President’s Message to the Digital Government Society of North America

December 19, 2012

Digital Government has entered a transformational phase. Advances in technologies, the unprecedented availability of government data, the development of policy frameworks, and global economic crises have created opportunities to rethink how we govern; how citizens engage with governments; how governments and citizens develop policies and implement solutions that effect change in their communities, and how governments and businesses collaborate to create new economies. From Smart Cities to global issues regarding health, the environment, and education, to name a few, digital government has never been more exciting and vibrant than now.

These opportunities also come with challenges for governments, businesses, and citizens, such as:

  • Policy structures and frameworks that facilitate engagement, collaboration, and participation, while simultaneously ensuring privacy, security, an equitable access.
  • Technologies that offer immediate and ongoing interactions, but governance structures that are still developing in terms of using such interactions to effect change.
  • Unprecedented data availability that can offer insights into local, state, national, and international issues, foster economic development, and generate solutions to persistent problems.
  • Technology architectures that are secure, enable data sharing across and between governments, provide integrative citizen services, and offer efficiencies.
  • Ensuring business processes that reflect the integrative and collaborative nature of government, citizen, and business interactions.

The challenges are greater than any one community – research, industry, citizens – can resolve on their own. Moving forward, it is imperative that we seize the opportunities before us and work with governments and industry, with citizen input, to develop solutions and inform practice through digital government research. 

Our first three presidents, Sharon Dawes of SUNY Albany, Eduard Hovy of USC, and Jochen Scholl of UW, led the Digital Government Society of North America (DGSNA) from creation through to its current status. Their leadership successfully created DGSNA with a vision of establishing a vibrant digital government community of research and practice.  I thank our past three presidents for their substantial achievements in the development of DGSNA.

As DGSNA moves forward, it is time to reflect on its mission, goals, and objectives – and what the members want the Society to be. A critical strength of DGSNA is that it is an international organization. Though initially conceived as an Society that operates in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, its reach extends beyond North America. Another strength is the diverse and innovative research and practice interests that our members represent. And of course, we have the dg.o conference, now in its 14th year. These serve as strong foundations upon which we can continue to build the Society. The next year serves as a rebuidling year for the Society, and we hope that you will join us in this undertaking.

This year the dg.o conference will take place at Laval University in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada June 17-20, 2013. The conference brings together a leading international community of digital government researchers and practitioners. Our dg.o conference along with the HICSS e-Government Track, the IFIP EGOV conference, and the ICEGOV conference, are the top international conferences in Digital or Electronic Government. We hope that you will join us for dg.o 2013!

I wish all members of the Society and the wider DG community a very productive 2013.

Best wishes,

John Carlo Bertot, PhD

President, Digital Government Society of North America