Research - 16.10.2016 - 00:00 

Exploring "smart government"

The way in which digitalisation is changing the work of administration is being explored by the University of St.Gallen in its new Smart Government Lab. On 3 November, a conference will focus on the changes which are in store for government and administration.

17. Oktober 2016. 17 October 2016. The Smart Government Lab is located at the Institute for Systemic Management and Public Governance (IMP-HSG). Its responsibilities include the management of the new competence centre that is being established and the organisation of workshops. It coordinates researchers who work on individual topics in detail and publishes results in consultation with the practice partners. For the time being, the Lab is scheduled to run for five years (2017-2021).

Development cannot be stopped

Why is the IMP-HSG devoting a new research focus to the issue of "smart government", and what are the burning questions? "In the last few years, digital technologies have resulted in new business models which have the potential to subject our economy and society to fundamental change. This development can’t be stopped and won’t spare government and public administration either," explains Prof. Dr. Kuno Schedler, IMP Director and Professor of Public Management at the University of St.Gallen. He mentions companies such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, Airbnb, Uber and Tesla as examples which have learnt to make use of each and every one of their users, thus creating unprecedented added value. The administration will not be able to defend itself against progress. "Digitalisation will simply flow around any structural obstacles. Either you join in or you become superfluous."

Dr. Labinot Demaj, Programme Manager Strategic Public Management, underlines the urgency of dealing with the issue of "smart government" in good time. In Switzerland, there is still a widespread lack of imagination as to what tomorrow’s public administration will look like. "We must develop scenarios of the digital future in order to be able to set the proper course for the polity now." This requires interdisciplinary knowledge. The Smart Government Lab will combine various actors’ practical experience with the latest research insights. "It will bring these competencies together in order to be able to have a balanced look into the future."

Autumn conference on "smart government"

The IMP-HSG will also devote its autumn conference to the topic of "smart government". The conference will take place in the Zurich Marriott Hotel, Neumühlequai 42, 8006 Zürich, on Thursday, 3 November 2016, from 9.20 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Speakers from academia, business and public administration will discuss the challenges that result from the new technologies and demonstrate future-oriented options of how to deal with public functions. The conference is aimed at people who are or will be confronted by the opportunities and dangers of digitalisation for government and public administration. Media representatives are cordially invited.

Picture: Photocase / greycost

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