Open Evidence, in consortium with PPMI, RAND, POLIMI and Martel, has taken part in the elaboration of the report “Exploring digital government transformation in the EU” which presents the findings of the analysis of the state of the art prepared as part of the project “Exploring Digital Government Transformation in the EU: understanding public sector innovation in a data- driven society”, conducted on behalf of the Joint Research Center (European Commission).
This study aims at better understanding how innovation in the public sector, enabled by Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), can transform governance systems, and how governments can take advantage of emerging and future digital technologies to address systemic problems. The aim of the study is to provide evidence on the various modes of organization and implementation of Digital Governments in the different Member States, as well as the social and economic impacts on policy-making mechanisms, governance processes and service delivery.
Based on the review of almost 500 academic and grey literature sources and the analysis of digital government policies in the EU Member States, the publication provides a synthetic overview of the main themes and topics of the digital government discourse. The report depicts the variety of existing conceptualisations and definitions of the digital government phenomenon, measured and expected effects of the application of more disruptive innovations and emerging technologies in government, as well as key drivers and barriers for transforming the public sector.
The literature review shows that although many sources appear optimistic with regard to the impact of digital government transformation, the majority of them are based on normative views or expectations rather than empirically tested insights. Thus, digital government transformation should be researched empirically and with a due differentiation between evidence and hope.
In this respect, the report paves the way to in-depth analysis of the effects that can be generated by digital innovation in public sector organisations. A digital transformation that implies the redesign of the tools and methods used in the machinery of government will require in fact a significant change in the institutional frameworks that regulate and help coordinate the governance systems in which such changing processes are implemented.