At the core of digital is the stakeholder or in case of Public Sector - citizen. If that is established for the process of digitization initiative, the rest is simple. The objective of digital consequently, is to strategize, design and provide an engaging experience to the citizens for governance outcomes. The start point of this journey is to “enable” availability of information and services; anytime, anywhere and on any platform or device. Many Governments have managed to execute this, irrespective of gaps in ease of access or user experience. The next challenge is to create a bilateral communication channel or “engage” the citizen. Citizens must be able to offer their views, seek services or provide feedback through these digital channels. An engaging digital platform might appear to be the epitome of Digital Government but it only replicates human to human interactions with human-machine interactions.
A true Digital Government is one where stakeholders are also “empowered” through self-service systems and given control wherever required to minimize bureaucracy and provide prompt services. Therefore the key ingredient to make Digital Government a success is to design processes and services around stakeholder experience. The experience using the digital medium or technology should be natural, intuitive and mimic real world experiences. This requires a fundamental change in the way Governments think and operate - to be in tune with the changing citizen expectations. Eventually, digital governance should lead to the outcomes that governments desire; which is to provide an open and transparent governance, achieve participation from citizens in co-governance and ensure responsiveness.
Coming back to our headline on societal happiness, research indicates that the happiest nations tend to have progress oriented governance. To achieve this, governments are increasingly making digital a priority which in turn means citizens are a priority. With digital transformation, governments can involve citizens and access ideas and talent to build more livable cities, create better public transport, reduce crime, dispense justice faster, turn waste into wealth, improve climate for investment, impact public health, and ensure that everyone has equal access to critical public services-making real what has largely remained a frustratingly elusive goal for governments - a sustainable, progressive and happy society.
Note: In this entire narrative, I did not emphasize the technology aspects such as mobile, social, analytics devops, engineering etc. as I believe technology is a medium to achieve the outcomes.