As I sat in our GovPay Summit in Jakarta, watching debates about the future of finance, I realised our vision for the year ahead.
We are building a movement of innovators across industries. Everyone is a GovInsider – as long as they want governments to innovate and improve citizens’ lives.
This year, we want to do more with our partners, and build an even bigger network of like-minded people. We will go from mission to a movement; here are some plans to make that happen.
1. The G60
We are going to bring developed and developing nations together to share how they are using disruptive technologies. As part of our Innovation Labs World summit, we’ll host a Ministerial Innovation Dialogue that brings Ministers from Europe, Africa, America and Asia together to share how they’re using tech to transform services. We’re calling it the G60 – a new movement for governments that are leaping forwards.
2. More bureaus
Last year we launched two new bureaus, in Jakarta and Uzbekistan. They have helped us cover innovations from further afield, such as Kazakhstan’s ministry for citizen services. This year, we’ll bring on more commentators to give us greater depth of coverage, starting with our new European bureau. We’ll also publish GovInsider Guides, pulling together our coverage into detailed reports. Let us know if you’d like to share your stories with our community.
We have now successfully launched GovPay, our new finance, taxation, digital identity and payments project. This forms part of the work we’ll be running to support governments in managing their finance ministries; improving their tax revenues; cutting corruption; and increasing efficiency. It will be an annual event, with research and digital coverage on the back of it.
New topics we’ll cover
1. Disaster recovery
Governments need to be ready for extreme weather instances. As the frequency of these increases, the lessons from them become more apparent, and governments can share their case studies with one another.
In 2018, we’ll drill down into this topic, looking at how, for example, AI can help rescuers predict areas of greatest difficulty, and respond faster when disaster strikes.
2. Identity and biometrics
Facial recognition systems are rapidly changing government. For example, in Guangzhou, the government allows people to use WeChat as their digital identity system by scanning their face on their smartphone.
Meanwhile, Nesta has predicted that, in 2018, governments will even use these systems to track the emotions of citizens. These technologies are creating new realities in policing, payments, public service delivery, and more. There’ll be a fascinating debate about how to create policies that maintain trust, and use these technologies appropriately.
3. Personalised government
Governments are starting to redesign services to make them easier for citizens. For example, New Zealand combined its services related to the birth of young children. But there’s much greater potential in building services that predict citizen needs – just as Amazon predicts the products that people wish to buy, and Netflix recommends movies for them to watch.
This year, we’ll see if governments start to use tech to simplify services, nudge citizens through their smartphones, and take the hard work out of interacting with government. This requires new approaches to using citizens’ data, as is already happening in Singapore, and we’ll look at what that means for policy makers.
We’re proud that GovInsider is always free for government officials. We achieve this by partnering with some of the best and biggest companies in the world. Thank you to Grab, Mastercard, Microsoft and Horizon State for helping us launch GovPay just last week.
We’re also working alongside great NGOs, including the United Nations and the Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Economic Governance. We have just launched a scholarship programme at University College London that will start this year, and will be conducting some on-the-ground research for another NGO that we’ll announce very soon.
We’re always keen to work with others, and if you think that we can help, please don’t hesitate to let us know!
Thanks for reading, and for letting us serve you. It’s our privilege, and we’re excited to support you in 2018.