The unique challenges of regional digital government

What’s the biggest difference?

FWD50: What is the biggest difference between making change happen at the national and regional levels? / Quelle est la plus grande différence entre faire changer les choses au niveau national par rapport au niveau régional ?

Catherine Desgagnes-Belzil:

Hillary Hartley:

Nikhil Deshpande:

Where do we interface?

FWD50: Where do regional governments need to interface with national/global standards, and where is it OK for them to act without considering other groups? / Dans quels contextes les gouvernements régionaux doivent-ils interagir avec les normes nationales/mondiales et quand peuvent-ils agir sans tenir compte des autres groupes ?

Nikhil Deshpande:

Nikhil: Regional governments benefit from research-based policies and standards published at the national/global levels. It is best practice to interface with national/global standards unless any isolated regional use case/cause justifies solitary action.

Hillary Hartley:

Hillary: There’s no central standard in the world that points to how teams must work. But making common choices can help us scale digital approaches, practices and tools faster and more effectively.

Photo by Chang Duong on Unsplash

Catherine Desgagnes-Belzil:

Catherine: Nous devons placer le numérique au service des citoyens dans le but de faciliter leurs interactions avec le gouvernement. Ainsi, l’administration publique vise à adapter ses relations avec les citoyens en fonction de leur réalité.

How do make design more local?

FWD50: How do you change design and problem discovery to a more local population? / Comment faire évoluer la conception et la découverte de problème vers une population plus locale ?

Hillary Hartley:

Hillary: At root, it’s about users. Having a strong mechanism to recruit the right users for research, and being able to tap into a diversity of users, helps identify specific needs.

Ask a Mayor

FWD50: “If you want something done, ask a mayor,” as the saying goes. Why is there a perception that smaller scopes and organizations are more responsive? / Comme le dit le proverbe anglais : « If you want something done, ask a mayor ». Pourquoi les structures et les groupes de plus petite taille semblent plus réactifs ?

Hillary Hartley:

Hillary: At the local level, governments are responsible for services that most people use, see and touch. For example, people notice if their garbage doesn’t get picked up, or if the system crashes when you try and sign up your kid for swimming lessons.

Photo by Daniel Cheung on Unsplash

Catherine Desgagnes-Belzil:

Catherine: La complexité d’une structure de gestion croit généralement en fonction de la taille de l’organisation. Dans une structure de gestion complexe, les paliers à franchir pour obtenir une décision ou transmettre une orientation sont plus nombreux et cela a un impact négatif sur la capacité d’une organisation à être réactive. Voici une des raisons qui explique pourquoi les structures et les groupes de plus petite taille semblent plus réactifs.

Nikhil Deshpande:

Nikhil: There is no doubt that local governments are at the forefront of service delivery. As we move up levels within government, the bodies are tasked with invisible services such as infrastructure and policies. So, the perception of implementing an instant visible change may seem more relevant at the local level; like reporting and fixing potholes or crime reporting. However, regional and state organizations are working towards changing this perception.

What about political upheaval?

FWD50: How does a civil servant continue to deliver against their mandate in times of political upheaval or regime change? / Comment un fonctionnaire peut-il continuer à s’acquitter de son mandat en période de bouleversement politique ou de changement de régime ?

Catherine Desgagnes-Belzil:

Catherine: En adoptant une approche et une démarche agile qui permet à l’organisation de s’adapter au fur et à mesure aux divers changements, y compris des changements d’orientation inhérents à des bouleversements politiques.

Photo by Ricardo Frantz on Unsplash

Hillary Hartley:

Hillary: Good service isn’t partisan.

Metrics drive change

FWD50: What are the most important metrics you ask for when trying to understand how your organization is running? What’s on your dashboard? / Quelles sont les mesures les plus importantes que vous exigez lorsque vous essayez de comprendre comment fonctionne votre organisation ? Qu’y a-t-il sur votre tableau de bord ?

Hillary Hartley:

Hillary: H. James Harrington said, “If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”

Photo by Mitchel Boot on Unsplash
  1. Data helps us understand if we’re on the right track with our products, and actually meeting people’s needs. Are people using what we build? Are we saving people time?

Nikhil Deshpande:

Nikhil: It is important to understand the impact and outcome of activities carried by any organization. Any metrics that show outcomes rather than just outputs, are critical to gauge the success of an organization.

Catherine Desgagnes-Belzil:

Catherine: Dans une approche centrée sur le citoyen, notre indicateur le plus significatif est celui mesurant la création de valeur. Celui-ci nous incite à favoriser les actions ayant un potentiel d’utilisation élevé et procurant une valeur ajoutée. Les autres indicateurs importants sont ceux liés aux bloquants ainsi qu’aux risques et enjeux.

Recruiting and talent

FWD50: How have you changed recruiting and the search for talent in a tech-centric world?/ Comment avez-vous changé le processus de recrutement et de recherche de talents dans un monde centré sur la technologie ?

Catherine Desgagnes-Belzil:

Catherine: Nous travaillons sur ce point !

Hillary Hartley:

Hillary: Government presents a unique opportunity to bring together a love for technology and a desire to make a difference. Whether you’re a designer, engineer, communicator or policymaker, you want to leave things better than you found them. You’re intensely obsessed with two things—humans and problems. In fact, the bigger the problem, the more technologists want to dive into it. We’re always experimenting with “how might we” scenarios. And guess what? That’s exactly what great public service teams are all about, too.

Nikhil Deshpande:

Nikhil: Talent search is always a challenge at regional levels. USDS and 18F have established a civic-tech duty model that most regional governments are looking to implement.

Diving into regional government

The Regional Digital Government Summit is open to all conference attendees, who have to sign in at the entrance.

Inside the Horticulture building—which won’t look like this when we’re done with it (from https://smithandandersen.com/projects/detail/10848)

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Alistair Croll

Alistair Croll

Writer, speaker, accelerant. Intersection of tech & society. Strata, Startupfest, Bitnorth, FWD50. Lean Analytics, Tilt the Windmill, HBS, Just Evil Enough.