Policy Innovation and Digital Science Track Along ICEGOV 2014

Sharon Dawes (Center for Technology in Government, USA), Marijn Janssen (Delft University of Technology, Netherlands) and Maria A. Wimmer (University of Koblenz-Landau) organised a track “Policy Innovation and Digital Science” along ICEGOV 2014 in Guimarães, Portugal.

ICEGOV is a series of International Conferences on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance taking place annually around the world. The series focuses on the use of technology to transform the working of government and its relationships with citizens, businesses and other non-state actors in order to improve public governance and its contribution to public policy and development.

The track "Policy Innovation and Digital Science" along ICEGOV 2014 was introduced by a tutorial and a presenation given by Marijn Janssen as well as an invited session on "Building a Global EGOV Research and Policy Community" on Monday. A paper session was held on Wednesday with six accepted contributions. On Thursday, a workshop was organised to discuss grand challenges of research and methods of translating research results into practical policy actions. Among the topics elaborated and discussed along the track were adaptive policy, comparative research, new policy tools and instruments, innovations in public sector as well as visualization methods and tools. The audience consisted of academia, public servants and ICT industry representatives.

The following six papers were accepted for publication in the conference proceedings and were presented in the paper session:

  • Future Scenarios of ICT Solutions for Governance and Policy Modelling
    by Dragana Majstorovic and Maria A. Wimmer (University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany).
    Abstract: The modern world is facing global challenges while at the same time becoming more and more interconnected, dynamic and complex in nature. Accordingly, appropriate methods and tools for successful open and collaborative public governance and public policy making supported by innovative ICT are increasingly becoming important. Along the demands for the implementation of good governance principles and the adoption of open government, policy officials need concise and reliable information to conduct policy making in an efficient and effective way. Likewise, the engagement of the citizenry as well as of civil society organisations (CSOs) and of representatives of the business and voluntary sectors have become imperative. In an international and inter-disciplinary researcher network called eGovPoliNet, scholars have developed visionary scenarios to envisage how ICT-supported open and public governance and policy making might emerge in the years to come. We used scenario building as a method to get insights into potential alternative futures in a certain area. The scenarios sketched the interactions, environment, technological developments and other relevant aspects of potential futures of ICT-enabled public governance and how policy modelling could be deployed thereby. From initial 19 scenarios formulated, a final set of six scenarios has been consolidated and exposed to a wider group of experts. Next step in this process is to develop a range of grand challenges and research directions in this field.
    See paper presentation here...
    • Managing Innovations in Rural e-Governance Services: A Case of MGNREGS in India
      by Rama Krushna Das (National Informatics Centre, India) and Harekrishna Mishra (Institute of Rural Management Anand, India).
      Abstract: Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) focuses on supporting income of Below Poverty Line (BPL) citizens in India. Its outreach across Indian states and among the population having diverse employment challenges in rural India has made the scheme more complex. Role of e-Governance has been quite beneficial in ensuring transparency, accountability and empowering rural citizens to exercise their rights. This has been possible through innovations in e-Governance services that involve complex federal and democratic structure of government systems. In this paper we discuss the issues related to innovations in services, and restructuring the processes while embedding citizen interests. This paper illustrates role of e-Governance in successfully planning, designing and implementing innovations for effective deliveries of MGNREGS services with multi-dimensional effects on sustainable development in a country like India.
      • Business and Technology Integrated Management: a Case of e-Government for Assessing the Impact of Policies
        by Irapuan Noce (Federal University of Mato Grosso, Brazil) and João Álvaro Carvalho (Universidade do Minho, Portugal).
        Abstract: This article describes an ongoing research project that aims at developing an integrated approach to the management of business and technology. The project followed a design science research process and it involved several action research iterations that enabled improvement and validation. The article describes an iteration that was carried out in a real case in a government institution: the Court of Auditors at Mato Grosso state, Brazil. The proposed unified technique provides support to managers of government agencies to the definition, analysis, and development of public services and their supporting technologies. It also provides to technology managers a set of guidelines to develop the technological architecture adequate to achieve better services results. Besides the contributions to the approach being developed, this case evidences the importance of representing the complete model of inter-government responsibilities to enable the assessment of the impact of policies on citizens.
      • Energetic Dashboard: Driving Decision Making
        by Maria Sokhn, Eliane Maalouf, Arnaud Zufferey and Florian Evequoz (HES-SO Valais Wallis, Switzerland).
        Abstract: With the ever-rising energy usage, costs for the current and up-coming years is exponentially growing and unfortunately is being manage with poor or non-existing management tools and/or methods. In Switzerland the energy management is gaining interests the last decades, especially in the public sectors where a mine of data to be processed exists, but sadly is not exploited enough. Consequently, data remains scattered into silos and therefore prevented from being correlated automatically. We believe that these data can be mapped and put in perspective providing interesting information and enough knowledge helpful for decision makers. This paper presents an ongoing experiment in Swiss municipalities to analyze the current situation and design and propose an approach for energy managing by dashboards.
      • Digital Governance in the Public Sector: Challenging the Policy-Maker’s Innovation Dilemma
        by Gianluca Misuraca (European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Spain) and Gianluigi Viscusi (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland).
        Abstract: In this paper the authors propose an interpretative framework for the analysis of different configurations of digital Innovation Governance in the Public Sector. The goal is to provide an instrument suitable to support policy analysts challenging what we have identified as the Policy-Maker’s innovation dilemma. From a theoretical perspective, our proposal intends to contribute advancing the understanding of the application of innovation and network theories to the governance phenomenon. Moreover, it aims contributing to the current debate on the assessment of the socio-economic impacts generated by ICT-enabled services, and the co-evolution of technological advancement and societal changes. From a methodological standpoint, the interpretative framework, aims to provide a systemic perspective and an instrument to elicit the links between ICT-enabled innovation and public governance, outlining the various challenges that this poses. It in fact attempts to capture those governance changes which are strongly conditioned by historical transformations in society’s underlying values and organisational models suggesting to be analysed by looking at the public value drivers that underpin ICT-enabled governance and which include the dimensions of Performance, Openness, and Inclusion.
      • From Brussels to Brabant: Delivering Public Value by Implementing e-Government in a Multilevel Setting - this paper was awarded the Best Experience Paper Award
        by Evert-Jan Mulder (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and Dhoya Snijders (Vrije University Amsterdam, The Netherlands).
        Abstract: In 2006, the European Parliament agreed to the ‘Services Directive’, which aims to develop the internal services market in the European Union. This directive requires member states to simplify services and adapt online portals, which facilitate European interoperability for eGovernment services. This article trails the translation of this requirement from Brussels to The Hague, where the services portal was built under the name ‘Berichtenbox voor Bedrijven’ or Message Box-system, and to the Brabant province where municipalities implemented the portal to improve communications between businesses and state. It presents the findings of a mystery shopping research in which we contacted all 67 Brabant municipalities through the MB-system with a request for information on permits. We describe how the original requirements from the European ‘Service Directive’ have gone lost “in translation” and that national government, municipalities as well as businesses do not utilize the services as was intended. We conclude by discussing necessary preconditions for creating public value by developing and implementing eGovernment services in a multi-level polity.


          The invited session “Building a Global Research and Policy Community” explored the value, challenges and strategies for integrating various research and policy communities into a global collaboration space.

          Invited session along ICEGOV 2014

          The audience engaged in discussing, among others the dynamics of research and policy communities in the fields of digital government, the presence of opposing tendencies of integration and the merits and limitations of building a global research and policy community. The session was based on the lessons learnt from three communities – the Digital Government Society presented by Theresa Pardo (Center for Technology in Government, USA), the eGovPoliNet community and the IFIP WG 8.5 on ICT in the public sector presented by Maria A. Wimmer (see the presentation here) and the ICEGOV community of Governance of ICT in the public sector of emerging econ-omies presented by Tomasz Janowski (United Nations University Operating Unit on Policy-Driven Electronic Governance, Portugal).

          In the workshop on Thursday, the following grand challenges of research have been discussed:

          • Modelling and simulation
          • Citizen and stakeholder engagement
          • Government capabilities and legitimacy
          • Translating research results into policy actions and support


          The track was well perceived and nice discussions arose on challenges of research for public governance and policy modelling. The key question driving the discussions and presentations was: How can ICT-enabled innovations in policy and governance be transferred and successfully adapted to local settings in the time when policy-making and implementation is fundamentally changing with the advancement of new digital technologies including the availability of big data, data analytics and simulation, visualization and gaming technologies?

          Read more about the track at ICEGOV 2014 ...