If I were the CDO of the Netherlands...

9 October 2018 | By Bart ter Steege

Jungle Minds as guest speaker at Internal Affairs.

The government really working 'citizen-centric' is something we have been advocating for some time at Jungle Minds. Fortunately, there are a lot of people within the government who agree with us and are committed to a more citizen-oriented method. So it was very nifty to be asked by the Ministry of Internal Affairs as guest speaker to shed some light on the question 'If tomorrow you are the CDO of the Netherlands: what do you do on day 1?' The meeting, organized by a group of young innovators within the government, was about 'Digital transformation within the government'. With a specific focus on what practical lessons regarding digital transformations the government can learn from the business world.

So what could we add? First of all, the simple wisdom that change really only happens when it is necessary. In most businesses this is a clear thing: you need to transform or be overrun by your competition. But for the government which has no direct competitor, this issue is less obvious. Therefore our first point: make clear how great their digital service towards citizens is. And research what influence this has on how citizens experience the government, with all the social impact that entails.

Our second point: make sure you have access to the best digital talent available. You might think that’s stating the obvious, but in practice this is - also because of tendering rules - fundamentally different. Smaller, specialized parties are often put out of action by purchasing rules. This means that a large part of the best available talent can seldom or not at all work for the government. And thus the government lacks teams and working methods that deliver measurable success in both development speed, budget control and user satisfaction.