World Bank Cancels Flagship ‘Doing Business’ Report After Investigation


Article by Josh Zumbrun: “The World Bank canceled a prominent report rating the business environment of the world’s countries after an investigation concluded that senior bank management pressured staff to alter data affecting the ranking of China and other nations.

The leaders implicated include then World Bank Chief Executive Kristalina Georgieva, now managing director of the International Monetary Fund, and then World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

The episode is a reputational hit for Ms. Georgieva, who disagreed with the investigators’ conclusions. As leader of the IMF, the lender of last resort to struggling countries around the world, she is in part responsible for managing political pressure from nations seeking to advance their own interests. It was also the latest example of the Chinese government seeking myriad ways to burnish its global standing.

The Doing Business report has been the subject of an external probe into the integrity of the report’s data. On Thursday, the bank released the results of that investigation, which concluded that senior bank leaders including Ms. Georgieva were involved in pressuring economists to improve China’s 2018 ranking. At the time, she and others were attempting to persuade China to support a boost in the bank’s funding….(More)”.

Future of e-Government: An integrated conceptual framework


Paper by Suresh Malodia, Amandeep Dhi, Mahima Mishra and Zeeshan Ahmed Bhatti: “The information and hyper-connectivity revolutions have caused significant disruptions in citizens’ interactions with governments all over the world. Failures in implementing e-government interventions suggest the lack of an integrated approach in understanding e-government as a discipline. In this study, we present an overarching and integrated conceptual framework of e-government grounded in robust qualitative research to describe the factors that must be integrated to implement e-government successfully. Drawing insights from 168 in-depth interviews conducted with multiple stakeholders in India, this study defines e-government as a multidimensional construct with customer orientation, channel orientation and technology orientation as its antecedents. Building on customer orientation and relationship marketing theories, this study proposes that the most significant factor impacting success in implementing e-government projects is citizen orientation, followed by channel orientation and technology orientation. The study also identifies the digital divide, economic growth and political stability as moderators of e-government. Furthermore, the study proposes the tangible and intangible outcomes of e-government with perceived privacy and shared understanding as moderating conditions. Finally, the study presents relevant theoretical and practical implications with future research directions….(More)”.

A Literature Review of E-government Services with Gamification Elements


Paper by Ruth S. Contreras-Espinosa and Alejandro Blanco-M: “Many democracies face breaches of communication between citizens and political representatives, resulting in low engagement in political decision-making and public consultations. Gamification strategies can be implemented to generate constructive relationships and increase citizens’ motivation and participation by including positive experiences like achievements. This document contains a literature review of the gamification topic, providing a conceptual background, and presenting a selection and analysis of the applications to e-government services. The study characterises gamification element usage and highlights the need for a standardised methodology during element selection. Three research gaps were identified, with a potential impact on future studies and e-government applications….(More)”.

Exploring digital government transformation in the EU


Analysis of the state of the art and review of literature by Gianluca Misuraca et al: “This report presents the… results of the review of literature, based on almost 500 academic and grey literature sources, as well as the analysis of digital government policies in the EU Member States provide 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. Overall, the literature review shows that many sources appear overly optimistic with regard to the impact of digital government transformation, although the majority of them are based on normative views or expectations, rather than empirically tested insights.

The authors therefore caution that 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…(More)”.

Government at a Glance 2019


OECD Report: “Government at a Glance provides reliable, internationally comparative data on government activities and their results in OECD countries. Where possible, it also reports data for Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, the Russian Federation and South Africa. In many public governance areas, it is the only available source of data. It includes input, process, output and outcome indicators as well as contextual information for each country.

The 2019 edition includes input indicators on public finance and employment; while processes include data on institutions, budgeting practices and procedures, human resources management, regulatory government, public procurement and digital government and open data. Outcomes cover core government results (e.g. trust, inequality reduction) and indicators on access, responsiveness, quality and citizen satisfaction for the education, health and justice sectors.

Governance indicators are especially useful for monitoring and benchmarking governments’ progress in their public sector reforms.Each indicator in the publication is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of graphs and/or charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, brief descriptive analyses highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological section on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability….(More)”.

Public value creation in digital government


Introduction to Special Issue by Panos Panagiotopoulos, BramKlievink, and AntonioCordella: “Public value theory offers innovative ways to plan, design, and implement digital government initiatives. The theory has gained the attention of researchers due to its powerful proposition that shifts the focus of public sector management from internal efficiency to value creation processes that occur outside the organization.

While public value creation has become the expectation that digital government initiatives have to fulfil, there is lack of theoretical clarity on what public value means and on how digital technologies can contribute to its creation. The special issue presents a collection of six papers that provide new insights on how digital technologies support public value creation. Building on their contributions, the editorial note conceptualizes the realm of public value creation by highlighting: (1) the integrated nature of public value creation supported by digital government implementations rather than enhancing the values provided by individual technologies or innovations, (2) how the outcome of public value creation is reflected in the combined consumption of the various services enabled by technologies and (3) how public value creation is enabled by organizational capabilities and configurations….(More)”.

The promise and peril of a digital ecosystem for the planet


Blog post by Jillian Campbell and David E Jensen: “A range of frontier and digital technologies have dramatically boosted the ways in which we can monitor the health of our planet. And sustain our future on it (Figure 1).

Figure 1. A range of frontier an digital technologies can be combined to monitor our planet and the sustainable use of natural resources (1)

If we can leverage this technology effectively, we will be able to assess and predict risks, increase transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources and inform markets as well as consumer choice. These actions are all required if we are to stand a better chance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

However, for this vision to become a reality, public and private sector actors must take deliberate action and collaborate to build a global digital ecosystem for the planet — one consisting of data, infrastructure, rapid analytics, and real-time insights. We are now at a pivotal moment in the history of our stewardship of this planet. A “tipping point” of sorts. And in order to guide the political action which is required to counter the speed, scope and severity of the environmental and climate crises, we must acquire and deploy these data sets and frontier technologies. Doing so can fundamentally change our economic trajectory and underpin a sustainable future.

This article shows how such a global digital ecosystem for the planet can be achieved — as well as what we risk if we do not take decisive action within the next 12 months….(More)”.

De-risking custom technology projects


Paper by Robin Carnahan, Randy Hart, and Waldo Jaquith: “Only 13% of large government software projects are successful. State IT projects, in particular, are often challenged because states lack basic knowledge about modern software development, relying on outdated procurement processes.

State governments are increasingly reliant on modern software and hardware to deliver essential services to the public, and the success of any major policy initiative depends on the success of the underlying software infrastructure. Government agencies all confront similar challenges, facing budget and staffing constraints while struggling to modernize legacy technology systems that are out-of-date, inflexible, expensive, and ineffective. Government officials and agencies often rely on the same legacy processes that led to problems in the first place.

The public deserves a government that provides the same world-class technology they get from the commercial marketplace. Trust in government depends on it.

This handbook is designed for executives, budget specialists, legislators, and other “non-technical” decision-makers who fund or oversee state government technology projects. It can help you set these projects up for success by asking the right questions, identifying the right outcomes, and equally important, empowering you with a basic knowledge of the fundamental principles of modern software design.

This handbook also gives you the tools you need to start tackling related problems like:

  • The need to use, maintain, and modernize legacy systems simultaneously
  • Lock-in from legacy commercial arrangements
  • Siloed organizations and risk-averse cultures
  • Long budget cycles that don’t always match modern software design practices
  • Security threats
  • Hiring, staffing, and other resource constraints

This is written specifically for procurement of custom software, but it’s important to recognize that commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS) is often custom and Software as a Service (SaaS) often requires custom code. Once any customization is made, the bulk of this advice in this handbook applies to these commercial offerings. (See “Beware the customized commercial software trap” for details.)

As government leaders, we must be good stewards of public money by demanding easy-to-use, cost-effective, sustainable digital tools for use by the public and civil servants. This handbook will help you do just that….(More)”

From City to Nation: Digital government in Argentina, 2015–2018


Paper by Tanya Filer, Antonio Weiss and Juan Cacace: “In 2015, voters in Argentina elected Mauricio Macri of the centre-right Propuesta Republicana (PRO) as their new President, following a tightly contested race. Macri inherited an office wrought with tensions: an unstable economy; a highly polarised population; and an increasing weariness towards the institutions of governance overall. In this context, his administration hoped to harness the possibilities of digital transformation to make citizens’ interactions with the State more efficient, more accountable, and ‘friendlier’.

Following a successful tenure in the City of Buenos Aires, where Macri had been Mayor, Minister Andrés Ibarra and a digital government team were charged with the project of national digital transformation, taking on projects from a single ‘whole-of-government’ portal to a mobile phone application designed to reduce the incidence of gender-based violence against women. Scaling up digitisation from the city to the national level was, by all accounts, a challenge. By 2018, Argentina had won global acclaim for its progress on key aspects of digital government, but also increasingly recognised the difficulties of digitisation at the national scale. It identified the need, as observed by the OECD, for an overarching strategic plan to manage the scale, diversity and politics of federal-level digital transformation. Based on interviews with key stakeholders, this case discusses the country’s digital modernisation agenda from 2015 to 2018, with a primary focus on service provision projects. It examines the challenges faced in terms of politics and technology, and the lessons that Argentina’s experience offers….(More)”

An open platform centric approach for scalable government service delivery to the poor: The Aadhaar case


Paper by Sandip Mukhopadhyay, Harry Bouwman and Mahadeo PrasadJaiswal: “The efficient delivery of government services to the poor, or Bottom of the Pyramid (BOP), faces many challenges. While a core problem is the lack of scalability, that could be solved by the rapid proliferation of platforms and associated ecosystems. Existing research involving platforms focus on modularity, openness, ecosystem leadership and governance, as well as on their impact on innovation, scale and agility. However, existing studies fail to explore the role of platform in scalable e-government services delivery on an empirical level. Based on an in-depth case study of the world’s largest biometric identity platform, used by millions of the poor in India, we develop a set of propositions connecting the attributes of a digital platform ecosystem to different indicators for the scalability of government service delivery. We found that modular architecture, combined with limited functionality in core modules, and open standards combined with controlled access and ecosystem governance enabled by keystone behaviour, have a positive impact on scalability. The research provides insights to policy-makers and government officials alike, particularly those in nations struggling to provide basic services to poor and marginalised. …(More)”.