Introducing the Digital Government channel

By Joshua Chambers

How GI will write about online service delivery.

In 1843, Ada Lovelace invented the concept of the computer. It took a while longer for the world to catch on.

Lovelace wrote that digits on a machine could represent anything: music; transactions; the entirety of our lives. This is particularly important for government, which plays a key role in our lives from birth to death, and even before and afterwards.

Digital is fundamentally affecting everything in government. It used to be that tech was a hardware issue for CIOs. Now it affects every part of government – policy, implementation and frontline delivery.

Sometimes, digital government is referred to as ‘e-government’. However, that concept has become somewhat limited to portals. Digital government is broader, incorporating everything from mobile integration to identity assurance and online transactions.

This channel will cover those issues and more. We will be discussing the impact of digital technology on policymaking. Citizen expectations have clearly increased, as has the demand for services on the move. We’ll also cover the efficiencies being generating by moving face to face services online.

And we’ll highlight the need to help the potential losers of this approach – elderly and vulnerable people who need extra support in an increasingly tech-savvy world.

Digital technology does more than transform citizen-facing services. It can track and stop corruption. It can create new data sources to overhaul old-fashioned services. And it requires new methods of project management, with new types of civil servants filling those roles.

In particular, GovInsider has been impressed by:

  • Singapore’s work to merge services together and create a better citizen journey
  • Hong Kong’s drive to create more mobile applications
  • Malaysia’s overhauling of its citizen-facing portal
  • Australia’s new Digital Transformation Unit, running like a private sector startup
  • New Zealand’s pioneering user research techniques
  • Indonesia’s embrace of social media

Starting in October, we’ll continually cover this topic across Asia and beyond, using interviews, blogs, interactive graphics and guest columns. If you would like to contribute in any way, please let me know! Joshua@GovInsider.Asia