Event Recording

Future Government: Transforming Public Services to Be More Agile and Innovative


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It's a pleasure for being here for being able to speak in, I think in two years or so, last time I gave a presentation for such a large audience. So it's truly an honor. I was studying the agenda of this conference and also heard in this previous presentation, a lot of new technologies, new services, new systems. I, I heard the term decentralization SSI, zero trust privacy by design artificial intelligence, Ida K YC, and so on. So a lot of new developments, a lot of startups, and that's very good at the same time. I'm with the ministry of the interior, responsible for the identity service in particular, responsible for the innovation in that domain. And I wonder how to connect the dots and how to make the systems innovative. So what I'll do is I'll not present you a preach you a golden standard on how to be innovative as an organization. I I'm here to share my experience, how we are dealing with becoming more agile and innovative in the identity space. And I hope that is of use to you as a, as a vendor or maybe you're in the government or a consultant or whatever role you have. And you may benefit from this discussion.
All right?
So I'm from the ministry of the interior within the, and within, we have an agency which is called the national office for identity data. We're responsible for the foundational identity services in the Netherlands. We have divided that in what we call value streams. So which brings value to our customers. So the citizens and other organizations, and the first value stream is all about identity data. So we manage the national population register, which actually dates back to 1811. When Napoleon introduced that into the Netherlands in 1994, we had a legislation that digitized the, the register. So we have a national population register based on technology of about 25, 28 years old in that sense. So it contains all the personal information of the people living in the Netherlands and people who left the Netherlands and people who are on a temporary basis here. Then also we are responsible for the unique identity number.
So everybody has a unique number. It's called a BSN number. And that number you use to interact with the government. We issue about 500,000 of those numbers each year. And then we have a number of services related to the quality of the data. So to make sure that the data that we have in our register is of the highest quality such as it can be used in a proper way later on we're responsible for the Ida services. I will go come into the topic later on. Also we issue a number of identity credentials, the travel documents and ID cards about one and a half million a year. And we have a center contact center for people who suffer from identity fraud, or who suffer from, let's say mistakes in registers that we as a government maintain and they can call us and we will help them to fix the problem. So you see a lot of foundational services all related to identity.
Now, if we look at the world around us, let's say, first, what I wanna say on those services, they are, let's say characterized by reliability. They should be reliable. They should be trustworthy. They should be available. That's the type of business that we are in. If we're not in the news, I think we're doing a good job, but still at the same time, the world around us is changing. And I'm giving a number of changes here. Yeah. So we see changes in demands from the citizens, maybe more doing more in the digital way, being able to interact more easily with the government, but also changes from the political side. So we see, for example, with the Ida regulation, a lot more involvement from, from Europe, but also from the politics. There's a lot of attention on transparency on the use of algorithms and those type of things.
We also see through the media, a lot of public exposure. So we are dealing with that as well, especially in the field of digital identity, just Google digital identity in the news. And you'll see a lot of groups having their opinion on this topic. So that's something to consider also heard earlier where the, the cyber threats and what we are facing, but I guess many of you in the audience as well is the challenges in the labor market is also affecting our organization. And of course we have all the technologies that we're aware of on, on data AI, the internet of things. And so on.
Now, at the same time, we are aware that these changes are happening, but still it is not easy within a government to become very innovative is my experience. I have a background from the private sector where that was a bit more easy now transforming for the governments. You see quite some challenges. And I thought of listing a few, just to give you an idea of the challenges that we're facing with, first of all, you see throughout the board, relatively outdated and complex systems. I mentioned the national population register dates back to 1994 has about 400, has about 4,000 connections, 400 million requests each year. So changing something in that system changes something in the entire environment. So that makes it complex. That's one of the challenges. We also see a, sometimes a dependency on specific vendors. That's what we call vendor lock in either on technology, on or on knowhow.
What we also see happening is sometimes rigid legislation. For example, we are trying to innovate in making the travel document digital. We call that a digital travel credential. We want to do a pilot on that, but that's not allowed because the legislation does not allow it. So we are in a kind of catch 22 in that perspective. So legislation is not always helping in, in becoming very innovative. The stakeholder field. I mentioned the funding structure is mainly focusing on, on maintenance throughout the board. And also what you see is the risk adversity. So the, the minister is responsible for everything which is happening in the public domain and he doesn't want, he, she, or, or he doesn't want to come in the media with big mistakes, or there's often a lot of risk assessment activities there. So what's the risk of doing something, but the risk assessment.
So what's the risk of not doing something that is often I forgot because that risk may be in the end higher and culture and leadership. That's what I heard also in the first presentation is one of the important aspect of becoming, let's say more agile and innovative. Now, what is clear that there are a lot of reasons not to innovate and if we're not innovating, I think, you know, the, the famous quote from Einstein that says, if you do what you always did, you will get what you always got. So that is the, the risk. And probably, you know, in your environment, or maybe think of your environment where you see a big it project, for example, being started very complex multi-million project multi-year. And that is typically an example where a new initiative is started in an environment, which is not so innovative. And we need to repair we to have a big program to repair that usually coming with high cost running out of planning. And once it's completed, it's outdated because it took so long. And then you can start over again. You recognize that that's the type of things you see when you're not having an innovative organization.
Now, having said that all these challenges, innovation is not about contacting a startup and trying a new technology or a new service. It's about, it's also about changing the organization and we're doing that. So we're doing that using different models, but we have a kind of blueprint model where we have different majority levels and we work on different aspects of the organization to make it throughout the board, more innovative. And in the end, meaning that you can avoid large scale projects and that you can innovate in smaller steps. Now this was not intended to be read, but on the next slide, I give a few examples of points that we work on.
I think first and foremost, it is about culture and leadership, the culture of entrepreneurship, or if you do that within an organization, you can call that entrepreneurship and autonomy, an open culture, being able to allow for mistakes. A mistake is not a mistake, but it's a learning experience. Having leaders that are familiar with taking risks have a bit of courage support their employees. I think that's where, it's where it starts in the board. If, if you don't have that. And in the previous section, I noted one person saying, well, I'm not able, I don't wanna speak to, to all kinds of starters because it's too complicated. I think, Ooh, that's maybe something to reconsider. It is important to talk to the outside world and innovate from the outside to the inside. Now we have a lot of other experiments or other activities going on in terms of strategy, for example. So we work on a strategic portfolio management work on the funding structure, innovation agendas, et cetera. A lot of activities is also in the collaboration part so much more than the past. We try to innovate from the outside to the inside, so collaborate with external stakeholders and, and learn from that. And we invest a lot in knowledge. And we do that by collaborating with academic institutes and, and organizations.
Now, not only about the, let's say the innovation part, but I want to dive a little bit into the more concrete innovations that we're actually doing within the national office for identity data. This is, we do that using a, an innovation portfolio. We have three types of projects, projects that categorize as run projects. So these are the maintenance type of things, security patch here, a new version there. Then we have to change activities. So activities that is all about changing a, a process or a product or service, and we have the innovation part. So, which is all about changing the value to the customer, really a more radical change. Innovation takes more time, has more impact the run activities. Take less time, have less impact are important as well. And it's all about managing your portfolio, that you do enough activities in your run enough activities in your change, and enough, enough activities in your innovate domain and innovation management is about making that pipeline and connecting the dots.
Now here's a, a very simple extract of the portfolio. The reality is much more complex, but I'm, I'm giving here the part which I thought are relevant for this conference. And so if you, if you look at the ID credentials, yeah, we have simple change activities. Meaning we are now working on a new model for the passport and the ID card, better color, better security, better chip, you know, those type of things, very important to be, to have a trustworthy document in this whole ID space. So very important is to change activity and on the longer run, yeah, we're working on a digital ID card and we're working on a digital travel credential because my son is on a 16 and asks, why do we have to carry a plastic ID card? Can I not have it on my phone? And I think that's true.
Yeah. So in a couple of years, no, nobody is carrying an ID card anymore and we'll just carry it in, in your phone. So that's more of disruptive activities that we're working on also on the ID data part. So the personal register, you could think, what, what can you innovate in a personal register? But the personal register contains personal information. And what you see more and more today is that the citizen wants to access directly their personal data and control it. And so these are fundamental changes in the architecture of such a personal register, which we are, which we are working on. Now, a lot of work on the, I does 2.0 revision. We'll see more of that later in this conference, working on the wallets, working on the digital identity and everything which goes with it. And for us, of course, as a ministry, it's, it's about implementing it's about setting up the legislation and also implementing the legislation and allowing for the, yeah, for the system to operate in the Netherlands.
And another example of a change activity is that that was completed by the way, is that we migrated all our services to the cloud, to a government cloud in order to be secure and, and more, and reduce the maintenance cost and increase the security on that. So this is a typical extract of the portfolio that we're doing, and that's a final slide, a few takeaways on the innovation part, I'm responsible for the innovation. And I think it's, it's important, at least from my perspective to realize that innovation is not only about this great new idea that is sitting there in a startup, but it's also about an innovation that pops up in a part of your own organization. So it's really something you want to organize as an, as an organization to be more agile. Also, I think the notion that innovation is always successful, it cannot fail if you consider that innovation is always a learning experience.
That's important. Leadership is important. If the senior management does not support making mistakes or support innovation or support entrepreneurship, then you can, cannot expect the organization to be innovative and change over time and ending up with legacy systems. And I think foremost, it's also about doing so it's about going out, it's about doing the innovation and that's maybe also a request for the audience. If you, we are happy to collaborate always. So if you have great ideas and you want to collaborate, simply contact us or me, and we're happy to, to talk. And in that way, I think we truly can innovate from the outside to the inside. Thank you for your attention.

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