The government as a platform. A (cyber)state for the digital economy

In the report, CSR experts elaborate on transforming the public governance system through the implementation of “the Government-as-a-Platform” concept that implies using possibilities afforded by new technologies. The authors put forward a vision of the future state where the governance machine is small, decisions are made fast, there are no public agencies acting as intermediaries between people and their data, there are greater opportunities for constructing individual development trajectories and for resolving real-life situations people face in their personal life and at work. It is particularly important to demonstrate how civil service itself should change during digital transformation of public service provision, of licensing, supervising, and monitoring activities, and of making managerial decisions.

Today, when digital economy and new technologies have become buzzwords, it is important to make sure that words are followed by deeds. Many countries face the question of digitizing the state, and Russia is not among the leaders, although outwardly, the lag is not catastrophic. The state should become, on the one hand, a paragon of successful innovations for individuals, non-profits, and businesses and, on the other, it should provide an environment that is conducive to innovations, which we believe to be impossible without the public governance system perceiving the reality of digital economy through its everyday activities.

Digital transformation is impossible in a flood of paperwork, in individual offices, when duplicate information systems are created, systems that will be limited by the “walls” of their respective agencies; digital transformation is impossible unless individuals and organizations are seen as partners in handling the common task and as customers of the entire public governance system. The organizational culture should change both for decision-making and for developing software. “Quality,” “result,” and “client” should cease being just buzzwords. Priority should be given to civil servants mastering digital skills and knowledge and to truly comprehending the opportunities technologies afford. Such an approach links prioritizing digital transformation of public governance with the third priority in our proposals for reforming public governance and changing hiring policies.

The report attempts to make this metaphorical concept as down-to-earth as possible by planting it on technological and governance soil and to present the key ideas on how the public platform should be organized. It should help make the discussion of digitally transforming public governance more substantive, thus its final implementation under the “Digital Economy” program will not repeat previous errors.