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Innovating and changing the policy-cycle: Policy-makers be prepared!

December 06, 2016 by Marijn Janssen, Natalie Helbig

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Many policy-makers are struggling to understand participatory governance in the midst of technological changes. Advances in information and communication technologies (ICTs) continue to have an impact on the ways that policy-makers and citizens engage with each other throughout the policy-making process. A set of developments in the areas of opening government data, advanced analytics, visualization, simulation, and gaming, and ubiquitous citizen access using mobile and personalized applications is shaping the interactions between policy-makers and citizens. Yet the impact of these developments on the policy-makers is unclear. The changing roles and need for new capabilities required from the government are analyzed in this paper using two case studies. Salient new roles for policy-makers are outlined focused on orchestrating the policy-making process. Research directions are identified including understand the behavior of users, aggregating and analyzing content from scattered resources, and the effective use of the new tools. Understanding new policy-makers roles will help to bridge the gap between the potential of tools and technologies and the organizational realities and political contexts. We argue that many examples are available that enable learning from others, in both directions, developed countries experiences are useful for developing countries and experiences from the latter are valuable for the former countries.