“A digital society offers opportunities when it comes to innovations for example in healthcare or public services, but it also raises ethical questions about people’s privacy. It is important that we are able and willing to tackle these kinds of challenges more and more through broad cooperation between government, the business community, the academic world and social partners,” Marjan Hammersma says in the foreword to the new Digicampus publication ‘Innovating with science’.
That is exactly what Digicampus is trying to do for public services. Giulietta Marani, program director of Digicampus: “In our earlier publication ‘Innovation across borders’ we wrote about the various preconditions for success of this type of collaborative innovation. Think of investing in common ground, in formal and informal structures, in solidarity and fairness, in independence. In this new publication, we build on this, but shift the focus to collecting insights from science and exploring how science can best contribute.”
Bas Oude Luttighuis, Giulietta Marani and Nitesh Bharosa from Digicampus interviewed fourteen professors from all over the Netherlands. In the publication ‘Innovating with science’ the professors share their insights and visions from various expertise on the subject of collaborative innovation within public services and the role of science in this.
Much knowledge is locked up in books and journals, mainly read by scientists. By unlocking, translating, enriching and contributing this knowledge, scientists can act as a lubricant for the various components to move forward together.
Nitesh Bharosa, Professor of GovTech and Academic Director of Digicampus: “Innovation is subject to a high degree of uncertainty. This uncertainty lies partly in the quality (can it be done?) and the legitimacy of innovative solutions (is it allowed?), and partly in the process: do we want it and how do we get there? And this within a setting where the interests of different parties may differ and there is a lack of trust (for example in market players). At the same time, globally we have a lot of proven knowledge at our disposal with which we can navigate through that uncertainty. Much of this knowledge is locked up in books and journals, mainly read by scientists. By unlocking, translating, enriching and contributing this knowledge, scientists can act as a lubricant for the various components to move forward together.”
In addition to providing, securing and valorising knowledge, among other things, science can build bridges as an independent and critical party between both different parties and different disciplines
Giulietta agrees and adds: “In addition to providing, securing and valorising knowledge, among other things, science can build bridges as an independent and critical party between both different parties (government, market and user groups) and different disciplines (information technology, governance and policy, legislation, business models and ethics). In my view, science is also the party that keeps a long-term eye on collaborative innovation and involves the new generation by deploying students and young researchers”.
The professors that were interviewed also see the importance of collaborative innovation and recognise the role that science can play in this. They therefore call upon all stakeholders – government, market, science and citizens/users – to work together. The emphasis is on safeguarding the public interest and public values within innovation processes, knowledge development and sustainability within collaborations and experiments, the balance between regulation, facilitation and stimulation by the government, investing in a permanent knowledge infrastructure and finding the right steering mechanisms.
We hope this collection of insights will help and inspire you to contribute to the development of the public services of the future. We hope you enjoy the read and would love to hear what inspires you, what experiences and tips you have and what questions you would like to be answered.