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Joan Van Loon, IBM

Joan Van Loon, IBM

Author:  Joan Van Loon, Enterprise Business Unit Leader Public, Life Sciences, Telco & Utilities | IBM Belux

About the author: Joan has over 17 years of experience in business management and management consulting, with expertise in diverse areas like business operations and transformations, IT strategy & governance, quality management, knowledge management and people management. He is currently leading the Public Sector in IBM Belux with personal focus on Watson, government innovation and healthcare.

In the previous articles of this series, we have seen who the new citizen is and what are his new needs and expectations from the government. We also touched upon how the government should react to these new expectations and how to handle these new needs. Now we will take a deep dive into practical and particular situations where the government can react and become a proactive public services provider.

One of the first actions that any government should think of in the relationship with its citizens is taking the initiative of this connection. In different moments of their lives, citizens encounter the government in different areas, including: reimbursement of medical expenses, tax returns, pensions, applying for home grant etc. All these interactions between the public services and the citizens are usually initiated by the people, but the government should be the one to start the dialogs.

Let me give you an example:  If you want to buy a house, you must contact and obtain different approvals and documents from various government bodies. Instead of running from one governmental body to another, the government itself can automate the process through linking the available databases. This means that you have to make you application only once.  Based on that input the government can automatically forward the required information and inform all the various official bodies that are required in the process. This would ease and streamline the whole procedure and increase citizens satisfaction and engagement.

As discussed already in the second blog post (The New Relationship Citizen-Government: A Digital Government by Joan van Loon), the government is expected to offer its citizen a high level of digitization and engagement; and thus it should achieve a personalized optimum level of service. The one-size-fits-all is no longer effective in today´s world. Each government should look to offer customized public services for each of its citizens, without losing sight of the fiscal and social realities. This is made possible through technological solutions that are available today: web, mobile, social media, etc.

My colleagues Frans Bentlage and Marc Le Noir and myself bundled already some recommendations in a whitepaper: “Paradigm shift within the government. Redefining the relationship between citizenand government.”  You can download it here (registration necessary).

In the next post, we will go even further and talk about the approach that can be used by the government to ease the relationship with the citizen and the technology: smarter information sharing.


*The new relationship Citizen – Government is full series of 8 articles and studies about how the new era of technology changes is perceived and embraced by the public authorities and which are the new challenges encountered when trying to keep or build a relationship with the modern citizen or when trying to ensure them with security.

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