Think for a moment that you have the power to rebuild your government all over again. How would you do it?

With specific examples on how technology can lead to savings of up to 90% and provide a significant boost to the economy and tourism, Tom Loosemore, former deputy director of the UK Digital Service, and Shawn Sullivan, Director of Public Policy at Airbnb, addressed technological, business and political community leaders in Puerto Rico during the event “Dear Fiscal Board”.


Joined by Natalie Jaresko, Sofia Stolberg, Tom Loosemore and Shawn Sullivan

So, what do we mean by “digital transformation”? To apply the practices and technologies of the Internet age to meet people’s raised expectations the same way we’ve been accustomed to hit a button and have an ‘uber’ pick us up. Where is this type of service when interacting with a government agency? It is not about technology, but about the imperative to redesign services to work better and cost less.

To start the journey of “Digital Transformation”, Tom’s outlines three places where to begin. First, a strong mandate to challenge IT spending across all government agencies. He says “You are spending money like it’s the 1990’s and it’s 2017, you can save tens of millions just by challenging spending. Why are you spending so much doing the same things over and over again?”. Second, start small by doing a new service design, with six to ten people who can show you how to develop really magically simple digital services, and start small with capacity to scale. Third, fix your procurement process. It is inevitably biased towards big vendors because only they can afford to engage with you for a complex and convoluted process. Simplifying and leveling the playing field will provide significant benefits through diversity of suppliers and a diverse ecosystem.

For the following “Dear Fiscal Board” series we will present specific initiatives & opportunities to execute on the three recommendations.

To view Tom Loosemore’s presentation at “Dear Fiscal Board”, click here

Puerto Rico’s success will depend on its ability to establish proper digital governance with top ­caliber talent and a government ­wide coordination of IT investment and implementation that ensures proper delivery of information and services, with a focus on responsiveness and user collaboration to ensure much needed transparency, savings and efficiency, while providing a foundation for economic development.

In 2008, the UK was ranked # 8 in digital services, according to the United Nations survey on e-Government. In 2016, they were ranked #1, recording savings of over $ 4 billion in the process. Their approach is being copied by other countries, including the US, Canada, Australia and Argentina.

It goes far beyond technology. It is the obligation to redesign services to work much better at a radically lower cost. The question we ask is, why not in Puerto Rico?