Public Administration in the Digital Era


Our interaction with public and governmental institutions and processes have largely remained unaffected by new digital technologies. With an increasingly complex social environment and growing population of digital native citizens, new technologies provide an ideal starting point to enable – and even demand – a shift towards a digital public administration. This new environment requires government and public administration to re-evaluate its roles and responsibilities towards citizens in order to steer digitalisation into a direction in conformity with the social market economy. Their interaction with citizens – both digitally and personally – need to be evaluated and designed in a way to increase both efficiency, security and trust in public and governmental authorities. This report identifies current trends that affect the future of public administration until 2040 and derives four future scenarios as well as five related business ideas.

Full report


"Transparency of Public Administration": The concept of transparency of PA refers to being accountable and open in all operations in such a way that it is easy for stakeholders (citizens, politicians, businesses, civil servants) to see all performed actions. This traceability allows trust, fairness, and honesty to flourish within the system. The main aspects that determine transparency are: Traceability in data processing, storage, access, and ownership as well as clarity of public funds, investments, and budget allocation. The plausibility of current decision-making processes within the PA is crucial as well. Transparency not only relates to the administration’s actions but should also enable open communication and the regular implementation of citizen feedback.

"Automation of Public Services": The automation of public services describes the extent to which processes are performed by technologies, such as AI or physical robots, instead of humans. Thus, automation goes beyond digitalization, which only refers to the format in which services are available. The concept of automation includes citizen interaction, as well as the internal processes within a single or between many institutions. Clear data structure and the accessibility and exchange of data across systems, are prerequisites for a highly automated public administration. The consequences of automation concern the number of employees in public administration, their skillset as well as time and monetary resources.

“See-Through but no Breakthrough”: Citizens completely understand the functioning of all aspects of administration. Nevertheless, internally, the public sector suffers from inefficiencies due to stagnant regulations concerning emerging technologies and fragmented efforts to integrate different administrative systems.

“Crystal Power Machine”: Public administration adopts the newest automation technologies to streamline public services and to ensure the transparency of their internal mechanisms. Political commitment to technological progress and citizen- centric strategies lead the way.

“Magic Black Box”: Public services run very smoothly but entail high back-end complexity. Due to interpretability issues and sensitivity of some state-owned data, the administration decides to keep most data internal and citizens do not really understand the decision-making scheme, leading to mistrust. They just know everything seems to be working very nicely.

“Perpetuum Immobile”: As a result of high bureaucracy and federalism, there has been no adaptation of newer technologies to improve internal efficiency. Furthermore, data security concerns lead to no advances in opening their inner workings to the citizens to make them more understandable and actionable.

Business models

1. DIGITALYOU - A Smart Assistant Helping You With Public Administration

2. PAAPI - The Next Step Towards Data Democratization

3. ENGAGIO - Bridging the Communication Gap Between Citizen and Public Administration

4. FEEDBACKSTAR - Enabling Software Developers to Create User-Centered Public Digital Services

5. FRIEDLICH - Providing Peace of Mind to You and Your Loved Ones

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