On Wednesday 28 March 2018, the annual VNG Realisatie Conference took place, with this year’s theme “Back to the Future”. The spectacular launch included a glimpse into the future of municipalities, with a whole new information supply landscape arranged by municipalities themselves and which gives residents control of their own data.
2018 is going to be the year municipalities prepare themselves for the future. Major cornerstones of this are the “Common Ground”, “Organising Together”, “Digital Identity” and “Internet of Things” projects.
The information society we live in faces many challenges, but there are also abundant opportunities to increase interaction with residents and businesses in municipalities more than ever before. When municipalities work together more with one another and with business partners around them in the chain, it means more can be achieved and more room is opened up for new ideas. Internally pooling strengths by coordinating policy and implementation pays off with radically increased efficiency.
The role of data is crucial to this. Transparency of the data available, identifying where the data comes from (sources and systems), assessing quality and fixing definitions are all important components of the data foundations. The next step is to obtain insights and analyses to help refine or underpin policy. Information-Directed Working.
After the plenary portion of the conference, there were various sessions available which covered different trends in the information society. They varied from people explaining their experiences with reference to specific case studies, to sessions and discussions of a more inspirational nature.
What struck me on the day was that there is still a gap between the municipalities and the needs of residents and businesses. Many municipalities are frantically working on initiatives to have more and more dialogue with residents in order to thereby increase public value. However, this is still often a process of searching. Here, once again, collaboration within the chain, and certainly the participation of residents and businesses, are essential.
As I see it, Information-Directed Working can represent a good solution here, as long as you keep your eye on your goals and think about the added value for residents and businesses.
I found the VNG Realisation Conference a very interesting opportunity to learn more about the opportunities provided by a newly designed information landscape.
Also read our article on Exploring data science and machine learning in open council information.
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