VERA – Forward Visions on the European Research Area

VERA is funded by the European Union's FP7 programme for research,
technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 290705

Envisioning Digital Europe 2030: Scenarios for ICT in Future Governance and Policy Modelling

Code: D04

Primary project information

Lead: JRC European Commission / Editors: Gianluca Misuraca and Wainer Lusoli
Additional project partners: Authors: Gianluca Misuraca, David Broster, Clara Centeno, Yves Punie, Fenareti Lampathaki, Yannis Charalabidis, Dimitris Askounis, David Osimo, Katarzyna Szkuta, Melanie Bicking
Type of activity: research report, futures scenarios, a vision
Date conducted: 2010
Duration: N/A
Summary: The report presents a set of scenarios on how governance and policy modelling, supported and enhanced by the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), could develop by 2030 in order to identify the research needs and policy challenges to be addressed. The study thus draws a framework for analysis of current and future challenges in ICT for governance and policy modelling. The uncertainties underlying the scenario design are: 1) the societal value system we will be living in (more inclusive, open and transparent or exclusive, fractured and restrictive), and 2) the response (partial or complete, proactive or reactive) to the acquisition and integration of policy intelligence techniques in support of data processing, modelling, visualization and simulation for evidence-based policy making.
Financed by: CROSSROAD project / European Commission
Budget: N/A
Research area/market/industry/sector: ICT
Main report (full title): Envisioning Digital Europe 2030: Scenarios for ICT in Future Governance and Policy Modelling


Economic Challenges Shortlist: Lowering of GDP trajectory in the EU; Permanent loss of skills due to protracted unemployment;
Societal Challenges Shortlist: Population growth; Ageing; Urbanisation / Deterritorialisation; Diversity in culture and religion; Individualization; Lifelong learning; Horizontalisation
Technical Challenges: In all the scenarios, the world in 2030 will be radically different from today’s, due to the unprecedented growth and speed of ICT uptake in several fields (e.g. social computing, mobile technologies, pervasive computing) and the related enabling applications of ICT for governance and policy modelling. See also RTI Governance - a list of research issues to be solved by 2030
Technical Challenges Shortlist: Technological growth and turbulence; Internet of things; digitalization
Mobility Challenges Shortlist: Immigration and increased mobility;

Summary of relevant aspects

Aspects of RTI Governance: Future research challenges include: 1. Information management and analysis to monitor and simulate in real time the behaviour of real and virtual entities (people, things, information and data), 2. Enhanced real-time situational awareness for tracking, policy modelling, and visualisation, 3. Policy intelligence and ICT-driven decision analytics, 4. Automated mass collaboration platforms and real-time opinion visualisation, 5. ICT-enabled data and process optimisation and control, 6. Complex dynamic societal modelling systems.
Other Aspects of Governance: Four main trends of change in governance and policy- making, are identified: 1. There will be a growing awareness by governance actors of citizens’, businesses’, and administrations' needs and wishes for more choice. Governance actors will address user involvement and set up new processes of engaging with users. 2. Novel governance models will emerge, which introduce principles of efficiency, effectiveness, quality assurance and evaluation, and directly lead to evidence- based policy as a necessity for making informed decisions. 3. The digitisation of services, processes and interactions is expected to continue and become pervasive. This will lead to disruptive effects on life in general and on governance and policy making in particular. 4. In the longer term, governments will embrace more 'networked-governance' structures. However, a struggle will unfold between traditional bureaucratic systems and network-based mechanisms as to which is the best way to organize people, knowledge and service delivery.
Background information: This report is the result of research conducted at IPTS as part of the CROSSROAD Project – A Participative Roadmap for ICT research on Electronic Governance and Policy Modelling (www.crossroad- a support action under the European Commission’s 7th Framework Programme.


Scenarios: (NB.Scenario work typically produces four scenarios...)
Scenario 1: Open governance: characterised by high openness and transparency and high integration in policy intelligence. Users will enjoy unprecedented access to information and knowledge. By shifting cognitive capacities, the work of memorizing and processing data and information will be passed onto machines, while humans will focus on critical thinking and developing new analytical skills. This will enhance collective intelligence (both human and ICT-enabled). Humans will be able to use policy modelling techniques to help solve global challenges. Possibilities for the provision of personalized and real-time public services will be opened up. The online engagement of citizens and various governance stakeholders will increase. Governance processes and policy-making mechanisms will be based on ICT- enabled simulation and visualization intelligent systems, able to find meaning in confusion and solve novel problems, independently of human-acquired knowledge. New, open ways of producing and sharing knowledge will radically change traditional governance processes and decision-making mechanisms. This will herald an era of open innovation
Scenario 2: Leviathan governance: characterised by low openness and transparency and high integration in policy intelligence. an ‘enlightened oligarchy’ will emerge that uses high-tech tools and systems to collect and manage public information and services. Judgment and decision-making will be based on analytical processing of factual information from the many by the few for the benefit of all. Full-scale 3D automatic simulations and policy intelligence tools will facilitate decision- making and the oligarchs will simply approve the recommendations of these tools for the best policy option for the majority of citizens. ‘Real-time governance’ will be possible, where the government/citizen relationship is under total control. Public service delivery will be personalized without people having to ask, thus saving a great deal of time. In this context, citizens will trust the government and will be willing to delegate their right of initiative.
Scenario 3: Self-service governance: characterised by high openness and transparency and low integration in policy intelligence. citizens will be empowered to play the role of policy makers. In small expert communities, citizens will devise policies in accordance with the do-it-yourself principle; they will choose from a menu of public services those they need and consent to. This ICT- enabled, self-organised society will be able to address emerging problems faster than traditional government could. Its creative, contextual solutions could prove more robust and resilient in a crisis. Nevertheless, the diversity of opinions between discrete communities may result in the deepening of existing divides and a lack of social cohesion. Insularity will afflict migrant and ethnic minorities most severely, as they lack local social networks and may run into communication problems due to language and cultural differences. However, thanks to efficient translation tools, the dissipative communities may in the end create a vibrant cross-cultural and multi-language society. The difference between success and failure will be marked by the distinction between effective and creative group thinking and ‘crowd stupidity’ and lack of knowledge transfer. The process of gradual disappearance of institutions and lack of trust in government will result in the need for new trust providers. Reputation management, for content and people, will play a significant role in service provision.
Scenario 4: Privatised governance: characterised by low openness and transparency and low integration in policy intelligence. Society will be shaped by decisions taken by corporate business representatives. Discussion on social issues and about the role and behaviour of citizens will be muted, as people will be pawns whose needs and desires are managed by large corporations. Interactive and participatory governance mechanisms will be sidelined, along with democracy as we know it today. Decision making will depend on ICT. ICT-enabled modelling and decision-support systems will be highly developed by individual companies but not necessarily integrated. Simulations based on data gathered by sensors and collected from continuous monitoring and analysing networks, businesses, customers and the environment will produce global information that will still be fragmented and owned by corporations. Systems will be threatened by frequent attacks from independent groups and dissident communities.
Actions/solutions implied: a list of research issues needs to be solved (see RTI Governance)
Who benefits from the actions taken?: All governents, software/web application developers, citizens (varies per scenario)

Meta information

Time horizon: 2030
Methods: scenario building, story telling, analysis
Target Group: Governance actors
Objectives: identify the research needs and policy challenges in connection with future governance modells
Countries covered: EU
ERA actors/stakeholders mentioned: citizens, policy makers
Geographic scope:

Entry Details

Rapporteur: Riitta Nieminen-Sundell
Rapporteur's organization: VTT
Entry Date: 16.05.2012