Podcast: Trond Arne Undheim on the e-government of tomorrow
This year’s e-Governance Conference – A Digital Decade in One Year – looks at the implications of the accelerated digital transformation resulting from the pandemic. The programme creates space to explore the new normal in which we find ourselves today and the next normal that we are entering.
In the build-up to the Conference, our podcasts will introduce some of the main speakers that will take part in the programme. One of the keynotes will be delivered by Trond Arne Undheim – futurist, investor, author and entrepreneur. Together we discussed the future of e-governance and the considerations for leaders preparing for the next normal.
Drivers of technological progress
Having just published Future Tech, his latest book on the disruptive forces behind technology-fuelled industry trends, Trond provides a unique perspective on the e-government of tomorrow. At the core of this lies the recognition that the complexities of current and future challenges demand a more comprehensive approachto development.
According to Undheim, “what drives technology is not technology, because there are so many other factors that influence how it is developed and how it should be developed.” Undheim conceptualises four fundamental forces behind technological progress:
- the combination of science and technology,
- policy and regulation,
- new business models, and
- social dynamics.
The environment in which we operate functions as an additional force, impacting what can be done with technology and where it can be done most effectively. In order to develop efficient technology, there needs to be a broader understanding of how these forces interact and shape social and technological outcomes.
Building future e-governments
As well as providing a lens for the analysis of future trends, these disruptive forces also constitute a toolbox with which to build the e-governments of the future. Importantly, “e-governance is no longer only a governmental responsibility,” Undheim underlines. Partnership models need to be diversified and rebuilt to enable meaningful engagement with more entities that play a role in the ever-evolving global technological infrastructure.
Acknowledging the widening network of influential actors – from big tech companies to NGOs – leaders need to level the playing field and start sharing the responsibility of effective e-governance development.
On top of that, current and future challenges can no longer be contained within individual states. Undheim believes that the focus of e-governance should be expanded from nation-states to transnational models. But he does not call for the creation of new structures – rather, a reinvigoration of existing ones. This includes the introduction of different tools and building processes that will stand the test of increasingly complex challenges.
In Undheim’s perspective, leaders have a few decades to settle on a sustainable path to development and get it right. In his keynote “A Path Towards the e-Government of Tomorrow”, Undheim will go further into of these future developments, highlighting new challenges and considerations for governments going forward.