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OECD sets out to help public administrations go digital

Matteo Natalucci Published 25 September 2017

E-Leaders 2017 meeting in Lisbon discusses challenges and opportunities of public sector’s digital transformation


The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) last week hosted an event where civil servants had the chance to share digital transformation’s best practices. 

The 2017 E-Leaders meeting, labelled “Digital Transformation of the Public Sector: making the right decisions to serve the needs of networked societies”, brought together government CIOs, senior digital government decision makers, private sector, civil society and academia from OECD and partner countries. The delegates also the role of technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), blockchain, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning algorithms in supporting the public administrations.

Delegates examined emerging needs in terms of digital skills, interfaces and collaborations as well as the different options for commissioning IT goods and services in an age of disruption. The event also attempted to foster institutional openness and capacity to share, integrate and collaborate policies, which would allow public administrations to deliver user-driven services needed in networked societies.

The conference highlighted the role of social media, open data, algorithms and IoT in supporting public administrations to shift to more user-driven public services that would let users’ preferences drive the content of policies and services as well as crowdsource their inputs to define and shape solutions that better address their preferences. The event also provided an opportunity to discuss how to develop effective strategy to attract, develop and retain the required digital skills needed to support the organisational and cultural changes in the public sector to enable the emergence of a digital government.

Delegates assessed the role of data as an infrastructure for the government’s digital transformation and digitalisation to foster the development of tailored services to citizens and to spur digital innovation in the public sector. Recognising the need to identify data as a key strategic infrastructure and the management of the data value chain as crucial enabler of public sector improved service delivery and policy design and implementation.

Participants also discussed the topic of commissioning ICT in the digital age to enable new partnerships and business models to deliver public value technological alternatives ranging from open source to cloud computing, IoT, blockchain, AI and machine learning.  

Finally, the conference called on the public sector to navigate complexity, setting apart “buzz from value” to use new technologies strategically and develop new business models that maximise public value.

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