A few weeks ago, I knew very little about digital government. Isn’t it just putting government services online to tick a box and say “yes, we’re digital”? No, not exactly. Digital government is about leveraging new technology to provide the best possible policies and services for citizens, and I’m really excited to be part of the SAP Institute for Digital Government (SIDG) where I can be part of this.
As a millennial, I value the access of information and services online and find it disappointing if I am unable to find what I need. SAP is one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world and their commitment to assisting the public sector to leverage the full potential of digital technologies is encouraging to see.
The SIDG has a particular focus on social protection with the aim to help governments bring more of the global population into a social safety net. Currently, only 27% of people around the world have coverage within a comprehensive social security system (ILO, 2015). That leaves 73% of people with minimal or no protection. If these people are no longer able to work for a number of reasons such as old age or health problems, they are suddenly left in an economic and socially vulnerable position.
Technological advances have provided opportunities like never before to bring these people into the social safety net, providing ways for even the poorest of people to accumulate savings.
As exciting as these new opportunities in social protection are, without innovative thinking and collaboration between the public sector and private sector organisations, the full potential of these opportunities will never be reached.
Innovation cannot happen on its own, it requires time and energy, the bringing together of experienced minds to discuss new ideas and tease out the implications. Round table events hosted by the SIDG, such as the recent one on “Social Protection – Exploring the use of data to improve social outcomes – managing a new moral hazard”, do just that.
On Monday (November 30), the SIDG in partnership with the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is conducting an executive roundtable on the topic of national security. Stay tuned for discussion papers and blog posts following that discussion as they are sure to be very interesting.
My first few weeks in the sphere of digital government has been fascinating. I am looking forward to contributing to the Institute’s program and the broader digital government discussion.