Digital innovation of public services has overcome the technology-driven phase and entered the technology-enabled phase towards organisational and governance transformation. This shift offers PAs several opportunities to improve decision-making and orient policy action, but also to engage in profoundly transformative processes affecting - among the others- organisational structure, culture and behaviours, processes, employees’ requirements and abilities, information systems and technological infrastructure. The present study starts from the assumption that to seize this transformative opportunity, public administrations (PAs) are required to engage in reflection and learning processes, both at the individual and the organisational level. Also, it assumes that these processes need to take place at all levels and across multiple sectors and organisational units. Relying on the preliminary results of the ESPON Project DIGISER (espon.eu/DIGISER), this study analyses how the exposition of participant cities to the Project and its conceptual and analytical frameworks can set the ground for reflection on their digital and organisational transformation and practices. In particular, this paper illustrates the methodological approach and tools developed, focusing on the activities revolving around an extensive survey about digital service innovation carried out in 250 European Cities. In addition to the survey itself, the study illustrates visual and narrative tools developed to give feedback to participants, highlighting their potential in terms of reflection drivers. The contribution then discusses to what extent (i) filling the survey allowed a better understanding of the digital innovation process and its relation with existing organisational structures; and (ii) the critical reading of the results contributed to triggering reflection and raising awareness among the respondents. Evidence gathered during the data collection shows that completing the survey has required the identification of respondents from different sectors and with different levels of skills and responsibilities, thus confirming its potential in activating reflection on the survey topic and supporting cross-silo interactions and knowledge sharing. Also, exposure to the survey and to its results has improved respondents’ awareness about the organisational structure, opening up to new collaborations and enhancing situational awareness among PA employees. Finally, the experiment carried out shows a high exploratory potential, as it proved able to support reflection on new envisioning about public service design and provision. Even if further testing is required to corroborate these preliminary reflections, the illustrated methodological approach has promising profiles in terms of its ability to support reflection on digital transformation processes within PAs.

Making Public Administrations Reflect on Digital Transition: The Approach of the DIGISER Project

I. Bianchi;G. Concilio;I. Mariani;M. Secchi
2022

Abstract

Digital innovation of public services has overcome the technology-driven phase and entered the technology-enabled phase towards organisational and governance transformation. This shift offers PAs several opportunities to improve decision-making and orient policy action, but also to engage in profoundly transformative processes affecting - among the others- organisational structure, culture and behaviours, processes, employees’ requirements and abilities, information systems and technological infrastructure. The present study starts from the assumption that to seize this transformative opportunity, public administrations (PAs) are required to engage in reflection and learning processes, both at the individual and the organisational level. Also, it assumes that these processes need to take place at all levels and across multiple sectors and organisational units. Relying on the preliminary results of the ESPON Project DIGISER (espon.eu/DIGISER), this study analyses how the exposition of participant cities to the Project and its conceptual and analytical frameworks can set the ground for reflection on their digital and organisational transformation and practices. In particular, this paper illustrates the methodological approach and tools developed, focusing on the activities revolving around an extensive survey about digital service innovation carried out in 250 European Cities. In addition to the survey itself, the study illustrates visual and narrative tools developed to give feedback to participants, highlighting their potential in terms of reflection drivers. The contribution then discusses to what extent (i) filling the survey allowed a better understanding of the digital innovation process and its relation with existing organisational structures; and (ii) the critical reading of the results contributed to triggering reflection and raising awareness among the respondents. Evidence gathered during the data collection shows that completing the survey has required the identification of respondents from different sectors and with different levels of skills and responsibilities, thus confirming its potential in activating reflection on the survey topic and supporting cross-silo interactions and knowledge sharing. Also, exposure to the survey and to its results has improved respondents’ awareness about the organisational structure, opening up to new collaborations and enhancing situational awareness among PA employees. Finally, the experiment carried out shows a high exploratory potential, as it proved able to support reflection on new envisioning about public service design and provision. Even if further testing is required to corroborate these preliminary reflections, the illustrated methodological approach has promising profiles in terms of its ability to support reflection on digital transformation processes within PAs.
Knowledge Drivers for Resilience and Transformation
978-88-96687-15-4
Reflective practice, Digital transition, Organisational change, Public sector innovation
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11311/1218327
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