Smart Governance – As Smart Decision Making

Over the past decade, the concept of the smart city has become a key area interest for governments, policy-makers and the public members at large. Although there lacks a universal definition of the phrase smart city, it is characterized as the urban policies as well as the local governments’ initiatives that employ ICT technologies in enhancing the inhabitants’ quality of life. Such initiatives are also focused on the creation and implementation of sustainable developments in the urban regions. In today’s contemporary society, smart city methodologies are widely associated with the top-down procedures of technological diffusion. This is a research proposal focused on determining the smart city techniques of innovation that the government can employ when making smart governance decisions.  

Background Study

Today, more than half of all people in the world live in urban agglomerations. According to the United Nations statistics, the figure is expected to be at 66 percent by 2050. As a result, most cities are faced with various issues such as social inclusion, transport, security, infrastructure, housing, sustainability and economic development among others. At the same time, due to the growth of the information and communication sector, the employment of technology has enhanced democratization in the creation of capacity people in urban regions. It has also empowered such persons to participate in the various efforts and dynamics of making their urban centers, smart cities. Today, urban centers can be conceptualized as complex ecosystems that contain different stakeholders with a diverse range of interests.  

Such stakeholders are forced to work together in ensuring that they can secure a sustainable environment as well as a greatly enhanced quality of life. As such, the use of new technologies can permit the interaction of different stakeholders in structuring solutions that can solve the numerous challenges that numerous cities in the world face. Today, although smart city approaches are designed to create a positive impact on the day to day lives of the citizens, smart policies are specifically targeted on top-down initiatives. The government through political discourses have popularized such smart governance initiatives, and the citizens are often regarded to be the users, testers as well as consumers of smart governance innovations.  

Research Questions and Research Hypothesis

Which are the most effective smart governance innovative initiatives that can be employed by the government during smart decision making in create to develop smart cities? 

Justifications and Limitations of the Study 

Justification

With the rapidly increasing technology in many cities around the world, there is an urgent need to ascertain the most effective smart governance initiative. That is an initiative that can be employed by the government during the smart governance decision making process. Currently, there are numerous smart governance initiatives that have been adopted to create smart cities. Nonetheless, there is no single initiative that has been ascertained as being the best in attaining timely results during the creation of smart cities. The identification of a highly effective smart governance initiative will immensely aid in the rapid growth of highly sustainable cities in different parts of the world. 

Limitations

During the transformational process that aids an urban region to become a smart city, there are primary considerations that should be put in place. This is because such consideration could limit the efficiency of the implementation of the smart policies and initiatives. The government must take into consideration the complexity as well as the plurality of an urban reality when implementing smart governance innovations. The government should also go beyond considering urban citizens as just users, consumers and testers of technology in order to identify, nourish as well as integrate smart city decisions and innovations.

Even if the government creates an emphasis on the importance or relevance of various bottom-up initiatives, the public members or the citizens concerned may lack sufficient resources to act by themselves without the government’s intervention. This is because, some innovative initiatives, meant for creating smart city implementations may require cost intensive infrastructures and various regulatory changes. In addition, when using disruptive technology, the public members may fail to comprehend the possibilities and effectiveness of its usage. This is in facilitating smart governance decisions to foster the attainment of smart cities. 

In such cases, the government, as well as the concerned institutions, must play an imperative role in informing as well as incentivizing the usage of such technologies during the first phases of innovation. In addition, some emerging uses of innovative technologies can be confronted by legal as well as regulatory issues. For instance the distribution of shared WI-FI networks in the urban regions. Such an innovation exercise could receive opposition from other internet providers due to their economic interest. As such, this can act as a major limitation to the expansion of a smart governance innovation decision. 

Literature Review

In governance, the government structures important decisions and also ascertains who are involved in the decisions. Governance does not only entail how a government interacts with social organizations but also with how it relates to citizens (Graham et al., 2003). In addition, governance is concerned with the state of which the government can serve its citizens in the society. It is also focused on the manner in which all public functions are performed and how various public resources are utilized (Mimicopoulos, 2006). There are three primary dimensions of governance namely transparency, efficiency as well as participation. As such, all smart governance initiatives should support the three dimensions of governance. There are several publications that portray how the government can employ smart governance in developing smart city development decisions. 

There exists a gap in the literature in ascertaining the most effective smart governance initiatives that can be employed by the government during its smart decision making. This is because there have been multiple publications in the past each detailing the distinctive initiatives that can be employed in smart governance decision making process. Nonetheless, none is specified to be supreme over the others in achieving smart governance roles. As such, a research study should be performed to determine the most effective initiative that should be employed by performing a meta-analysis of past published case studies on initiatives for smart governance decisions. 

According to a publication authored by Ignasi Capdevila and Zarlenga in 2015, open collaborative spaces, bottom-up initiatives, top-down initiatives, infrastructures and creation of open data can be used in smart decision making process. The publication was a case study that illustrated the five fundamental methods that were employed by the government in the City of Barcelona to achieve its smart city objectives (Capdevila & Zarlenga, 2015). The case study featured a breakdown all techniques employed and their outcomes in achieving the smart city objective. Although the initiatives were well detailed and effective in achieving their objectives, none was portrayed to be supreme over the others during smart decision making process.

Another case study illustrating an example of a smart governance initiative can be derived from a publication authored by Meijer and Bolivar (2015). The study was a summary of a project that was aimed at ensuring a migration in the software systems from the regular usage of closed source patented Microsoft products to free as well as open source software applications. The project was completed in 2013 after migrating 15,000 laptops and personal computers belonging to public employees to unrestricted and open source software (OpenSource 2014). 

LiMux, which an abbreviation for Linux distribution is a derivative of Ubuntu, an open source operating system (Infogalactic 2016). The system featured various user friendly applications such as LibreOffice as well as WollMux as its fundamental productivity software (Feilner 2013). Initially, the project had recommended the usage of OpenOffice, but it later switched to LibreOffice (Bott, 2014). The smart governance oriented migration in Munich City saved the public office £11.7 million, which is also approximately $16 million (Essers 2012). In addition, it offered freedom of usage to its users and also enhanced the security of data when using computer applications.

Another publication showing a case study illustrating an effective smart governance initiative that can be used by the government was authored by Kalsi and Kiran (2015). The publication was a summary of research performed to ascertain if new information, as well as communication technologies, can significantly contribute to the attainment of the goals of good governance. The publication also portrays the various factors that could deviate the public members in their efforts to support the identity of smart governance initiative. 

Such factors include unreasonable delays, poor public infrastructure, poor maintenance of government offices and multiple visits even for small services. The publication also illustrated that in order to attain success in e-governance services, the government should ensure there is a reduction in corruption activities and transparency in the national functions. Also, the publication supported that the government should increase awareness of the availability of the smart governance initiative services among the general public. It should also ensure that there is an overall convenience in the attainment of information of smart governance services by the citizens. Nevertheless, despite all these smart initiatives employed by the government, non was emphasized to be more effective than the others. 

In addition, according to a publication authored by Yigitcanlar et al. (2008), a rising attainment of knowledge by cities can also be employed by the government as a smart governance initiative to force the growth and development of smart cities. The publication was a summary of a literature review in the precinct developments within the framework of innovation as well as urban economic competitiveness. It also illustrated how the change in spatial agglomeration in knowledge, as well as the creation of new forms of knowledge precincts, can aid in the attainment of smart urban development. The discussion of these smart initiatives was substantial in the publication, but the researchers did not offer a directive to the best initiative that should be employed by the government in its smart governance decision making process. 

Proposed Hypothesis and Conceptual Framework Used

Hypothesis

To investigate whether the creation of a diverse network of information and communication can be employed as an effective smart governance initiative by the government during the decision making process focused on the development of smart cities. 

Conceptual Framework

Research Design and Methodology Used

The research design employed for the study will be qualitative and exploratory research design. This design will be focused on investigating the most effectiveness smart governance initiative that should be employed by the government during the smart governance decision making process. 

Sample Population

The research will use a total of ten case studies detailing the various smart governance initiatives that the government can use during smart decision making. The smart governance initiatives will be focused on the attainment of smart cities in the specified regions in every case study. In addition, the publications will not be more than ten years old. This will ensure that only the recent and more updated initiatives of smart governance are analysed during the research study. In addition, this will also boost the accuracy and validity of the chosen smart governance initiatives. 

Data Collection and Recording

The data collected during the research study will be recorded on the PRISMA data collection and analysis Tool. It is an online application where the researchers will fill the essential data attained from the data analysis exercise. The data recorded on the PRISMA data collection tool will allow researchers to formulate from it flow diagrams, statements or checklists detailing the essential parts of the research.

Data Analysis

The data analysis tool that will be employed for this research will be PRISMA data analysis tool. It is an online tool that uses an evidence-based least set of items to report systematic reviews as well as meta-analyses. It will report reviews through an evaluation of randomized trials and also report the reviews of other forms of research detailed in the sample case studies to be reviewed. The analysis of all the data attained from the meta-analysis research exercise will be generated automatically by the PRISMA analysis tool and then interpreted by the researchers. 

Reference List:

Bott, E., 2014. After a 10-year Linux migration, Munich considers switching back to Windows and Office. [Online] 

Available at: http://www.zdnet.com/article/after-a-10-year-linux-migration-munich-considers-switching-back-to-windows-and-office/

[Accessed 8 December 2016].

Capdevila, I. & Zarlenga, M. . I., 2015. Smart city or smart citizens? The Barcelona case. Journal of Strategy and Management, 8(3), pp. 266-282.

 Essers, L., 2012. Munich Mayor Says Switch to Linux Saved Money, Reduced Complaints. [Online] 

Available at: http://www.pcworld.com/article/252921/munich_mayor_says_switch_to_linux_saved_money_reduced_complaints.html

[Accessed 8 December 2016].

Feilner, M., 2013. LiMux – the IT evolution – An Open Source Success Story Like Never Before. [Online] 

Available at: https://joinup.ec.europa.eu/community/osor/case/limux-it-evolution-open-source-success-story-never

[Accessed 8 December 2016].

Graham, J., Amos, B. & Plumptre, T., 2003. Principles for good governance in the 21st century. Policy Brief No. 15, Institute On Governance, August.

Infogalactic, 2016. List of Linux distributions. [Online] 

Available at: https://infogalactic.com/info/List_of_Linux_distributions

[Accessed 8 December 2016].

Kalsi, S. N. & Kiran, R., 2015. A Strategic Framework For Good Governance Through E-governance Optimization Program. 49(2), pp. 170-204.

Mimicopoulos, M. G., 2006. Presentation to the United Nations World Tourism Organization Knowledge Management International Seminar on Global issues in Local Government, Tourism Policy Approaches. Department of economic and social affairs, United Nations, 1 July. 

OpenSource, 2014. How Munich switched 15,000 PCs from Windows to Linux. [Online] 

Available at: https://opensource.com/government/14/5/how-munich-switched-15000-pcs-windows-linux

[Accessed 8 December 2016]. 

Yigitcanlar, T., Velibeyoglu, K. & Martinez-Fernandez, C., 2008. Rising knowledge cities: the role of urban knowledge precincts. Journal of Knowledge Management, 12(5), pp. 8-20.