Governments, public agencies or other institutions contemplating the drafting and implementation of digital, IT-based strategies, can turn to a number of model projects for inspiration. IT strategies will in many cases circle around citizen-centered approaches for services delivery, open business processes, improved (internal) collaboration, mobile apps, new levels of transparency, and consolidation of processes and IT to streamline public service delivery, improve access to information, cut costs and create room for innovation. Two highly interesting aspects of IT strategy often get less attention than they should. The first is what I would like to call the outsider-capability of the strategy, and the second is outsider-centric services. These are thoughts I’ve head a few years back and I only now managed to finish up this short blog post.
Outsider-capability of IT strategy
To which degree can IT-based services be used by outsiders? Any e-Government offering for example, might also be of interest to visitors, tourists, migrants, temporary residents or business travelers. Outsider-capability asks whether your IT strategy takes into account non-residential (or non-citizen) use cases and takes a proper far-sightedness into consideration when implementing IT-based services. In a way, these are aspects influencing cross-border compatiblity of your services, reputation among colleagues from other places, and efficiency of service delivery for all persons impacted.
Outsider-centric services design
This is the big sister of outsider-capability. Outsider-centric services are those primarily aimed at non-residents. These are aspects of your IT strategy that primarily target visitors, tourists, business travelers, possible investors, migrants, etc. In a way, these are the aspects visible the most to foreigners, and in a way are the international business card of your country, region or city. These services your own citizens rarely get to see, or they don’t need to use them. Part of this strategy is also asking the question: how can outsiders access these (free public WiFi is one such element).
As more and more cities or regions adopt digital strategies, we increasingly see outsider-capability and outsider-centric services pop up, as service strategies converge and strategists take marketing and tourism concerns seriously. There is also a lot to learn from how outsiders use digital public services, not just when they originate from places that might be more digitally advanced than your own.