Digitalisation makes it possible to work on the challenges facing society in an innovative manner. We encourage this for example by cooperating with start-ups and by implementing a variety of experiments. Over the next year, we aim to continue along these same lines. Cooperation between the various levels of public administration and public-private partnerships will continue to play a key role.
In solving the problems facing society, we intend to make use of innovative example projects. Within these projects, the various levels of public administration will work together to make a positive difference for individual citizens and entrepreneurs. These example projects are aimed at improving service provision in the short term (within 9 months) by removing barriers. We will ensure that these projects contribute to the objectives outlined in this agenda. Each project offers space for a multiplicity of solutions. Periodically we will examine whether the selected solutions still satisfy the underlying needs.
In this agenda, we describe four example projects:
- Use of water in periods of drought
- Work and income
- Government services relating to death
- Government services in relation to moving home
Combined innovation and experimentation
The problems facing society are increasingly solved through public-private partnership. In that framework, in April 2019, the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) released an innovation budget to improve digital services. Within this Startup in Residence programme, backed by BZK, four startups were launched in 2019. Their activities are focused on digital inclusion, flexible housing, gas-free residential districts and supervision of agricultural land. Other examples of public-private partnerships are the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, the Artificial Intelligence Coalition and the Alliance for Inclusion.
In the public domain, a variety of experiments have been undertaken involving new service concepts based on the overarching concept of ‘control of data’. One example is the Blue Button (Blauwe Knop). The Blue Button enables individual citizens to identify which data about him or her are known to which organisation. Based on a proof of concept, a method for testing the technical functioning of a product in practice, we have demonstrated that it is possible to issue address details from the Basic Municipal Registry (Basisregistratie Personen – BRP) and income data from the Basic Income Register (BRI) via MijnOverheid, to housing corporations. We are also investigating the practical added value of digital (open source) participation tools in increasing public involvement. This project is being carried out in a living lab that currently includes fifteen municipalities.
Working with pilots, living labs and experiments ties in with the Organising Together (Samen Organiseren) initiative of the Association of Netherlands Municipalities (VNG). Based on these Common Ground principles, the municipalities are working step by step towards a new, futureproof municipal ICT infrastructure, seen from the perspective of the individual citizen. Among the tools deployed by the VNG for improving service provision are fieldlabs. This ties in with the innovative approach to working favoured by us as government. At the end of 2018, a fieldlab was organised that brought together civil servants responsible for policy, market parties, implementing bodies, designers and software developers. One excellent example of a prototype developed within the fieldlab is the chatbot for people moving home. This prototype can also be used within other government organisations.
We plan to continue along this path. In the framework of NL DIGIbeter, we are also working to bring initiatives together, so that it is not necessary for everyone to continuously reinvent the wheel.
Knowledge and skills
The National Academy for Digitalisation and Information Technology Government (RADIO) was recently launched. This initiative will be expanded. The courses offered by RADIO are focused on the impact of digitalisation on policy and policy implementation. Key themes include commissioning practice, the use of data and algorithms, privacy and ethics and the application of new technologies. Following on from the classically taught basic course, RADIO is developing a series of e-learning modules and webinars. More in-depth content is currently being developed on a number of themes, for the core departments.
Research programmes such as Digital Society by the Association of Universities (VNSU) and Responsible Innovation by the Dutch Research Council (NWO) offer additional support in satisfying knowledge and research needs.
Cooperation assists in translating the needs of society into innovative services for citizens and businesses. With that in mind, we encourage the exchange of knowledge. The University of Technology in Delft, Nederland ICT and Logius/ICTU, for example, have launched the Digicampus initiative, a place where the market, government, the academic world and end users structurally join forces. Digicampus also offers an open environment for experimentation.
Another initiative in the field of knowledge sharing relates to data-driven employment. BZK, the VNG and the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) and Justice and Security (JenV) and Statistics Netherlands (CBS) are working together to develop a Learning and Expertise Centre for Data-driven Employment. Knowledge exchange between government and the academic world is also taking place within the National Police Lab Artificial Intelligence, part of the Innovation Centre for Artificial Intelligence (ICAI).
Actions 2019 – 2020 – Innovation
- We will be prolonging the innovation budget in 2019 and 2020. We will invest 6 million euros each year on innovative ideas aimed at improving digital government services.
- We will continue to actively cooperate among others in the Dutch Blockchain Coalition, under the heading Smart Society.
- We are focusing on a broader network of partners to encourage the use of new technologies for tackling the problems facing society. For example with Small Business Innovation Research. This competition will challenge market parties for example to help find answers to societal problems through the use of artificial intelligence.
- We are extending the Startup in Residence programme at BZK to establish an interdepartmental programme with the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Fisheries, the Province of Zuid-Holland the Municipality of The Hague.