In February this year, the World Economic Forum wrote “…in a digital society, governments should innovate with the best of them”; they also introduced the term “platform society”. Later, in November another article called for governments “…to take the initiative, helping companies with the upfront costs of resetting production systems and rethinking how we build cities and move goods and people around”. The role of innovation by governments is often overlooked (its easy to forget that the Internet, GPS and GSM emerged from government funded programs).
On how Governments can innovate with businesses: I believe there must be a deeper understanding of the nature and role of government; federal, regional and local. In my opinion, government’s primary value contribution is in creating a safe environment for its people and a level playing field for businesses to create products and services. In this capacity, government are regulators and business developers and service providers (or governmental businesses providing services that parliament has deemed essential for society). These multiple roles can complicate government’s collaboration with non-governmental businesses.
From a technology platform perspective, the generative nature of platforms seem to offer solutions that address the multiple roles mentioned above. In our paper Government as a platform, our closing sections issues a call to discuss the nature of Digital Commons – cross-sectoral digital commons and sectoral digital commons. I sense that Public Service Platforms can serve as multi-sided platforms that generate other platforms; ultimately creating ecosystems that can serve a digital society transparently and equitably.
Much needs to be done, much needs to be understood and disseminated. The future is exciting.
To be continued…
PS! I do hope that we can shift the narrative to value creation and tone down the hype of digitalisation.