Does the future success of digital transformation in Europe rest with the younger generation? It’s a question that I believe is raised by the annual eGovernment Benchmark Measurement of European online public services.

This benchmark survey conducted by Capgemini on behalf of the European Commission provides a “robust and coherent insight” into the current state of play of eGovernment in Europe. The ensuing report ‘Delivering the European Advantage’ outlines where Europe stands (and what more it needs to do) to deliver Europe’s eGovernment Action Plan in 2015.

It is adamant that the use of Information- and Communication Technology (ICT) can and should help to deliver innovative public services. eParticipation – using online capabilities – has the potential to give people a greater say in the policy actions of Members States and Europe as a whole. But there’s a problem with this. The report notes that even if every European were to have access to the internet and possess the skills to use it, a significant group of what it calls non-believers (38%) refuses to use the online channel for public services.

One group of users, however, is more open to online channels. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m talking about the 16-24 year-olds. They are digital natives, used to mobile devices and typically slightly more satisfied with their use of government applications and services than other user groups.
As the report points out, this age group takes part in online consultations and interactive discussions on policy issues. So I’m firmly behind the suggestion that this offers the potential to involve young people in designing future public services that match their expectations. This is perhaps the way forward for eGov – but only if governments can respond to this willingness to participate with the platform and governance models required to make it happen.

Download the 2013 eGovernment Benchmark report ‘Delivering the European Advantage’.