Decoding Governance Innovation

Innovation in governance is a modern concept which holds immense potential in bringing about the much needed paradigm shift that our polity requires. Arndt Hussar rightly describes governance as one of the most complex systems and thus a single dimensional approach will not suffice. Innovation, which is constantly developing with the changing demands and which invariably incorporates various partners and experts is the need of the hour.  Moreover the governance need to be (more) citizen centric and inclusive as discussed in the Breakfast Briefing session by Somnath Bharti.

Esko Kipli elaborates upon this by pointing out how relationship between the state and its electorates is like the relationship between teachers and students or manager and subordinates. It needs to be dynamic and ready to garb whatever role and character the situation demands of it. He does not adhere to the pyramid structure of hierarchy and leadership as it curbs transparency and growth. However Arndt believes that good leadership is very important and decisive and can make or break systems. The basis of any form or aspect of governance should be single perpetual question- development for whom and whose cost?

Moreover this question also helps us unfold the various existing gaps in the very structure of governance. The gaps identified include limited access to information and government data or low participation of people or a parochial understanding of the concept of governance. In the same context Arndt stresses upon the greater need to engage through better monitoring infrastructure with tools like social media, open data, access to information, crowd sourcing. He raises the need to expand the solution space that go beyond the conventional tech tools. He further believes that engaging innovation experts is a big step forward, the task that CKS has very willingly and stanchly taken up.

The key note addresses then progresses into a panel discussion, with a healthy discussion around the need for governance innovation and open data, and how it holds relevance in the Indian context. Ramanjit Chima starts by pointing out that a lot has been happening and a lot is being planned to bring a proper structure to governance. However the grey area is not just in terms of what is happening but rather in case of how comprehensible are those changes and how well have they been understood and accepted by the general public.  Esko provides a simple approach to open data discourse- If the data is not open then it is closed and it will thus soon lose its relevance and eventually wither away. Arndt comes up with an interesting concept which he terms as ‘many flowers bloom’ wherein he talks about how many initiatives are being taken up to create an environment of transparency, however the need of the hour is for all these resources to work from a same platform and develop effective models.

Namrata raised another very interesting point on how there is a need for not just an open data system but also equally important is to have an open culture. A culture where there is higher connectivity and sharing amongst people, access to information will invariably follow, which the crux of the open data discourse.

Sumandro Chattopadhyay elaborates on how it is openness of the society and culture that is more relevant, as, in terms of open data there is an assumption that government has immense and extensive data under its belly. However that might not be the case always. Moreover open data does not simply imply to government bodies but also to every organization that is involved in knowledge acquisition process. He stresses on how the government is just a necessary evil which one might not trust but at the same time one cannot deny the fact that it exists to add value to our lives.

So to everyone out there, hop in the wagon of change and be a participant to the creation of a more open and democratic society.


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