The Future of e-Governance. Between AI and Big Data: Information Brokers and Navigators for the Digital World


  • Marino Cavallo University of Bologna
  • Simone Ferraro University of Bologna


Those who would like to review many of the forecasts made less than a decade ago about the transformations that - even then - the very rapid spread of E-Services, i.e. services based on digitisation, could have imprinted on the economy of the more industrialised countries cannot fail to see how they have not misunderstood their nature, but, rather, underestimated their intensity.

As in a “trompe-l’œil” the eyes were not deceived on the shape of the observed model but on its distance from the observer.

Although it was already evident even to the less shrewd futurologists that the “service society”, as Rifkin theorized at the beginning of the 10’s of the new millennium, would profoundly innovate the choice processes that orient markets and supply and demand dynamics, the time variable of this phenomenon seems to have overlooked by many. This rapid evolution has led to an increase of the complexity in the interactions between businesses and citizens with governments and for this reason can be read as a reflection of an “economic reality”, where companies, citizens and governments become increasingly interconnected, both at the national and international level. Economic reality on which governments, with a growing awareness of urgency, are trying to affect through the implementation of One-Stop Shops (OSS) as a means of reducing transaction cost.

In fact, only a few would have bet that the innovations announced, thanks to the “new oil” and the “new electricity”, respectively, the use of Big Data, and the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) based solutions, would have replaced with such strength the desire to own and purchase new products and goods with the desire to access new functions and services. A new scenario, based on the paradigm of disintermediation through “Apps”, which has placed the relational and “contact” aspects as central and has assigned the ability to fully understand the communication and cultural universes of consumers a role of fundamental importance for business success. If, as Gerd Leonhard, one of the brightest and most listened to “maître à penser” in the field of innovation, says, «the future is no longer an extension of the present», at this stage, the entities that by their nature are called to give continuity to the economic policies of States, or of their supranational unions, such as Public Administrations (PA), are faced with an extremely challenging task: to keep in balance the necessary development of technologies capable of enabling the exploitation of new and revolutionary opportunities with the needs of the actors, on whose “legs” these same technologies will have to walk: (i) the people; (ii) the traditional entrepreneurial ecosystem; (ii) the new high-tech business realities as the Start Up and the Innovative Small and Medium Enterprises – SMEs).

PAs know the mechanisms and degrees of feasibility of political projects from the inside, and only their active participation allows the implementation of “policies by design”, where “design” is the exploitation of an opportunity, under certain conditions, for the solution of a problem with the aim of achieving a goal. Policies “by design” which not only can give shape to the relational conditions of possibility of behaviour (incentivised or censored), but which can, at the same time, create relational mechanisms based both on “command and control” and on a logic recently defined by Floridi as “the reflexivity of self-reinforcement”, in which virtuous circles operate, which, the more they work, the better they work, thus creating a “network effect”.

This article will provide examples of consistent implementation of this type of policy. This will be done by using the cases of those OSS that have been able to deliver “win-win” results for governments and clients, improving both service and regulatory compliance. In addition to good practice procedures that make it easier for citizens and businesses to identify the modules, provide and receive information once for multiple scopes (Once-and-Only Principle - OOP), examples of initiatives that can support entrepreneurship through the organization of “Ad hoc” events and initiatives (such as periodic fairs, awards, national digitization campaigns) or facilitation in the creation of co-working and co-designing spaces (FabLab, Accelerators and Start Up Incubators) will also be provided. In fact, the collection has shown that it is only by creating synergies between these two factors that governments can receive better quality information in the first place, and better compliance rates that reduce the amount of resources needed to apply the rules.


Bibliographies de l'auteur

Marino Cavallo, University of Bologna

Adjunct Professor of Business Management and Communication at the University of Bologna.
Head of the Research, Innovation and European Projects at the Metropolitan City of Bologna.
Specialist of Innovation, Digital business and smart city.

Simone Ferraro, University of Bologna

Researcher at the University of Bologna




Comment citer

Cavallo, M., & Ferraro, S. (2021). The Future of e-Governance. Between AI and Big Data: Information Brokers and Navigators for the Digital World. Revue Internationale Des Gouvernements Ouverts, 10(1), 13–33. Consulté à l’adresse[]=394
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