Core Areas of Discussion
The congress is partitioned in four core areas, reflecting the content in 12 future panels and other formats such as workshops and dialogues:
Core Area 1
Core Area 2
Core Area 3
Core Area 4
Core Area 1
Practical aspects of German law: Is Germany's legislation digital ready?
Digitalisation changes the world of citzens, revolutionises the commercial sector and is the driving power for a modern administration. Does this work under the primacy of law? Is the German legislation ready and capable of incoporating the advantages of digitalisation in those processes goverened by the law specifically between the administration, the citizens and businesses? Legislation needs to include digital concepts within set processes from the start. This cannot work without the given skills and qualifications for those participating in the processes of legislation. It is necessary to train and sensitize the stakeholders. At the same time, the information management between the legislative and executive powers has to be synchronised in order for the requirements of digitalisation to actually find its way into legislation. This will allow for an improved legislation oriented towards the implementation of laws which will reinforce the digitalisation in Germany in the long term. Does this legislation already exist? Is it „digital ready“?
Election talk: Strategists of the political party platforms for the federal German election in September 2017 exchange expert opinions about the claim of the Future Congress „Germany‘s vote: Digital progress or analogue downtime?
The digitalisation of all areas of life cannot be stopped. Notwithstanding, the direct outcome and following changes cannot be fully grasped today in their disruptive extent. In this process, Germany may be left behind by international competition. This also applies to the digitalisation of state and governance, as several studies show. Germany is ranked 21st in the E-Government Survey of the United Nations, E-Government usage is reported at a low 39% in the E-Governement Monitor of the Initiative D21, and the eGovernment-Benchmark of the EU finds Germany only on position 12 in the category „Online availability for losing and finding a job“. According to the Panel State & Governance 2016, the further development of E-Government and measures of digitalisation repeatedly represent the biggest challenges for German administratoin. Thus, only few numbers point out: There is a lot to be done yet! Germany needs a digitalisation programme.
The Future Forum aims at discussing central topics for such a digitalisation programme prior to the federal election which will take place in September 2017. It will specifically deal with how digitalisation in Germany can be advanced and which will be the main fields of action in the future. The discussion will not focus on vague election pledges, though, but instead on specific implementation strategies.
Innovation management in public administration: Innovation laboratories, MindLabs and government start-ups as game changers
Challenges increase, developments accelerate, classical solutions become out-dated: The public sector - as any other sector - needs innovation, not just modernisation, to remain capable of acting and become effectively sustainable. This insight matures and so-called innovation management comes into sight. How can innovation management be organised? Which ways or variations are possible? Classic innovation management, which remains stuck in the oganisational structures as concerns space, personnel and processes, is supplemented by innovation labs, MindLabs and government start-ups. These can be distinguished by their interdisciplinary approach, spatial and organisational seperation from the normative organisation and their different rules and processes. In businesses and the sciences they are already widely practiced. Abroad, such as in Denmark, Great Britain or Austria, "Public Innovation Labs" have already been established while Germany is collecting first experiences in this sphere.
This future workshop will illustrate the already existing experience and findings and raises the question whether and where public innovation labs and government start ups could be established. The aim is to encourage this way of innovation management.
What can digitalisation do to prevent the retreat of the state from the rural areas?
Although demographic change concerns both the urbal and rural areas it is precisely the rural areas that can benefit the most from digitalisation in terms of improving the quality of life and location with new information technology and networking. This is of great importance in Germany's highly decentralised settlement and economical structure.
However, digitalisation can and should not be reduced to highly efficient broadband connections generally based in glass fibre. Instead, structural issues such as accessibility, shortage of skilled labour or emigration should be tackled in order to improve the living situation of the people. This may concern public transport or local supply, new concepts of learning as substitutes for obsolete school structures or e-health and telemedicine as substitutes for the lack of on-site doctors.
In projects such as "smart country", "digital village", "digital region" or "digital vineyard", local, regional and state stakeholders conjointly develop and test sustainable, innovative concepts for rural areas. Digitalistion does not solve all described problems, though. Well-established concepts such as the local government reform (Gebietsreform) should be re-evaluated in the context of digitalision. Both creative digital as well as conventional solutions will be introduced and discussed in the panel.
Core Area 2
Open Government as a trigger for innovation for the society, the economy and the state
The federal German government passed the draft resolution for an open data law which regulates the systematic opening of governance data for the public. At the same time, the government follows the request of the federal states by participating in the Open Government Partnership which obligates her to biennially compile an action plan in cooperation with civil society and evaluate its implementation.
However, openness is not an end in itself. First, data should become usable as an important resource and production factor. Concurrently, open data should lead to an increased participation. How can national action plans be designed in order for citizens to realise their usability? How can participatory formats contribute to an improved decision making for the benefit of all? What can we learn from best practices that already exist?
Cyber and IT security: How current development schemes for standards and strategies by the federal German government effect citizens, the economy and public administration
The world moves fast as regards cyber and IT security. Below are only a few examples since the publication of the new strategy on cyber security by the federal German government in November 2016:
At the end of November 2016, approximately 1 million routers in Germany belonging to internet connections of Telekom were disrupted (infection with malicious code). A few days later, the possibly largest bot network world-wide, Avalanche, was subverted - even after international investigation in several countries. On the day of the terror attack on Breitscheidplatz in Berlin in December 2016, there was an attempt to disturb or jeopardise the investigative work of the security authorities by a cyber attack on the German Federal Office of Criminal Investigation. Within a few days, cyber attacks on OSCE were reported and at the end of the year 2016, the US government examined in how far cyber attacks had an influence on the election campaign. In Germany, as well, the discussion about cyber attacks in politics and the media has intensified dramatically.
In order to implement security measures successfully and thus achieve an extensive protection from cyber attacks, cooperation on all federal German levels is paramount. The forum will therefore focus not only on measurements described in the strategy on cyber security and current intended legal regulations but also on the cooperation between federation, states and municipalities.
Bots, algorithms and artificial intelligence: A How-To for future public services
Artificial intelligence is the new trend of the year 2017. Every week a new start-up appears on the canopy of digital change.
Driverless cars, automatic adverts and bots for the processing of ever-recurring customer requests or for activating customer dialogues are hotly debated precursors of an extensive automisation of our living and working conditions. The automisation of dialogical processes reduces access barriers to information, accelerates processes for solution finding and possibly facilitates the willingness for dialogue.
Which successful user scenarios in e-commerce and the media can be transferred to administrative processes? Which technologies are being used? How should opportunites and hazards be weighted? How can the impact of artificial intelligence best be channelled? These are the topics of this future workshop.
Core Area 3
Consolidation of the IT management in the German federal system – current and future perspectives
IT consolidation aims at common standards and procedures in the areas operations, services and procurement in order to improve interoperability as well as techonological and security standards. This should increase user-friendliness in the long term while at the same time reducing costs.
The federal government is exerting pressure to implement this consolidation with the goal to have fewer but more efficient data processing centres. Some states and municipalities have already finalised these steps, others still need to go forward. In future panel VII , positive and negative experiences with IT consolidation will be presented and success criteria will be discussed. Additionally, typical questions that may occur during the consolidation phase will be addressed. These may include: How should professional and general IT be differentiated? How can the departments retain their authority concerning those procedures necessary for achieving the output? How is it possible to retain flexibility when everything is standardised? How can change management support governance modernisation during IT consolidation? How will IT and professional employees be presuaded to support this consolidation? And lastly, can consolidation across the federal levels work?
IT procurement and consolidation in a federal state: What will change for users and bidders?
Public institutions from all levels of the German federal state aim at one consolidated IT-landscape by increasingly implementing standardised IT basic components. Possible applications in this area range from integrated portal solutions and CMS to specific technical procedures up to electronic files and ERP solutions. Sometimes, public agencies are required by law to use these basic components. This raises the question how the procurement of basic components can be implemented in a productive way from the point of view of procurement agencies, IT service centres and the public agency itself. The Future Workshop thus addresses the following questions, amongst others: What do procurement agencies, IT service centres and public agencies need to take into consideration when calling for tenders for basic components? How does a successful strategy for accepting tenders look like? Are framework contracts the method of choice - singular vs. multiple framework contracts? How can the monopolisation of the market be thwarted? In how far is it possible to react to the specific demands of the public sector during the implementation?
Core Area 4
Digital Leadership: What remains? What's new?
Digitalisation influences all areas of life. In working life, „new work“ revolutionises products, processes and the way to work with each other. This means, management will have to adapt to new requirements, especially as concerns the concept of „leading“. Whereas young start ups consider leading as entirely obsolete, practitioners point out that it is particilarly necessary precisely in these new conditions, even if in a different form. What does it mean to lead in a world of Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity and Ambiguity? Does it mean, above all, to set framework conditions and regulations and see to it that they are observed? Or do management principles such as trust, collaboration, significance, orientation on the common welfare and networking become more important? Will all key skills be subsumed by digital leadership in the future or does this rather define an inner attitude?
Was bedeutet es, in einer Welt zu führen, die zunehmend geprägt ist von Flüchtigkeit, Ungewissheit, Komplexität und Mehrdeutigkeit?
Cultural change in administration: How to consolidate interdisciplinary teams
Successful change projects require both professional as well as social and, above all, interdisciplinary competence. Without cooperation of proffesionals from the fields of law, business administration, technique and the respective departments, eGovernment and other ambitious larg-scale projects cannot succeed. However, the current and often antiquated structure of administration does not support this interaction. Interdisciplinary teams can foster such cooperation between departments and disciplines and thus greatly contribute to a change of culture in administration. These kind of teams have proven succesful for new, innovative areas and particularly when generating new ideas or applying new solutions. Nevertheless, for interdisciplinary cooperation to work, all participants need to be particularly goal-oriented, flexible and motivated in order to deal with this additional effort. Management and human ressources need to tackle issues such as how interdisciplinarity will effect the performance of project teams and how such teams can best be put into practice. What are the general conditions and how can interdisciplinary teams be strenghtened to boost cultural change in public administration?
An increasing digitalisation and complexity in public administration require agility instead of silo-mentality. We need to turn away from unilateral decisions and towards agile working. This includes new ways of thinking, efficient cooperation of divisions across organisational borders, more participation and an early involvement of relevant stakeholders, constructive working structures, a quick adaptation of targets and ressources, solving problems and cooperating on a hierarchy-free basis, qualified and motivated personnel.
The dialogue is a format for exchange of experience and learning from each other. The following questions will be at the centre of discussion:
- From a silo-mentality to flexibility - What kind of decisions, communication and cooperation are needed for agile working teams?
- Which practical experiences have already been made (first concepts, success criteria, difficulties)?
In the Future Dialogue, approaches practiced in the municipalities that respond to these questions will be introduced and discussed. The dialogue thus offers the opportunity to change perspective and arrive at mutual findings, thoughts and ideas. This opens new possibilities for reflexion, exchange, understanding and consideration.
*Themes of Future Panels and workshops are subject to change, as of March 2017