Anticipatory & Adaptive Governance, Public Service Re-design, and Smart & Sustainable Communities.

Our research is centered on three pillars: Anticipatory & Adaptive Governance, Public Service Re-design, and Smart & Sustainable Communities.

Anticipation is increasingly central to urgent contemporary debates, from climate change to the global economic crisis. Anticipatory practices are coming to the forefront of political, organizational, and citizens’ society. Research into anticipation, however, has not kept pace with public demand for insights into anticipatory practices, their risks and uses. Where research exists, it is deeply fragmented. We at eGovlab use a resilience lens to examine these gaps and via our research projects we illustrate how varying forms of anticipatory governance are enhanced by multi-scale regional networks and technologies and by the agency of individuals.

Adaptive governance is the use of novel approaches within policy, ranging from sensors to social media, from participatory decision making to support experimentation and learning. Social learning reflects the engagement of interdependent stakeholders within this learning. Much attention has focused on these concepts as a solution for resilience in governing institutions in an uncertain climate; resilience representing the ability of a system to absorb shock and to retain its function and form through reorganization. However, there are still many questions to how these concepts enable resilience, particularly in vulnerable, developing contexts. At eGovlab, we focus across a spectrum of contexts, ranging from Europe to Africa, where the adaption and resilience of governance structures forms the unit of our critical analysis. 

Areas we work in:

  • Decision support & Cooperative Planning
  • Open Data & Citizen-driven Governance

At eGovlab, we have turned our research focus on smart governance, cities, communities and infrastructures. Moving beyond connectivity to the smart grid, we critically examine the role of citizen inputs within this context, in shaping as well as co-creating smart solutions to environmental and societal challenges. The objective here is to explore the living experimental space we inhabit and evaluate the impacts of this "smart" transition on all stakeholders concerned. We propose to employ a range of tools in our reach (from GIS, satellite, UAVs and other sensor data, to advanced analytical tools, open maps and crowdsourced citizen inputs) towards the goal of researching: what are the critical impacts of the "smart" paradigm? What are the future trends and how best can we adapt to this as a society in order to be more resilient? 

Our research focus remains on Sustainability - both from a social and ecological perspective. As we move forward from a post COP-21 landscape, our commitment to addressing challenges arising from a lack of socio-ecological resilience are reflected in the new projects and engagements we are successfully undertaking. Be these in the field of water governance, citizen observatories, or smart communities connected via an environmental platform built on open data, we are strongly motivated to be a part of this movement. At eGovlab, we adopt a "life cycle analysis" or "systems thinking" perspective when focusing on the intersection between technology design and societal consumption. Towards this end we support and explore new solutions that are open, ethically sourced and conflict-free, with a low environmental footprint. 

Areas we work in:

  • Smart sustainable communities & citizen observatories
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Political ecology

Complexity is ever increasing with respect to the data becoming available to decision makers. Ranging from sensor data to text, from social media to expert repositories of knowledge, policy makers are grappling with how to make the journey from noise to signal. The challenge that emerges is how to make sense of and structure this open, linked and big data allegedly at their disposal? Citizens and policy makers alike wrestle with how to intelligently filter information according to relevance, relationship and provenance. The endeavor at once becomes about sense-making, as well as one of trust-building. Within this context, decision makers are increasingly coming under pressure to be more inclusive and co-create policy with stakeholders, both from technologists as well as international and regional treaties. 

eGovlab has been working extensively in this area over the past few years and will continue to concentrate its efforts on further developing its public service redesign methodology. It is here that the core research elements of e-governance and open governance come to play within the context of public service delivery. Reflected in a wide range of projects we are currently undertaking and in our ongoing interaction with public agencies in Sweden, Europe, as well as in the Global South, we propose to further fine tune the tools and mechanisms needed for meaningful impact.

Areas we work in:

  • eHealth
  • ICTD
  • Decision support & Cooperative Planning