FutureGov Forum Taiwan 2010

FutureGovForum Taiwan 2010: Cloud computing & crowd computing

Taipei 1-2 december 2010
Having presented the “Citizenlink” approach to citizen centred government earlier this year in Singapore and Australia, I was invited to do so too in Taiwan. The conference was held in Shangri La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel in the capital Taipei. Taipei City is dominated by “101”, the name given to the second tallest building in the world because of its number of floors. As a building it combines the characteristics of a western style skyscraper with a distinct eastern bamboo look.

In his opening address Kuan Chung, President of the Examination Yuan explained the strategy to reform Government. Whereas most democracies have three powers (Legislative, Executive and Judiciary) Taiwan has five institutions, so called “Yuans”: also Control and Examination. Control is responsible for Audits and Examination is for the Civil Service. Chung stressed that quality is not about efficiency, but about performance, so training and evaluation of the civil service are core pillars for government reform aimed at transparency and competence. eGovernment is integral part of this.

The two day FGT Taiwan 2010 Programme covered hot topics in the field of both government technology and organisation. Delegates were mostly from Taiwan national and local government. Apart from Taiwan speakers, international speakers came from Korea, Japan, Singapore, Australia, me being the only one form Europe. Several speakers dealt with cloud computing and the issue of green IT was also high on the agenda. The Netherlands’ policy to innovate the public sector by tackling quality standards, satisfaction measurement and citizen involvement in one integrated impulse, proved again to be attractive for the audience. Patrick McCormick whom I met before as a fellow speaker on conferences in in Australia, convincingly presented the opportunities and challenges of social media and the use of public sector information (PSI) based on his experience in Victoria. Jeremy Shen of the Taiwan ministry of the Interior showed the progress results that has been made in customising services to the needs of the citizens of Taiwan.

The panel discussion was devoted to the risks of cloud computing, social networks and and cybercrime. The head of IT of the Taiwan Police showed himself to be a strong advocate of limited use of the internet. My position was that life is dangerous and so is the internet. There is no way back to closed information exchange, networks will prevail and social media constitute a new access channel. The creation of a secure digital environment is necessary as is the raising of awareness of the user. People should be educated to deal with new types of risk. We probably need a new version of Don Tapscott’s famous book: “Growing Up Digital (Revisited)”.

Of the two themes on the conference one is technical in nature and the other organisational, but they have in common that both require an innovative culture which facilitates crossing organisational borders. The processing of data is no longer limited to one organization, nor is the creation of value restricted to insiders. Cloud computing as well as crowd computing require very much the same attitude of openness.

Taiwan having roughly the same size as The Netherlands but a population of 23 million, is actually more densely populated than The Netherlands. Both countries share a short period in history when in the 17the century Dutch sailors stayed on the island then called Formosa.

To get off my jet lag I took a trip to Hualien and the Taroko Gorge Road, which is cut trough marble rock and connects the eastern en western coast in the middle of the island.
The last day Jeremy Shen, whose ministry is responsible for national parks, was an great host for a visit to Yangmingshan park in the hills overlooking Taipei, smelling the volcanic springs and watching the Formosan blue magpie.
Thanks to conference organiser Winnie Lin and conference chairman Jianggan Li this edition of FutureGovForum was again a well organised, high level meeting that provided an excellent opportunity to share ideas and meet interesting people.

Translation of Dutch eCitizen Charter in Mandarin Chinese eCitizen Charter Chinese