The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), in cooperation with the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), through the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity (COE-PSP) Program Management Office conducted the Workshop on Digital Transformation for the Public Sector from 13 to 15 July 2022.
Forty-three (43) participants and twelve (12) observers from Fiji, Indonesia, Iran, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Türkiye, and Vietnam listened to lectures on digital transformation strategies, issues, and advances. They also conducted discussions on people-centered digital transformation and planning for possible risks.
Current trends, issues
DAP Senior Vice President for Programs Ms. Magdalena L. Mendoza kicked off the activity by encouraging the participants to maximize technological advancements to deliver citizen-centered services and address challenges.
Dr. Toshio Obi, Professor Emeritus at Waseda University’s Institute of Digital Government, and Ms. Hyejeong Lim, Principal Manager of the National Information Society Agency, discussed current trends and issues in digital transformation. Dr. Obi shared examples of how technological advances have helped Japan respond to challenges like an aging population and natural disasters, while Ms. Lim explained the Republic of Korea’s open data policies and initiatives, its journey towards a digital government, and the plans to build on this progress.
Dr. Jelena Dzakula, Lecturer at the King’s College London’s Department of Digital Humanities, recounted Europe’s digital transformation journey, including evaluations and case studies that contributed to current innovations. Presenting another view on disruptive technologies, she said automation, AI, and blockchain have encouraged democratization and improved organizational efficiency while introducing ethical challenges like the amplification of certain racial prejudices and threats to privacy.
The lectures and activities also tackled more practical strategies for digital transformation in the public sector.
Dr. Obi argued that certain policies and structures either promote or hinder digital transformation’s conceptualization, integration, and implementation. The public sector does not yet have an enabling environment because public-private partnerships are few, and there is little political will around digitalization. He called for greater cooperation on the matter and capacity building for the public sector.
Dr. William Torres, Distinguished Professor at Mapúa University’s School of Information Technology, focused on the lessons learned from the Philippines’ digital transformation experience. He reasoned that the Philippines, a developing country at the beginning of its digitalization journey, needs the same investment in infrastructure and skills development as its neighbors to see progress.
The European Union also experiences similar problems in the digital divide, according to Dr. Dzakula. She also echoed the calls for more genuine citizen involvement through co-production and co-creation, including models to fully account for human behavior.
Small group discussions complemented the lectures and allowed participants to share their respective countries’ experiences. In the activities facilitated by Dr. Dzakula and Dr. Obi, the participants talked about the extent to which governments’ digital services and processes involved constituents and proposed business continuity plans for digital technology.
Mr. Armand Tristan Suratos, the APO Liaison Officer for the Philippines, closed the program by encouraging the participants to find opportunities to innovate and continuously learn about digital transformation.