The Zukunftspakt Verwaltung (link) represents a massive change in the framework for public administration, which leads to an enormous need for adaptation of structures and processes. What role should CityLAB play in this context?
CityLAB also hosts a government laboratory in which we want to try out new solutions. In daily life, our administrative staff experience digitalisation outside of the office, routinely use digital tools, and handle their private correspondence practically without paper. But when they come to the office, they engage in processes that have not changed in decades. Digitalisation hardly plays a role.
Many of those in administrative jobs understand that this must change and they are ready for change. But Berlin’s administration cannot organise change processes like the start-up scene can, where there is a significant tolerance for mistakes and failure. This is different in the administration, which is designed to work error-free. That is why they are fundamentally cautious, even change averse.
With CityLAB, the Berlin administration has a protected space in which it can dare to question existing processes, contribute its own ideas and consult experts for implementation. I would like to see CityLAB become a hub where we can envision the fundamental transition to a digital administration of the future.
The CityLAB also enables exchange with start-ups and citizens. But what is important to me is that proposed ideas will not be subjected to advance discussion and assessment. In our LAB, failure will be viewed and welcomed as part of the development process. When interesting ideas are created, I can also imagine having supplementary financing available for prototype designs and practical tests. Of course, after developing concepts for specific changes in the LAB, the next step would be to test how they work within a quantifiable framework in practice.