The indicator of Digital Agenda Scoreboard European Union predicts that by 2015 the 50% of the population uses services of e-government. However, Italy is far behind (less than 20% against the over 40% of the European average) towards this goal. Part of the causes certainly lies in the functional and digital illiteracy among the highest in Europe, others must be identified in the technical-functional choices that have not always taken into account the requirements of citizens (service users) and stakeholders, perpetuating ways of old and unthinkable top-down design.
In short, the problem is very complex, but how could the Public Administration deal with it? An answer comes from The digital skills of the public manager. An operational guide for the new PA: the volume written by Giuseppe Iacono and Flavia Marzano and just published by Maggioli Editore that will be presented in Rome on 5 February, (11.00, at the Department of Public Administration at Palazzo Vidoni, Sala Giannini) in the presence of Alessandra Poggiani (DG Agency for Digital Italy), Salvatore Marras (FormezPA), Renzo Turatto (National School of Administration), Paolo Coppola (Adviser for the Digital Agenda of the Minister of Public Administration), Antonio Palmieri (Parliamentary Intergroup for Technological Innovation). Antonella Giula will moderate the meeting Pizzaleo (responsible Digital Agenda for the Lazio Region).
The introduction to the book reads:Public administrations play a fundamental role in Italian society for the conservation or evolution of the cultural model. When one thinks of the implementation of the increasingly indispensable digital revolution, for public administrations the theme becomes that of "digital PA". The thesis is therefore that if the digital age is already here, and in many countries it is already well underway, the opportunities that present themselves are many and largely decisive for improving the quality of life (just think of the application in healthcare or in that of mobility), and the PA can become a driving force, example and stimulus, as well as design advanced models of services for citizens, so the role of the public manager becomes fundamental to usefully address public policies on digital, and at the same time at the same time it changes radically compared to the past».
And it is in this context that, according to the authors of the volume, languages, behaviours, roles, paradigms, management principles inevitably change and new skills are therefore needed: advanced digital skills that allow PA managers to be able to define appropriate requirements and policies. On the other hand the digital skills of new public managers are not important, they are absolutely necessary. In the preface of the volume, Alessandra Poggiani, General Manager of Agid, reinforces the concept by underlining that "the development of new skills is essential because, as the former European Commissioner for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes recently stated, we live in an economic context in which 'the 90% of jobs require digital skills".
But how to do it and above all what to do?
The manual follows an articulated path closely correlating the skills necessary for the public manager with the vision of a public organization capable of fully interpreting "the digital revolution" at the service of its fundamental mission; as part of a skills profile in which digital skills become indispensable and enabling to act effectively on the organization and on the teams. The text is primarily aimed at the managers of Public Administrations who are primarily called to interpret and lead the necessary change towards digital, to create the "digital age" of the PA. But it also wants to be a reflection tool for the political class on the dimension of change, which many still think of as superficial and technological, as well as for Change Management and Human Resources Management specialists, for scholars and students of Organization and Change Management which, on the topics of the digital revolution, innovation and the congruent development of skills, want to compare reflections, concrete elaborations, results and incorporate studies to guide the evolution of organizations in the medium-long term.
Giuseppe Iacono and Flavia Marzano
The digital skills of the public manager. An operational guide for the new PA
Maggioli Editore, December 2014, pp. 218, 32 euros.
The volume consists of eight chapters:
The first outlines the context of the change of the PAs by analyzing the objectives and development axes indicated in the European Digital Agenda (EDA) aimed at the evolution of public administrations and carrying out an examination of what is foreseen (or is not foreseen) in the sections regulations that make up the current Italian Digital Agenda (ADI);
The second explores what is happening in public administrations thanks to regulatory changes and innovative initiatives promoted above all at the local level in terms of digital evolution;
The third deals with the theme of the new skills required of public managers, proposing, on the basis of the most widespread experiences and models, a scheme for the definition and management of the skills of public managers which integrates individual skills and collective skills and these with the three levels on which we have articulated digital skills;
The fourth focuses on the organizational skills of the public manager and focuses in particular on the organizational dimension of knowledge management and how it can be applied to public administrations, outlining the characteristic elements that a public organization must have, an organization based on knowledge, open , agile and resilient at the same time;
In the fifth chapter, the fundamental role that social networks assume for the activities of the administrations, in communication, collaboration and knowledge sharing, is studied in depth, and in addition a methodological framework is provided for the approach to the issue of citizen participation and citizenship digital;
The sixth describes how the project management paradigm becomes the backbone of the activities of public organizations to ensure speed and reliability of results and to implement e-government
In the seventh, attention is focused on the theme of change management, framed both as a manager's ability and as a necessary key to innovation.
In conclusion, the eighth chapter defines some points of reference for an intervention program towards the new public management for the digital PA.