Governments thinking about the their role in the information society: a change of direction.

Posted: June 27, 2010 in Uncategorized

I started working on a strategy for the information society in my region – partly to sharpen the focus of my team. This is interesting because it is like a “god-simulator” game. It even is very stimulating but at the same time so wide you can easily get lost.

While working on this I already understood that there is a switch going on in information society policy. In the years 2000-2006 (the previous “programming period” of EU regional policy) the emphasis was on widening the approach from a narrow infrastructural policy to a service-centred policy.

Today I see a second change, from a supply driven policy (on both infrastructure and services) to a demand driven policy. Hence the discussions on mobile applications based on government data or understanding customer profiling for government services.

This swing is going further. Whether you talk about business, citizens or government, more and more the emphasis is on applying ICT to solve real-life problems.
In the not too distant past I regularly attended meetings where a co-worker came up with a great new idea which turned out to be a new platform or tool or functionality. And off he was specifying, building or procuring it. And nobody could or wanted to stop him, because everybody admired the ‘innovative power’ of that co-worker.
Nowaydays (and to my satisfaction) I attend meetings where that same co-worker still brings new ideas to the floor but now is challenged by a new breed of co-workers who ask “But what and whoes problem are you trying to solve?”.  And the next question usually is “How real-live is that problem?”.

I guess this corresponds to a wider socio-technical change of paradigm: in Carlota Perez’s theory of installation and deployment of technology, the age of installation is led by supply, while deployment is led by demand. The idea could be visualised as follows:

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