Next week I am heading to the United Nations in New York to discuss the next generation of e-government indicators (thanks David :).
The current UN approach is presented in their annual report.
It is the most important reference for comparing e-gov performance at the global level. Yet I have some doubts about the robustness of the approach: I distrust compound indicators as they are some kind of black box; and it is still undemonstrated whether websites are a solid indicator of e-government progress.
Most of all, the experience tells me that relevance and robustness of indicators are inversely correlated. The more relevant an indicator is, the less measurable. So you often turn out to have indexes about things which are measured because they are measurable, not because they are relevant. Allow me a joke: management theory says “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”. I then add “if you can measure it, it’s not important!”.

Of course I will put forward “our” proposal on measuring transparency as key indicator of government in the web 2.0 era.
There are some objections that web 2.0 is too far away for developing countries. I disagree: as previously said, transparency is key to fight corruption, which is a very important government problem in developing countries as well.
If you have remarks and suggestions on how to improve the UN methodology, I’d be happy to discuss and present them at the meeting.


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