How to promote PA’s digital transformation

Awards for Research

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Public administrations grappling with the integration of artificial intelligence into their processes and into services for citizens can benefit from the findings of an analysis conducted by three scholars 1 from SDA Bocconi School of Management (Greta Nasi, Maria Cucciniello, and Alexander Hiedemann) along with Mila Gasco-Hernandez (State University of New York). The study was recognized by the Urban Governance journal as the best paper published in the latest considered year.

 

The award citation stated, among other things, that “this article can inform local governance and digital transformation for cities worldwide.”

 

By analyzing some instances of digital transformation in three European smart cities, namely Barcelona, Milan, and Munich, the authors identified three sets of factors capable of promoting the success of digital transformation.

 

  • Strategy: Successful transformations, although vastly different in terms of goals and actors involved, have a common feature: they are never an end in themselves but introduce technologies aligned with the administration's overall strategic objectives.

 

  • Leadership: Both political and administrative leadership contribute to the success of transformation initiatives, by highlighting clear priorities and laying the organizational foundations for the transformation to be completed. Changes in political leadership, on the other hand, can jeopardize the success of the process.

 

  • Collaboration: Transformation cannot occur without collaboration between the public and private sectors, necessary for seeking financial resources and employing cutting-edge technological skills. This collaboration is only possible when a climate of mutual trust has been established in advance.

 

“The result regarding trust and collaboration is particularly relevant,” said Greta Nasi, Director of the Executive Executive Master in Management of International Organizations (EMMIO) at SDA Bocconi. “Fundamental skills such as those related to cybersecurity and artificial intelligence do not typically reside in public administrations, which cannot compete, in recruitment, with large international corporations. However, they can establish the climate of trust that will make collaboration possible.”

 

 

SDA Bocconi School of Management

 

 

  • 1 Mila Gasco-Hernandez, Greta Nasi, Maria Cucciniello, Alexander M. Hiedemann, “The role of organizational capacity to foster digital transformation in local governments: The case of three European smart cities,” Urban Governance, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ugj.2022.09.005.

     

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