Future of Government 2030+
Collaborative Service Innovation
MA Service Experience Design and Innovation course project, in which Camden Council and European Commission, presented a number of challenges and scenarios to solve for the future government. I used speculative design methodology to present a government model, where Collaborative Service Innovation Platform is a direct democracy platform where Citizens, Businesses, Civil Society Organizations, and Councilors work together to create and improve public services.
+ European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) in collaboration with the Directorate-General for Communication Networks, Content and Technology (DG CNECT)
+ Camden Council
The main aim of the project is to zoom in changing relationships among citizens, governments, and businesses in the future (2030+). The project raised questions:
How much power will government hold, given the concept of nation states is decreasing in value, especially because of technology?
What will happen when the state is financially weak and public services are very limited?
How will digitalization help the grassroots initiatives to reach out widely?
How can the government, citizens, businesses and social organizations work together to co-create formerly public services or top-up public services?
My role was to use speculative design methodology to establish a government model that will solve the problems of public services in the future. I got multiple opportunities to interact with the councilors of Camden council, think from multiple perspectives to formulate the policy of the government, use of multiple prototypes to explain the system of the future and find methods to communicate this complex project in simple words.
The scenario in the future of the society
Using the Primary research content from the client, conducting secondary research on the topic. Develop futuristic models based on weak signals and connecting trends, prototyping and testing the concepts with stakeholders.
The hypothesis of the project was to imagine a world in 2030. Considering advancements in technology, behaviour of the citizens, political dynamics and financial models, we designed a future government model that will dominate the world.
Snapshots of the Outcome
Weak Signals: What prompted us to choose this path?
- Workshop by the author of the book ‘Crowdocracy: End of Politics’
Alan Watkins, the author of the book ‘Crowdocracy: End of Politics’ conducted a workshop with an audience, who were mostly unaware of the proceedings of the evening. He smoothly explained the scenario where governments will have limited power and funds. Then, elaborated that citizens will be creating and running the public services by themselves. His challenge to the audience was about the method of raising and managing funds by the future government.
- Emmanuel Macron, the French President, talks about France’s AI strategy
Emmanuel Macron is believed to be inclined towards the development of new technologies and methods that will solve future problems. He states, “I think artificial intelligence will disrupt all the different business models and it’s the next disruption to come. So I want to be part of it.”
- Space Hive — a Crowdfunding platform for local projects
Spacehive provides a single portal where people with project ideas can build support from their community, ensure their plans are viable, pitch for funding from the crowd and our partners at the same time, and share the impact they’ve created. For the councils, companies and grant makers that partner with Spacehive, it’s a powerful way to attract, support, and showcase projects they love.
- Cambridge Analytica Scandal — use of technology in politics
Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics firm that worked with Donald Trump’s election team and the winning Brexit campaign harvested millions of Facebook profiles of US voters, in one of the tech giant’s biggest ever data breaches, and used them to build a powerful software program to predict and influence choices at the ballot box.
Christopher Wylie, who worked with a Cambridge University academic to obtain the data, told the Observer: “We exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people’s profiles. And built models to exploit what we knew about them and target their inner demons. That was the basis the entire company was built on.”
The research concluded that embracing the revolution in technology is an imperative decision that the governments of the countries need to take. In our Future Government model, we have used the applications of AI to negate the shortcomings of the open democracy. And to limit the dominance of technology, AI in our case, we have provided control in the hands of citizens using open democracy method.
Experimentation: Development of a future government service model
The development of future government model was an intense process. Summarising the experience of working on this project –‘Advancing the horizon of imagination can be very engaging and enthralling, until, the imagination needs to be practically explained bit by bit’.
What If… the future government model is:
1. Distributed: The power of decision making is distributed among the citizens
2. Interactive: The decision making is based on interactions between stakeholders and the citizens
3. Real-Time: The changes or improvements initiated is based on the voting done by the citizens and actions is fast-paced
4. Direct: The decision making by the citizens is directly impacting operations of public services and governance.
5. Revocable: The decisions or actions are flexible and revoked if not giving the desired results.
6. Community: The citizens are connected in communities that are made up of common interests and skills
7. Glocal: The local governments all over the world are connected to each other and national borders are open
Councilors (who represent different political parties) are elected by all citizens. The councilors hire developers and data scientists in addition to other officers to maintain and monitor the functioning of the AI.
Their primary role is to take feedback from all citizens and maintain the integrity & operations of AI as administrators. The changes in AI are decided by the councilors based on discussions/ debates in parliament.
Citizens: Their role is to suggest new public services, get approval from other citizens, improve on recommendations, collaborate and include other organizations to finally execute the approved proposals that are designated to them.
CSOs: They share their skills, research, and resources for the benefit of the community. A lot of them propose, promote and execute ideas that are for the welfare of the society.
Business: They invest their resources (funds, skills, manpower) to promote and execute ideas.
The main technology that will make our concept possible is AI — by AI we mean “computers which perform cognitive tasks usually associated with human minds, particularly learning and problem-solving.” (Nesta’s Confronting Doctor Robot)
There are 3 aspects of this AI on which the platform depends:
· Facilitate and regulate interactions
· Big Data collection
The last feedback guided us to focus on delivering the solution as a public service cohesively.
Setting the KPI: What will be the outcome of the idea.
AI reviews the KPI set by a citizen, primarily if it is evidence and outcome-based. If not, then the citizen has to reassess his strategy and make a new plan.
design and resources
AI gives recommendations on:
The resources needed to execute the project
Different timelines followed depending on the usage of the resources
Assign Responsibilities / Experts (COUNCILOR)
· Profile of experts and other people needed for the project
· Profile of the councilors, who can be a value-add for the project
· Other service providers/ businesses that can be integrated
· Services that can be charged based on the behavior and need of the people
· Public Money — the system gives options for the projects, from which budget can be re-allocated — citizens then vote to decide if the resources should be re-distributed.
· The councilors assign a person, who is selected from the recommended councilors and who acts as a steward overseeing the operations and execution, for this project
· The responsibilities and roles of each member of the team is fixed
· The team delivers by executing the idea, hiring a team for maintenance and service
AI analyses the status of the project in real time and shares
areas of improvement
recommendations on participation of the team members
To learn the concept of speculative design was very insightful. Changing from "How might we..." to "What if... " looked a bit unconventional in the beginning but reaped wonderful results for the project.
Prototyping and presenting a future idea is also challenging work. We had to provide proof of the speculative approach we took.
Presenting the concept in a short time was a challenge but very intense. We presented by role-playing and imagination and we could learn a lot considering the best way to explain our idea. In our final presentation, I represented an AI.