Saturday, July 05, 2014

2014 United Nations Survey on E-Government

Last week, the UN published it's 2014 survey on e-government. I've been more than a little interested on how this one would look at the world of egov.  The Obama administration has placed a fair degree of emphasis on digital government, including important new aspects such as mobile services and open data. Nevertheless, as Craig Thomler points out in his analysis of national trends, the US has been on a regular decline according to the UN when compared to other top ranked egovernment nations.

The question for US egovernment evangelists, is "why is this the case?" and "what are the implications?"  Next we need to determine what we can to about it and make the necessary efforts to improve the way we are delivering information and services, if we determine that the implications are, at all, significant.  I pay attention to third party assessments like this because they not only impact public sentiment, but also provide an opportunity for improvement.

Take a look at Thomler's chart showing how the US is trending:

Another important question to ask is "what are nations like Singapore, Australia, and South Korea doing well that we should be understanding and learning from?" Why is it that the UK, which vowed to become the global leader in digital government has also seen a decline in the survey? Estonia, which many see as a global leader in egovernment innovation is still only ranked #15. Spain a country which fell out of the top 20 in 2012 after being ranked #9 in 2010, is back in at #12.  Kudos to all my friends making egovernment in Madrid, Barcelona, and beyond.

I still have a lot of work to do in going through the survey, understanding its findings, and determining how I can incorporate its recommendations into my specific microcosm, which is the digital government of the state of Utah. I expect and hope to find some good ideas.  

The survey calls for a paradigm shift within the public sector which incorporates the following ideas:
  • Become catalysts for change, instead of mere service providers
  • Operate in an integrated, collaborative manner across departments and agencies
  • Become pro-active instead of reactive anticipating problems
  • Transform mind-sets and build a culture of collaboration, transparency, and accountability
I can point to ways where we have been working on and seen progress in every recommendation made in the survey, but I can also easily point out areas where we fall short of perfection, and until we reach that objective, there is still work to be done.

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