Two days ago I had a fascinating conversation with a group of government officials who are looking into the so-called post-i2010 work, i.e. the definition of the policy priorities for the European information society for the next 5 years. i2010 was the set of policies that implemented the so-called Lisbon Strategy, revolving around the role of Information and Communication Technologies to help growth and employment.
We were discussing about how to identify priorities across a variety of very sensible policy areas, ranging from infrastructure deployment to trust and security, from interoperability to e-inclusion, and I suggested that there were two possible ways.
The first one, politically-incorrect and therefore quite theoretical would be to recognize where Europe has failed achieving growth and competitiveness. Of course one cannot make the case for ICT being a culprit for this (although the resonance effect created by real time information shared across increasingly interrelated supply chains certainly played a role). But identifying ineffective policies , e.g.in areas like Research & Development (see previous post), would be a healthy exercise. Incidentally there is a recent post by my colleague Mark Raskino where he makes a great case for how technology may have reduced rather than amplified the effects of the current crisis.
More practically, another way of taking a fresh look at these polices would be to ask the question: what do people (i.e. European citizens) really care about? Do they care more about growth and competitiveness or about social cohesion and job security? Do they want transparent and open government or do they want effective government? Do they want to participate in decision-making or do they want to be left alone?
It goes without saying that taking only this perspective would be limiting, as people certainly have different concerns and priorities in their different roles, be they voters, entrepreneurs, employees, parents, patients, homeowners, and so forth. But taking one or more of these relatively narrow views may provide food for thought to those who are looking for a better way to prioritize policy developments and investments in the so-called information society