iCities (II). Round Table: Innovation and Change. Is it possible to make the citizen’s life easier?

iCities is a Conference about Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation.
Here come my notes for session II.

Round Table: Innovation and Change. Is it possible to make the citizen’s life easier?
Chairs: Jose Antonio Donaire

Xavier Llinares Sala

Users and managers don’t usually think equally concerning the design, use and satisfaction of a specific service.

To make ends meet, some changes have to take place:

  • There are too many public servants… in exchange of better, up-to-date, adding-value ones.
  • Public servants that add value have to be rewarded.
  • Barriers have to be removed.
  • More management, less bureaucracy.
  • Politics have to be de-professionalized and put, instead, professionals. Politics not as a career, but as a place for real experts to bring in ideas.
  • The shift from the private sector to the public sector is good because it adds value. The contrary is not.

The long tail in politics is narrowing: open lists in elections.

Added value, governance (not administration), citizen-oriented, more choice, more transparency, more and cheaper services, proactivity, transformation, connectivity…

Carlos Guadián Orta

Innovation has to be based on citizens’ needs. On one hand, the Administration has to help the citizen. On the other hand, it has to aim towards active listening.

If you build it, they will not come: it’s the Administration the one that has to approach the citizen, listen and know what are they talking about.

Roc Fages

Nowadays there’s a “wall” that does not allow the entrance of some social software (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) in their mainstream and daily life.

We can imagine some “uchronies” where some social software adoption takes place in the Administration, such as the “Funciotwit“, twitter for public servants, or “GencatGoogCal“, shared Google Calendars among the Government and the citizens, or “AdmiDopplr”, where public servants and/or citizens can (professionally) share their trips and geolocalize their actions, or the “Admibook”, the Facebook of the Administration where all public services are gathered.

For these initiatives to really work:

  • Act according to the citizenry needs.
  • Individual effort in the network is beneficial if it reports collective benefits.
  • The Administration has to think from the costumer’s point of view, not as a service provider: citizens are customers and this is how they think and behave.
  • Combine off-line and on-line.
  • Perform actions to dynamize the network.
  • Let’s forget about the unified Administration and let’s work together with the private sector.
  • Open environments have to be somehow secured (privacy, security, moderation, etc.) by the Public Sector.


Is it technology, or it’s “just” knowledge management? (Ildefonso Mayorgas). Roc Fages: there sometimes already is knowledge management, but we don’t get the most of it because of lack of technology and innovation.

Is it technology or is it human resources? Carlos Guadián answers: it’s both, it’s a virtuous/vicious circle.

The only problem is the Administration? Carlos Guadián: A proximity policy can only work with an engagement will.


iCities 2008, Blogs, e-Government and Digital Participation (2008)