Anticipating the Challenges of Our Next Generations

Technology is both cause and solution to many of the great issues confronting governments today, and offers significant challenges to governments around the world. There is an urgent need to modernize both our outdated systems and ageing workforce in order to provide the world-class service that citizens demand.

The 42nd Annual Conference of the International Council for Information Technology in Government Administration (ICA) will explore the next generation of technology and what it requires of the people and new ways of doing business that will shape governments in the next decade. Representatives from more than 20 countries will address some of the technology challenges governments are facing and discuss possible solutions, including:

The Emerging Challenges. The challenges for ICT in government that are emerging in the second decade of the Internet are considerably tougher than the low-hanging fruit of putting public information and services online and using IT to streamline operations. A major concern, for instance, is information security and ensuring the privacy of personally identifiable information, a goal that is often at odds with the imperatives of improving citizen customer service and increasing government transparency.

The Intergenerational Workforce. Even as technology becomes increasingly sophisticated, the ageing management in most governments is struggling with the impact of having four generations in the workforce, particularly when their experience ranges from "digital natives" to mainframe systems engineers. The diverse workforce impacts the way we recruit and retain and re-train employees as well as how we deliver information to citizens. Are we building the skill sets we need? Are we leveraging the natural abilities-and essential skills-of the upcoming generation of "digital natives?"

The Environmental Crisis. The threat of climate change worldwide is forcing governments to confront the reality that ICT is contributing as much as the airline industry to the carbon footprint. Environmental considerations will revolutionize ICT in the future, from imposing "Green IT" requirements on the acquisition and management of energy-efficient equipment to instituting energy-saving behaviours and effective recycling programs.

New Technologies. ICA representatives from around the world will demonstrate some of the latest technologies their countries are using to address these issues and project successes. Plenary panel discussions will give participants a snapshot of things to come in the next decade and small-group breakouts will consider cross-jurisdictional and integrated service-delivery issues and alternative workplace initiatives.