 27. But, in the meantime, the strategy itself may be useful reading. Here’s a link to the Executive Summary.

The strategy commits to “develop single cross-government platform services, including by working towards 25 million GOV.UK Verify users by 2020 and adopting new services onto the government’s GOV.UK Pay and GOV.UK Notify platforms.” We discussed Gov.UK Verify at length in our recent Northern Powerhouse workshop in Newcastle upon Tyne.  So this strategic commitment is to be welcomed.

The Strategy also commits to “work, across government and the public sector, to harness the potential of digital to radically improve the efficiency of our public services – enabling us to provide a better service to citizens and service users at a lower cost.”

We’ll discuss this commitment, also, in our London workshop. Be sure to register now, places are filling up fast.

Citizen Engagement Workshop Videos

The Inclusion Conundrum

The digital revolution has been great but it has left some people behind. This is an issue for government as it increasingly moves into the digital realm. Minority groups, the elderly, the poor, can sometimes have their circumstances made relatively worse if they can’t do the things that the rest of us take for granted.

At our recent Conversations Workshop in San Francisco we had the chance to discuss digital and social exclusion with Melinda Epler of Change Catalyst and Aekta Shah of Streetwyze.  Change Catalyst “empowers diverse, inclusive and sustainable tech innovation – through education, mentorship and funding.”  The Streetwyze app “is the world’s first neighborhood navigator powered by local knowledge.”

Citizen Engagement Citizen Experience Workshop Videos

Cities and Accessibility

In our recent Citizen2020 Workshop in San Francisco I had the opportunity to discuss government website accessibility issues with Stephen Morgan of Squiz.

Squiz works with many government departments, and city government, in the USA, UK and Australia, helping to develop interaction portals and information resources designed for ALL citizens (including those with visual impairment).

Citizen Engagement Workshop Videos

Cities, Processes and Blockchain

Not all citizen to government engagement is that easy. Often the business process can be complex and involve many interactions. For example planning applications, or land registration. Moreover, the outcome of the interactions can be very important and have significant financial or legal implications.

It’s for this reason that many business processes that define citizen to government interaction still rely on paper shuffling. However, there is, potentially, an opportunity for emerging digitally defined and secure processes to become more widely used.

In this video discussion Jeffrey Peel interviews Alan Morrison of PwC about how Blockchain, the technology that underpins Bitcoin, may have an obvious use-case in city government.

Citizen Engagement Digital Policy Workshop Videos

Open Data. Open Cities.

There has been much discussion on this site about the opportunities that open data provides for enhanced government service. At our recent San Francisco workshop we had the chance to discuss some of the ‘next waves’ of open data policy with the advent of more sensor networks and the availability of more environmental data.

In this discussion we touch on how environmental agencies are increasingly embracing digital engagement techniques to get more citizens more savvy about their local environments. We touch on the likely impact of a Trump presidency on environmental issues and the way forward for the environmental movement in an increasingly joined-up world.

In the video Jeff Peel, Editor Citizen2020, interviews Jayant Kairam of the Environmental Defense Fund and Bruce Wolfe of the Sunshine Ordinance Task Force, San Francisco.