GovLabAustria, as a cooperation between the Federal Chancellery and Danube University Krems, provides an open experimental arena in which cross-organizational solutions in a scientific and yet practical context can be approached, thereby addressing fundamental challenges faced by the public sector. Ten experts from Danube University Krems from the Department for E-Governance in Business and Administration headed by Prof. Dr. Peter Parycek, and the Department for Knowledge and Communication Management headed by Prof. Dr. Gerald Steiner, backed by experts from the Federal Chancellery, will initiate the first projects at startup. GovLabs’ main goals will be observing international public sector projects, implementing prototype projects and conveying the knowledge gained by means of training and development. To achieve these goals, close collaboration and networking with as many stakeholders as possible is necessary.
Angelika Flatz, Head of Section III, Civil Service and Administration Innovation at the Federal Chancellery, says: “As an open experimental and innovation arena, GovLab to me is a promising approach to initiating innovation in the public sector by creating an interdisciplinary framework within which answers to complex questions can be worked on. The goal is to evolve solutions across sectors and regions, involving stakeholders – first and foremost citizens – non-profit organizations and social partners, among others.”
Peter Parycek sees GovLabAustria as a hub for more far-reaching networking: “With GovLab we want to increase collaboration with stakeholders such as administrative units, NGOs and public initiatives. In the first phase, the aim will be to attract more partners to GovLab and to forge national and international cooperation.” According to Parycek, knowledge management and even gamification will flow into evolving solutions for digital, citizen-oriented administration, and at the same time provide an opportunity to network with the University’s other research capacities on tackling these issues.
Gerald Steiner sees the need for implementing new problem-solving methods in public administration: “New management methods are required to keep up with the high speed of digitalization and the increasing complexity of administrative processes. This is where co-creation comes in. Public administration can only come up with modern, user-friendly solutions if science and stakeholders have an opportunity to join forces.”
In the framework of the European Commission’s European eGovernment Action Plan, the EU members’ administrations are working on modernizing public administration services. The purpose of this action plan is to simplify digital interaction between administration, citizens and businesses and to ensure that public administration services meet the highest quality standards. In Austria, the Federal Chancellery’s Section III (Civil Service and Administration Innovation) in collaboration with Section I (Federal ICT strategy) are in charge of implementing this action plan.