Digital Government Workshop Videos

Martin Taylor: Digital Transformation or Evolution?

Martin Taylor from Content Guru (part of Redwood Technologies) presented at our recent workshop in London and suggested that digital transformation of government may not be quite as possible as some would suggest.

He asserts that as an IT service provider to public sector he needs to work on the evolution of technology rather than its wholesale replacement.


Digital Government Workshop Videos

Stephen Roberts: Digital Policing Review

At our recent Conversations Workshop in the Town Hall Hotel, Bethnal Green, Stephen Roberts of Vigilant Research provided an overview of the Digital Policing Review – a project that looks at how police forces are adopting digital ways of working.

The Digital Policing Review was set up around 18 months ago by Stephen, previously the Managing Director of Kable – the public sector analyst firm.

In his presentation Stephen outlines how technology and process, in policing, need to speak the same language.


Digital Government Workshop Videos

Mark Thompson: Platforms and Government

Mark Thompson was our opening keynote speaker at our recent ‘digital transformation’ workshop in London.

His presentation covered 2 main themes:

  • “Why the public services model is totally knackered in the age of the internet”
  • “Why platform based businesses are the answer”

So the presentation was certainly provocative – and very, very interesting.


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 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.

Digital Government

Perspectives: Digital Transformation of Government

digitransWe have prepared a short ‘perspectives’ paper summarizing some of the more interesting articles published about Digital Transformation of Government during 2016.

The paper references source material published by IDC, McKinsey, 18F and others.

If you would like a copy please just take a moment to register your details and you can download it right away. Click here.


Digital Government Digital Policy

Country as a Service

Taavi Kotka
Taavi Kotka

One of the more interesting presentations at the recent Nordic Digital Day was by Taavi Kotka, of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Estonia. Taavi has had a varied career in software development, as well as government. He has founded several startups and holds a Masters in Engineering from Tallinn University. Therefore his profile is not typical of most civil servants.

Taavi’s presentation at the conference focused on the idea of Country as a Service. He used Estonia as an exemplar of what’s possible. In effect Estonia is setting up its stall to provide core government services, and ancillary services, to organisations and individuals outside of Estonia.

A good example is starting up and registering a business. In many countries in the world it’s not exactly easy to create a business. Some administrations make it positively difficult. However, Estonia has established the concept of e-residency – where business owners can remain resident in the USA, UK or Philippines (or wherever) but establish a business in Estonia – an EU country – very easily. In a post-Brexit world, this could be very handy for many companies.

So, why Estonia? Well the little country has developed state-of-the-art processes that make e-residency very easy. Around this they have wrapped many other government services that make conducting business very easy. And the private sector is keen to get involved too.

If states fail to redesign and simplify the machinery of bureaucracy and make it location-independent, there will be an opportunity for countries that can offer such services across borders.

Estonia has learned that it’s incredibly important in a small state to serve primarily small and micro businesses. In order to sustain a nation on this, we must automate and digitize processes to scale. Estonia’s model, for instance, is location-independent, making it simple to scale successfully. We hope to acquire at least 10 million digital residents (e-Residents) in a way that is mutually beneficial by the nation-states where these people are tax residents.

Taavi Kotka, Chief Information Officer of Estonia

Read more…

Digital Government Digital Policy

Nordic Digital Day

ndd2016_logoWe have written a lot on this site about how Estonia has established itself as one of the most innovative and progressive nations in terms of eGovernment. Therefore I’m delighted to be joining over 400 others converging on Tallinn, Estonia on May 27, for Nordic Digital Day.

The event, according to the organisers (the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Estonia) will be “all about the data-driven society. The aim is to explore how different countries are deploying practices of data analytics, data-driven decision making, future prediction and innovation in the public sector.”

The program sounds fascinating, but we’re also keen to meet with delegates and speakers at the event and showcase, here on Citizen20Series, what initiatives different governments are taking to embed new digital practices in government service delivery. We’re especially keen to find out about citizen engagement and participation projects.

If you are attending Nordic Digital Day and would like to meet to tell your story for the site, please do contact us using the form below.

Fill out my online form.


Digital Government Digital Policy

UK: A Future in Digital?

I could hear some sucking through teeth when a questioner at last week’s Brands2Life UK: A Leading Digital Nation? event implied that the majority of the tech industry was opposed to Brexit. Perhaps that’s because I was sitting behind Viscount Ridley. The issue of Brexit could easily have dominated the discussion at Portcullis House. But, then, so could so many other topics.

One panellist fixated on the ‘sharing economy’ as the route to a digital nation. Another touched on broadband speeds. Another hopped over a host of digital topics: innovation, skills, regulation.

It was, of course, impossible to reach any conclusion. The room was packed at Portcullis House with people with very different digital and political perspectives. The panel, that included Matt Warman MP, did its best to cover several of the issues. The people in the room – including Viscount Ridley – were itching for their say. The report, produced to coincide with the event, includes lots of important sounding calls to action by important sounding people.

Click here for a summary of the debate

The challenge, in making the UK a leading digital nation, is that nobody really agrees how to achieve it. To an extent it will happen (or not happen) by default. It is, indeed, questionable what role government will play. And there is an argument, of course, that the government should simply keep its nose out as much as possible and let the tech sector get on with it with minimal regulation and minimal intervention. After all, it’s the private sector that gave us the concept of single-click identity management, the sharing economy, and superlative on-line customer experience (not the government).

Also, the problem with events like this (and this is not the fault of Brands2Life who are to be applauded for organising it) is that they tend to focus on the known and the incremental. We all know now about the “sharing economy”. It’s in the public domain. We’ve all had a ride on Uber. But rarely do such events challenge convention or lob in a black swan scenario to discuss.

The United Kingdom is changing and none of us really has any idea how digital will be our salvation or our downfall. All we can do is look at the best bits and try to adopt them to the best of our ability, hoping we’re doing the right thing.

The trouble with government IT is that it’s much too slow at adopting the best bits and using technology to make government smaller and more efficient at the same time. Government is glacially slow to change and the Government Digital Service (GDS) is not the answer. There is never a simple causal fix to an incredibly complex problem.

GDS may help. It can’t do any harm to have a nimble, tech-savvy team at the heart of government (unless it gets too big). But it’s not a solution. Similarly, the “sharing economy” is not, of itself, any panacea or delivery merchant for the UK becoming a digital nation.

But discussion is good. It encourages ideas to germinate and it helps identify new markets for technology companies to serve. Because it’s the technology companies – especially the nimble and innovative ones – that will ultimately deliver the component parts of the UK’s success as a digital nation.

Citizen Engagement Digital Government Uncategorized

Engaging Millennials

I have lost track of the number of times articles on customer and citizen engagement talk about millennials and their unique characteristics – it seems to have reached mythical dimensions. So what is this “millennial phenomenon?”

What sets millennials apart from other generations, namely Baby Boomers and Gen-Xrs, is that this is the first generation to grow up in an interactive digital world – the so-called “digital natives.” To millennials, mobile and social technologies are what the telephone and the radio were for Baby-Boomers in their youth. Immediately accessing information and instantly communicating and sharing is second nature for this generation.

As a result, they expect not only immediacy of information but also brevity and conciseness of communication. It’s not that they have the attention span of a child but, rather, they have been conditioned to quickly process high volumes of information. They are also very visual; not surprising considering that the average young adult watches over 500 videos on line a month – from a collection of 75+ billion videos available on line (Comscore Video Metrix survey 2014). Given the gargantuan volume of information available digitally, millennials tend to be very selective about the information (or services) they want. And, in the process of getting them, they seek to have a personalized experience.

Given all that has been written about millennials, one would think the differences run far deeper. But the evidence seems to indicate that is not the case. IBM conducted a study about the preferences and behavioral patterns of millennials in the workplace. Their findings: Other than for their technology savvy, millennials are a lot like their older colleagues. They have similar career aspirations, desire for recognition and level of comfort making decisions on their own. A Fizziology report on social media communications found that, by and large, all three generations converse on-line about popular social topics a comparable amount.

So how to best engage millennials? Here are some tips from the experts:

– With smartphones and tablets as their standard equipment, mobile presence is a must. The key here is that the on-line experience across platforms has to be seamless, regardless of the device being used.

– Keep in mind that millennials span three decades and, as a result, there is a lot of variation in their interests and preferences. The youngest millennials are still teenagers while the oldest ones are marrying and having children. When developing an engagement strategy, you need to ensure you utilize the channels and platforms that your target millennial segment utilizes. Just as important, the content you create needs to be relevant to the channel where it is published. Otherwise, it will not resonate with your target audience.

– Appeal to their visual sense and desire for a personalized experience by using interactive applications. Applications that allow the user to zoom, spin, rotate and interact with an object virtually the same way one would with a real product will provide for a more engaging and personalized experience.

– Keep the communications brief and concise. Otherwise you run the risk of losing your audience’s attention.

You might note that there is little mention about social media here. While social media is a great tool for marketing products and services to millennials, it has limited utility in eGovernment applications. Why? Because of privacy concerns. Millennials are keenly aware of data mining practices of social media providers and they want to keep aspects of their life such as their dealings with the government private. To wit, a recent Accenture #AFSFedPulse survey found that only 20% of millennials living in the Washington DC metro-area would use Facebook or Twitter to receive information from the government.

So, yes, millennials are different – but not so different.