A Strategic Foresight about Future Public Service Developments from the Citizens' Perspective

A Strategic Foresight about Future Public Service Developments from the Citizens' Perspective

Falko Walther (Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany), Sebastian Vogt (University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany) and Rüdiger Kabst (University of Paderborn, Paderborn, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/IJPADA.2016010102


Governments and public administrations face multiple challenges and opportunities for innovation in the area of public services – created by ongoing ICT developments and shifting service demands among citizens. Citizens experience advantages of ICT-driven services in all areas of life and request these advantages in their communications and interactions with public administrations. Therefore, public administrations must be aware of these and, more important, future demands to develop future services that are responsive to citizens' needs. As there is a lack of current data, the aim of this article is to identify citizens' demands, characteristics and framework conditions for future public services and public participation services based on data collected in a real-time Delphi survey of expert citizens. The results provide public service providers with initial insights into citizen characteristics that have a strong impact on citizens' demands—housing situation, size of municipality and age—and important framework conditions, e.g., the internet.
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1. Introduction

Over the past 15 years, developments in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have created new possibilities for improvement as well as complex and rapidly changing challenges for governments and public administrations (Aichholzer & Schmutzer, 2000; Bingham et al., 2005; Coleman, 2004; Dawes, 2008; Macintosh & Whyte, 2008; Orihuela & Obi, 2007; Snellen & van de Donk, 2002; Shin, 2013). New technologies have enabled public administrations to communicate and interact with citizens in new ways (Ganapati & Reddick, 2014; Ke & Wei, 2004; Macintosh & Whyte, 2008). Moreover, developments in ICT, such as cloud computing and open data services, have provided previously impossible opportunities to enhance existing services and provide new public services (Contini & Lanzara, 2008; Kaplan & Haenlein, 2010; Tsohou et. al., 2014). However, these developments have also led citizens to become more demanding and to shift their public service consumption behavior (Bellamy, 2009; Clarke et. al., 2007; Kampen et al., 2006). It is important for public administrations to be aware of these developments to create services of superior service quality and to adapt existing services in line with citizens’ demands (Chatfield & AlAnazi, 2013; Eriksson et. al., 2005; Gupta et al., 2008).

One result of these developments is that public administrations began to coproduce their services with citizens and external experts (Bovaird, 2007; Vigoda, 2002). An increasing number of services are no longer provided by administrations in a top-down manner but rather developed in collaboration with citizens and service consumers (Bovaird, 2007; King, 2007; Lowndes et al., 2001). Therefore, public participation services are an important area for ICT developments (Frewer & Rowe, 2005; Macintosh & Whyte, 2008; Pähle, 2008). Open data and social media applications or online-based public participation tools enable public administrations to create enhanced public participation services (AlAnazi & Chatfield, 2012; Kubicek & Westholm, 2005). Vigoda (2002) and Bovaird (2007) identified an increasing number of coproduced public services. Ideally, this could lead to citizen participation in policy formation and implementation, which is currently utopian but may be implemented in the future (Anderson, 2014; Brandt & Svendsen, 2013; Irvin & Stansbury, 2004; Zavattaro & Sementelli, 2014). Nevertheless, to date, most public services continue to be developed and implemented by public experts without knowing citizens’ demands (Joshi & Moore, 2003; Vigoda, 2002; Vigoda, 2000). Researchers in this area must distinguish these demands and provide information to public administrations in the future (Scholl, 2012).

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