‚7 Questions‘ to Keynote Speaker Theresa A. Pardo @CeDEM15

This week, we would like to introduce our keynote speaker Theresa A. Pardo of the upcoming CeDEM15 to you. CeDEM15 is an international Conference for e-Democracy and Open Government and will take place at Danube University Krems (22.05.-25.5.2015). It brings together specialists – working in academia, politics, government and business – to critically analyse innovations, issues, ideas and challenges in the digital age.

We have asked Theresa A. Pardo 7 questions relating to her professional experiences and the topics she will present at the CeDEM15. See what she responded and get to know her a bit more before the CeDEM15!

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7 Questions to Keynote Speaker Theresa A. Pardo

1. Your Keynote at CeDEM15 will be „Enabling Open Government for All: A Roadmap for Public Libraries“ – what can we expect and what especially do you want people to take away from your Keynote?

Many governments around the world are investing in making government data open and building new capability to engage citizens in the process of governing and in services design and delivery. These are important supply-side investments. This talk will address the need for new investment in “demand side open government.” In the case of public libraries, as community anchor institutions in the US, this means a reconsideration of the role played by libraries in their communities. I would like those listening to the keynote to understand the need for new kinds of investments in building community capability to create balance between supply and demand in the area of open government and what this might mean for both new and traditional community organizations.

2. Where do you see the role of technology in the context of public services?

Technology is a key enabler of public service delivery. Whether it is used to manage queues at a government help desk, deliver direct services to an elderly home-bound citizen through a mobile device, monitor the financial markets, or track traffic patterns, it is an enabler.

3. What are the major potentials and challenges in the field of public services?

A major challenge I see now in the field of public services is the creation of data governance capability. Many governments are working to realize the potential of data to help create new understanding of the world around us. Unfortunately, in many governments, the data required to create this new understanding and to inform new public policies and programs is not carefully captured and managed. If governments and the citizens they serve are to benefit from the potential of data and the emerging technologies now available to create insight from that data, then governments must create new capability to be effective stewards of that data.

4. What is your approach regarding to measuring the value of public services?

To measure the value of a public service, we must ensure a focus on what outcome a particular service has been designed to create. Measuring the outcome of a public service is a very difficult thing to do. Too many times we see governments trying to measure value by counting; how many people, how many visits, and how many questions. This is important data, but it doesn’t tell us what value has been created. To measure public value requires understanding up front of what difference we expect a service to make, and then carefully tracking the extent to which that service does in fact generate the difference we expect over time.

5. You are listed as one of Government Technology’s Top 25 honors innovators in the public sector. Can you share one of your best practices with us?

In 2013, the Center for Technology celebrated its 20th anniversary. In honor of that celebration I joined with Dr. Sharon Dawes, CTG’s founding director, to identify the timeless lessons we had learned over those 20 years. An article presenting the lessons can be found here but the lessons themselves, our best practices, are three:

      1. Pay attention to Phase 0 — Before the beginning
      2. Understand that capability is multi-dimensional
      3. Learn to work across boundaries

6. In which area do you see the need for more research on public services?

There are many areas in digital government and public management that need more research attention. One area of particular interest to me is information sharing within the context of cities. The world’s population is increasingly concentrated in cities. How information is captured, managed and used within cities and then shared among city agencies and with other stakeholders requires new study. New understanding of these processes is needed to advance the efforts of cities to create not only responsive and effective services but also the sustainable critical infrastructure necessary to respond to the changing context.

7. What is your vision for the future of eGovernment?

Digital technologies have and continue to make the world a better place. Along with these improvements come a host of new problems and challenges. My vision for the future is that governments continue to build the capability necessary to maximize the potential of these technologies by creating new understanding of the deep interdependencies among policy, management and technology. To realize this vision government leaders, in particular, must use their unique roles to set the stage for change; they must set expectations and lead by example ensuring that their governments create public value through sincere interactions with citizens, efficient and effective services, and by providing the critical infrastructure that society relies on government to provide.

Theresa A. Pardo
Theresa A. PardoTheresa A. Pardo serves as Director of the Center for Technology in Government at the University at Albany, State University of New York, where she also holds research professor appointments in Public Administration and Policy and Informatics. Under her leadership, the Center works closely with multi-sector and multi-disciplinary teams from the U.S. and around the world to carry out applied research and problem solving projects focused on the intersections of policy, management, and technology in the governmental context.

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