SOCIETY | Oct 20, 2020

New normal, more effective and accessible public services

Restarting from the "citizen experience", also through new technologies

The Coronavirus emergency is giving a strong boost to public services. Globally, we are witnessing the effort to accelerate digital transformation with the aim of automating these services and of making them more effective and accessible to citizens, even from remote. We can speak to all intents and purposes of a new phase in which innovation dictates the pace towards a shared urban regeneration that rests on a newfound sense of community.

Municipalities have so far “tightened their belts” and today they finally have the opportunity to do more with the economic resources available and with those of the Recovery Fund, which must be invested well and responsibly, avoiding waste and bureaucratic constraints, so as to be truly decisive. We are all aware that digitization in the local public administration cannot be reduced to the simple purchase of innovative tools if these are not included in a broader framework and in a clear vision of the change which is to be achieved.

On the other hand, innovation in public services means completely rethinking processes, that is to say all the activities which make up a public service.

Municipia works alongside a thousand municipalities of all sizes to help them improve these processes, using state-of-the-art methods and tools in key sectors such as taxation, mobility, social services, tourism and culture, security and urban hygiene, infrastructure maintenance. During this daily work, we have understood that too often the PA tends to review processes drawing only on the modus operandi typical of public offices. In other words, this boils down to the simple automation of traditional processes.

So what is the point of view from which we should start again?

The experience and satisfaction of citizens, the citizen experience. By borrowing the customer experience principle which belongs to the corporate world and to the bond of trust customers have with brands, the citizen-public body relationship is redesigned, putting people increasingly at the center and focusing attention on the quality of the services offered as well as on the deriving satisfaction when they are used.

This means having  simpler public services, which can be accessed through a few easy steps; customized thanks to Artificial Intelligence; safe from the point of view of privacy; able to guarantee rapid and definitive times in replying with economic savings also for the public structure.

But it also means having the ability to verify the effectiveness of the policies put in place by the Administration; reducing the digital divide by creating a culture of innovation and digital citizenship; making the PA more participatory, capable of listening to the real needs of the territory; preventing emergencies thanks to the aggregation and analysis of data rather than running for cover afterwards.

Thus Augmented Cities are born, the evolution of Smart Cities: technological, resilient and inclusive cities, capable of generating true progress.

Reacting to the crisis, re-launching the country’s economy starting from local entities, creating new professional opportunities for our young people therefore means this too. Only in this way can the process of simplification and digital transformation that everybody has been talking about for too long now (often without putting it into practice) truly become a reality for everyone and within everyone’s reach.

Stefano De Capitani