World e-Government Organization (WeGO)
The World e-Government Organization (WeGO) would play an important role for the whole international community. WeGO attempts to help stakeholders in a number of member cities to successfully adopt e-Government initiatives. It is the hope of this international organization, by providing information services to currently marginalized region in the world and by creating policies that reflect the nuances of each city, that cities are able to better connect with their citizens and overcome the digital divide concerns.
With the creation of WeGO, Metropolitan Governments in developed and developing countries would be better equipped to pursue the goals of systematic information management, transparent administration, citizen participation and communication through the Internet, and provide efficient information service for citizens. Therefore, this report focuses on the collaborated efforts in the creation of a new international organization aimed at achieving digital equity, and at providing the means and tools to accomplish better governance in light of recent technological developments.
Global Collaborations of the World e-Government Organization (WeGO)
SMG has been acknowledged as the best city for IT as a result of developing and operating initiatives including Information Policies – Mobile Seoul (m.seoul), Big Data, 120 Dasan Call Center, Oasis, a free WiFi network, and a GIS portal. A proactive agenda is necessary to lead e-Government in the world. SMG has regarded that such an international organization – WeGO– is required in order to mutually cooperate with local governments, share e-Government practices, and pursue sustainable urban development based on e-Government.
WeGO plays an important role for the whole international community. A focus on providing information services on the ground and creating policies that reflect the nuances of each city ensures that cities are able to better connect citizens with the services that they require, utilizing methods that address digital divide concerns.
WeGO is an organization that has helped a number of cities implement e-Government programs since its founding. The organization has generally helped stakeholders in a number of member cities successfully adopt e-Government initiatives. The organization has done a tremendous amount of work in fostering the spirit of collaboration between the public and private sectors, along with establishing connections between individuals in a number of different cities.
WeGO has a bright future and a number of potential paths to further ensure that the organization is able to continue providing technical training and evaluation tools for any city that wishes to establish, monitor, or replace their e-Government systems.
Figure 5-1. A Citizen-Oriented E-Government and the World’s Top Smart Seoul of SMG
At the Mayors’ Forum, the participating leaders unanimously agreed to establish an international organization for cooperation and exchanges between urban e-Governments worldwide.
By adopting the Seoul e-Government Declaration, Seoul was to hold the World Cities CIO (Chief Information Officer) Forum from 28 - 30 September 2009, a preliminary meeting to discuss the establishment of the prospective e-Government organization in 2010.
The statute of WeGO was adopted in the Inaugural WeGO General Assembly 2010, and then the positions of President, the Vice President, and the members of the Executive Committee were filled by election.
Table 5-1. Timeline Of The World E-Governments Organization Of Cities And Local Governments (WeGO)
|2008||World e-Governments Mayors Forum|
|2009||World Cities CIO Forum|
|2010||The Inaugural WeGO General Assembly 2010 in Seoul|
|2011||WeGO Signs MOU with the United Nations
WeGO Signs MOU with the World Bank
The Executive Committee Meeting 2011
|2012||The Executive Committee Meeting 2012
The 2nd WeGO General Assembly 2012 in Barcelona
|2013||The Executive Committee Meeting 2013
Opening of the WeGO Asia Regional Office Chengdu
|2014||Opening of the WeGO Europe Regional Office, Ulyanovsk Region
Opening Ceremony: The WeGO Secretariat Moves to its New Office
WeGO signs MOU with the National Information Society Agency (NIA) of Korea
The Executive Committee Meeting 2014
The 3rd WeGO General Assembly 2014 in Chengdu
|2015||WeGO signs MOU with the United Cities and Local Governments Asia-Pacific (UCLG ASPAC)
The Executive Committee Meeting 2015 in Ulyanovsk Region
|2016||An appointment of New Secretary General of WeGO,
WeGO signs MOU with the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM)
WeGO signs MOU with the Korea Local Informatization Research and Development Initiative (KLID)
The Executive Committee Meeting 2016 to be in Beyoğlu
Source. A Timeline (2016) , Retrieved from http://www.we-gov.org/WeGO_at_a_Glance
Figure 5-2. Inaugural WeGO 2010
Goals and Implementation Strategies
The fundamental goal of WeGO is to improve citizens’ quality of life around the world
By promoting e-Government toolkits and framework
The City e-Government Diagnostic and Solution (CeDS) Online Platform enables cities to self-assess the maturity level of their e-Government system. The CeDS Online Platform was established and developed by WeGO, World Bank, and SMG and is accessible by city representatives.
Figure 5-3: WeGO’s goal
Source. SMG. The Inaugural General Assembly of the World e-Governments Organization 2010.
By establishing city networks
By conducting joint projects
By providing platforms for member cities to share e-Government policies and best practices
By collaborating with cities and other stakeholders
By discovering and disseminating the effective use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) for transparency, openness, and efficiency
Figure 5-4. The Korea Herald (2016), ‘Digital capacity crucial for city’s sustainable development’,
Source. Retrieved from http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20160224000950
Implementation and Its Effects
1. Organizational Function of WeGO: Implementation
Figure 5-5. WeGO Organization
Source. Governance (2016), Retrieved from http://www.we-gov.org/Governance
1) General Assembly
2) “President Executive, Vice President and Vice President Cities”
3) Executive Committee
5) Regional Offices
A WeGO Regional Office may be set up in Asia, Europe, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East, and Oceania. The Regional Offices recently selected by the Executive Committee through a bidding process are the WeGO Asia Regional Office, Chengdu in China and the WeGO Europe Regional Office, Ulyanovsk Region in Russia (Seoul Metropolitan Government, 2014).
2. The Rights from WeGO: Effect 1
The Statute for the world e-Government organization of cities and local governments
Therefore, the cities and local governments attending the first General Assembly of the WeGO recognize the necessity to lay the foundation for a model of sustainable development to integrate information technology into an entire administration, recognize the Seoul e-Government Declaration adopted on July 8, 2008 at the World e-Government Mayors Forum, accept what is agreed on September 29, 2009 at the World Cities CIO Forum, and wish to preserve the quality of life of city and support sustainable city development through the shared experiences in e-Government practices and by making contributions to the international city community.
Figure 5-6. The Korea Herald (2012), Seoul to keep e-Government body leadership
Source: Retrieved from http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20121114000843
1) Part I of the Statute: General Provisions
The Statute is to provide support for the establishment of foundations related with the structure and operation of WeGO, and to achieve sustainable city development of e-Government by applying legal provisions for each member city.
2) Part II of the Statute: Membership
The membership is divided into full member and associate member. Any city wishing to join or withdraw from the Organization shall submit a form to the Secretariat.
3) Part III of the Statute: Organizations
As mentioned above, the General Assembly shall be the top-level decision-making body of WeGO and have the power to decide several issues including amendment to the Statute and project expenses. Then, WeGO shall consist of the president city and the vice president city. The Executive Committee of WeGO shall provide the functions of the Organization and support services for the projects. The Secretariat of the Organization shall perform the functions and duties assigned to it by the General Assembly and by the Executive Committee.
4) Part IV: Finances
Each member of WeGO shall pay the annual membership fee and the president city shall be in charge of expenses required to operate the regular and special sessions of the General Assembly. Membership fees vary depending on the population of the city/local government and the membership of the country. The International Monetary Fund’s GDP adjusted for purchasing power parity is used to calculate membership fees along with the population of the city.
5) Part V: General Rules
A quorum of WeGO shall consist of more than one-third of the total members, which each full member city shall have one vote.
6) Part VI: Miscellaneous Provision
This Statute shall come into force upon approval of the member cities participating in the first General Assembly in 2010.
3. WeGO’s Government Framework (eGovFrame) Project: Effect 2
The WeGO eGovFrame is a standardized as well as open source software framework developed in order to help governments develop efficiently and operate e-Government applications. The WeGO eGovFrame is composed of four software environments, which are development, runtime, operation, and management, as well as hundreds of reusable common components of e-Government systems. The framework provides mobile web UX Functions and Mobile Device API for both web-based mobile services and hybrid mobile apps.
The ultimate goal of the WeGO eGovFrame is to (a) bolster IT investment efficiency by increasing the productivity as well as reusability of the e-Government application software, (b) enhance the e-Government service quality and the competitiveness of the SMEs through the upward standardization of the information, which can be possible through opening the specialized and advanced development framework to the SM-sized SI companies and sharing it with WeGO members, and (c) develop an infrastructure for the advancement of the national informatization, by accelerating the adoption of integration-centered technologies as well as providing a standardized methodology for the e-Government service implementation.
3.1. WeGO eGovFrame Technical Training and Service Program
|Officials from the City Government of Addis Ababa visited Seoul in 2015 in order to attend the WeGO eGovFrame Technical Training and Service Program. Addis Ababa is currently trying to applying the WeGO eGovFrame to their city.|
3.2. Target Participants of the WeGO eGovFrame Technical Training Program
3.3. Benefits of the WeGO eGovFrame
The framework provides general technical infrastructure for software applications, which allow developers to focus on writing code that best helps citizens with the provision of services. The eGovFrame also makes the software development process simpler by providing standardized tools for developing software, utilizing built-in decisions about fundamental architecture and design issues. Developers can create new applications based on previous work, while new hires can easily follow the underlying logic of the program. Productivity can be improved by using the eGovFrame. In addition, the reusability of common components of e-Government application systems can be improved through the standard framework.
Quality: Increased Satisfaction of Governments and Citizens
The eGovFrame toolbox improves the quality of software applications by providing technical code for generic services which most applications need, where developers tend to make errors when creating wholly new code. This framework enhances the interoperability of e-Government systems and information-sharing among government agencies via standard inter-system integration interface. If the conflict between different agencies’ applications is reduced, the overall quality of service provided by e-Government tools can be increased.
Independence from IT Company Vendors: Enhanced SME Competitiveness
The eGovFrame has effects on dependency on vendor's technology for maintenance of software applications that are based on vendor's proprietary network. This decreases the overall costs that a city will spend in the creation, maintenance, and replacement of e-Government applications. The framework improves SME competitiveness when sharing open source framework as well as providing developers with free, cutting-edge, and easy-to-use technology. Moreover, a greater quality of applications and a decrease in the price of applications will occur by decreasing the costs to enter design.
3.4. eGovFrame Successes
Figure 5-7. eGovFrame Project
Source. Comprehensive Technical Training and Service Program on the WeGO e-Government Framework (2016), Retrieved from http://www.we-gov.org/WeGO_eGovFrame
4. WeGO Consultation Project: Feasibility Study (F/S) Projects: Effect 3
The goal of this project is to enable partner countries to assess the current e-Government (national level and/or local government) status, and to propose a set of e-Government strategies and follow-up projects that have the greatest potential of success. A feasibility study on Spatial Data Infrastructure (SDI) is to discover potential facilities such as networks, pipelines and electricity in urban areas. The feasibility study concludes by proposing a future e-Government model, promoting e-Government best practices, and cooperates with the World Bank Toolkit Project to increase a city’s potential success (Seoul Metropolitan Government, 2010a).
WeGO annually selects one or two WeGO member cities for the F/S projects pursuant to a Call for Letters of Intent. Interested cities and local governments are encouraged to submit a letter of intent to the WeGO Secretariat to apply for an F/S project and to indicate their interest, readiness, and willingness to participate in the project. In particular, the WeGO Secretariat looks for the following elements in an applicant city:
- The applicant's commitment to developing its own e-Government system in an inclusive and sustainable manner,
- The alignment of the FS project with the Government's ICT strategies and vision,
- The willingness to participate in the project as a project partner by providing local support to the Project Consultants,
- Indication of how the project would be sustainable beyond its completion, and
- Indication of the applicant city's commitment to the post-project implementation.
Table 5-2. Categories of Feasibility Study (F/S)
(Feasibility Assessment and
- Environmental Analysis
- Technical Analysis
- Legislation and Regulation Analysis
- Feasibility Assessment and Economic Analysis
4.1. The recent Feasibility Study (F/S) and plan
With the expansion of the Project scope, a demo-version of the actual CPS was developed by WeGO’s IT Consultants and delivered to the beneficiaries. In addition to the main beneficiary cities, WeGO also provided the actual CPS to three additional WeGO members Quezon City (Philippines), Pokhara (Nepal), and Bharatpur (Nepal). The WeGO F/S Project 2015 was the first F/S Project with practical outcomes, which transcended beyond a feasibility study and into the awarding of an actual system.
In 2016, WeGO will focus on studying the feasibility of implementing an ‘m-Government System’ for WeGO member cities, which were selected following the priority of thematic areas collected from WeGO members in the beginning of 2016.
In March of 2016, WeGO signed an MOU with the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) with the aim of acquiring funding for additional feasibility studies for member cities. From this analysis, a set of possible opportunities will be provided to local governments. The funding will also facilitate the education (via workshops and seminars) of municipality and regional leaders. The agreement between the EXIM Bank of Korea and WeGO means that the e-Government system of Seoul could be shared to developing cities. The Export-Import Bank of Korea will review the WeGO Feasibility Project Plan and finance additional projects in subsequent years.
Figure 5-8. WeGO MOU with the Export-Import Bank of Korea
5. WeGO’s City e-Government Diagnostic and Solution Online Platform (CeDS): Effect 4
The CeDS focuses exclusively on cities with the main goal of enabling city government officials to evaluate the status of their own cities’ e-Government environment, assess key gaps, identify actionable items, and conceptualize Master Plans for city e-Government without consulting external experts. The CeDS has the following characteristics: 1) citizen-centric model, 2) holistic, cross-sectional approach, 3) local ownership, 4) comparison with past scores and other WeGO members’ scores, 5) clear action items, and 6) match-making.
In 2014, WeGO embarked on converting the original Excel-based CeDS into an online data platform with more sophisticated data analysis, easier-to-use features and interactive elements. You may access the CeDS Online Platform at http://wego-ceds.org.
Along with the CeDS, WeGO has collaborated on the Smart City Maturity and Benchmark Model with the TM Forum. This model evaluates the current level of progress in adopting smart city technologies, provides greater insight about the conceptualization, adoption, and maintenance of e-Government tools by all relevant stakeholders, propose a maturity model that sets goals for cities to achieve at regular intervals, and includes best practices for 225 indicators evaluated in the model.
Figure 5-9. City e-Government Diagnostic and Solution Online Platform
Table 5-3. Status of City e-Government Diagnostic and Solution Online Platform
|The CeDS status||Corresponding Cities|
|Cities that have signed up for a CeDS Account||
|Cities that are currently filling out the CeDS||
|Cities that have filled out the CeDS||
5.1. The CeDS Structure
The CeDS Online Platform consists of the following sections:
- Main Dashboard: A snapshot of your city’s diagnostic scores along with the average of WeGO member cities’ scores.
- Introduction: A brief overview of the CeDS and how it is structured.
- Guidelines for the CeDS Investigation and Diagnosis: A set of guidelines that should be read prior to doing the CeDS Investigation. The guidelines provide users with instructions to complete the analysis, and ensure that the data collected by the CeDS is accurate and will be of use to the administrators of the member city as well as other WeGO users. The guidelines indicate that member cities will be able to conduct CeDS investigations four times a year. This section indicates the minimum collection of stakeholders – officials from the planning, finance/budget, IT department, and vice mayor/executive – that should be present and contribute information when the CeDS is conducted.
- CeDS Investigation and Diagnosis: The actual self-assessment and diagnosis part of the CeDS online platform, consisting of three investigation sheets -- the “Investigation of e-Government Maturity” and “Investigation of Current e-Government Systems” and the “Progressive Systems Map”. The Investigation of e-Government Maturity focuses on the overall environment in which e-Government programs exist. Factors including the level of resources available, the government institutions in play, and the institutions and rules establishing policy. The Investigation of Current e-Government Systems evaluates the e-Government institutions currently in place in a member city, comparing their overall quality to model systems .
- CeDS Final Report: The final report consists of three diagnostics reports the CeDS provides
- 1. Diagnostic Report I: Overall e-Government Maturity
- 2. Diagnostic Report II: Specific e-Government Maturity by 6 Internal/ External Dimensions
- 3. Diagnostic Report III: Current e-Government Systems Maturity and Systems Identification
- Forum: The forum is a space where users can get announcements from CeDS and ask questions to the WeGO Secretariat. Access to the forum is allowed only to active WeGO members.
- e-Government System Modules: The CeDS provides a set of best practices which aims to provide the administrators with the actual resources for the city e-Government planning. The modules are pre-designed e-Government protocols and programs that allow city administrators to immediately utilize in various policy areas.
5.2. Benefits of the CeDS
- The CeDS provides ready-to-use diagnostic tools for identifying key gaps and policy items. Through both the citizen-centric maturity model and a set of international best e-Government practices, it tries to offer citizen-focused tool, rather than technology-only focused perspective
- Cost-effective outcomes and user-friendly composition
- Increased ownership of e-Government initiatives by worldwide cities
- Recommendations for developing concrete action items with long-term roadmap for enhancing a city’s e-Government policy maturity
- Open sources: Shared best practices and experiences among WeGO members and simple identification of benchmarking partner cities
- Network: a set of areas for development partners (e.g. World Bank) to focus on providing services to member cities
- Technical Support: Based on the CeDS results, it will be easier to access to e-Government expertise and assistance for cities
- Systematic Manual: Practical step-by-step instructions for e-Government progress through the modules that focus on the most urgent needs for e-Government services
Figure 5-10. CeDS’s benefits
6. WeGO’s Government Training: Effect 5
WeGO's capacity-building programs include the popular e-Government as well as additional on- and offline training programs organized by the WeGO Secretariat and WeGO Regional Offices. Apart from these, WeGO partners with different organizations to diversify the training programs that it offers: for example, WeGO, the Global Academy of the National Information Society Agency of Korea and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) co-organized an inaugural joint workshop on Smart City and e-Government in Jeju Island, Korea in May 2016, which is expected to turn into a regular program in addition to the “Seoul Program.”
6.1. The Seoul Program
The topics of training programs from previous iterations of the Seoul Program are (a) improving e-Government and citizen communication through SNS, (b) building e-Government efficiency in provision of services through policies including a shift towards a paperless office, (c) e-Government and security topics, including information security and privacy protection, (d) e-Government and administrative reform, (e) e-Government and civil-based applications (e.g.) e-Tax, (f) e-Government implementation, (g) negative effect of information access and solutions to problems including internet addiction and cyber-crime, (h) ICT infrastructure, (i) promotion of industry through e-Government, and (j) stages of government evolution.
Figure 5-11. WeGO Seoul program
6.2. WeGO Partners’ Program
The WeGO e-Government Training Program offered by the city of Chengdu, China was held in late May 2014 at the Nordic International Management Institute and provided attending members with an intensive course on leadership education. Building on WeGO's strong partnership with the World Bank, WeGO has collaborated with the "Smart Cities" series of the World Bank Institute's successful webinar program. The webinars were conducted in June and December, 2014. The first webinar surrounded the importance of analytics in city management. By collecting big data from citizens, city leaders are better able to understand the desires of their populace, deliver services in the most beneficial way, and influence public policy. The second webinar organized in collaboration with advisors of the Ulyanovsk Region, (Russia) in December focused on how to use the self-assessment tool CeDS.
The Jeju Workshop
Special attention should be given to the “Jeju Workshop”, a new program developed by WeGO, Asian Development Bank, and the Global Academy of the National Information Society Agency of Korea in 2016. The program, consisting of a number of enriching sessions, does not only cover success stories of different stakeholders in Korea and abroad in building a Smart City but also outstanding issues concerning the complexity of the relation between e-Government and Smart City and their interrelation with the Sustainable Development Goals. The sessions are led by prominent experts in e-Government and Smart City from a variety of stakeholder groups, including international organizations and finance institutions, national entities of Korea, local governments, academia, and the private sector.
In addition, participants have the chance to attend the Jeju Forum for Peace and Prosperity which is one of the most prestigious conferences in Asia and visit technical facilities and major attractions of the Jeju Island.
Following the successful completion of the workshop, WeGO plans to hold the workshop on an annual basis.
6.3. WeGo Regional Offices’ Program
The WeGO Regional Offices in Asia and Europe are established in order to help WeGO member cities access on-demand technical assistance. Through the program, WeGO member citizens able to adopt e-Government plans more easily under the regional system. The technology-heavy focus of WeGO means that members can learn about innovations and receive assistance remotely. Maintaining a physical presence at a number of conferences, WeGO is able to network with local representatives and provide a greater chance for their member cities to succeed with e-Government initiatives.
Figure 5-12. e-Government Training through Webinar
Asia Regional Office
Since its establishment in 2013, the Asia Regional Office (ARO) of WeGO has conducted two training programs for WeGO members and non-members with respect to ways of e-Government development. The first program in May 2014 introduced attendees to the e-Government programs utilized by Chengdu as well as an adoptable framework for the digital smart city system. The second program in July 2015 invited a larger contingent of WeGO member cities (5 instead of 2) and non-members (a contingent 20, up from 15 in 2014). Information security topics were a major focus of the 2015 program.
Europe Regional Office
The Europe Regional Office (ERO) of WeGO was officially opened at the international IT Exbhibition CEBiT in Hannover, Germany in 2014. The ERO annually co-organizes in cooperation with multiple stakeholder large IT conferences, such as Stachka! (“Strike!”) and “Ulcamp”, providing attendees with information concerning the organization and connecting with government and private sector representatives as well as increasing collaboration between IT representatives from Russia and neighboring countries. Webinars are also regularly conducted by the ERO and those held in 2014-2015 focused on how the Ulyanovsk Region has increased the transparency of government in a variety of areas including public utilities and healthcare through its open data policies.
7. WeGO Awards: Effect 6
Figure 5-13. WeGO Awards’ goal
7.1. WeGO Awards Categories
- Projects that improve the quality of administrative services and urban competitiveness by allowing citizens to apply for civil requests online.
- Projects that promote effectiveness of public services.
- Projects that provide high quality services to citizens.
- Projects that improve the administrative efficiency by computerizing all the administrative tasks, sharing public information, and promoting comprehensive and real-time management of information and resources.
- Projects that introduce knowledge management to improve administrative efficiency in member cities.
- Promote civil participation by opening public information in an active manner.
- Projects that improve the level of urban openness by promoting civil participation, administrative transparency, and open data.
- Projects that use the latest technologies to build comprehensive urban management systems for security, mobility, convenience, and environment.
- Projects that promote efficient urban management in security, disaster, transport, safety, environment, energy, welfare, and culture.
- Projects that care for and ensure the easy access of the marginalized citizens to information are eligible for a WeGO Award.
7.2. Evaluation Procedures
Individuals and projects wishing to nominate a project for a WeGO Award have to submit a recommendation by the stated deadline. Each project that is submitted for consideration will be checked to determine whether it meets the terms and requirements of the WeGO Awards.
Phase 2: First Round Evaluation
In the stage of first round evaluation, all the proposals are evaluated by the professional judges based on the five criteria of WeGO Awards above. In terms of the measurement, the judges rate from score 1 (lowest) to 10 score (highest) for the criteria respectably.
The five top-rated submissions in each category will be selected to move into the next phase of the evaluation process.
Phase 3: Second Round Evaluation
In addition to the first round evaluation, all the proposals are opened for the awards voting. Then, the top two proposals with the highest number of votes are selected and determined as the winners of the Best and Outstanding e-Government Prize.
Figure 5-14. WeGO Award evaluation process
7.3. Benefits for WeGO Awards Winners
- Winners can obtain international recognition and honors for their work on e-Government. Receiving an award from an international organization lends credence to the organization conducting the program. This validation may lead to an increase in the budget of the group or a further expansion of the scope of the program.
- Winners are widely promoted through WeGO’s communication channels, including the WeGO website, e-Newsletter, and Social Networking Sites. Through this publicity function, the successes of WeGO Awards winners may lead to greater amounts of networking. Increasing the amount of connections that an organization has may lead to greater efficiency in their programs through skill sharing. As non-members are eligible to win awards, this publicity can provide some of the benefits that full membership in the WeGO will provide.
- Winners can publicize their achievements at the WeGO Awards on their official documents and websites.
- Winners can share their knowledge and ideas with an international public. Winners and runners-up alike will learn about different projects. This has positive benefits in terms of making new connections, viewing alternative solutions to problems, and understanding the unique qualities that are in place in other areas.
8. Future Plan of WeGO
WeGO’s future plans are regularly discussed at the “WeGO Executive Committee Meeting”. The meeting is held with 20 WeGO Committee members and stakeholders. In partnership with the World Bank, UCLG ASPAC, UN-Habitat, and UNESCAP, WeGO is planning to actively and substantively participate in Habitat III, the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, which will mark the adoption of the New Urban Agenda, which is pivotal for cities’ and local governments’ development worldwide. Together with its valuable members, the organization will bolster its presence at the global premier smart city event -- the Smart City Expo World Congress -- in Barcelona, Spain in November 2016 by hosting a WeGO Pavilion and joining the main congress sessions. The year of 2017 is another turning point for WeGO. The 4th WeGO General Assembly will be held in Ulyanovsk Region, Russia, where key agenda items relating to WeGO’s organizational management and strategic growth, including the formulation of an updated WeGO Mission and Long-Term Strategic Plan and the creation of a new Corporate Membership Category, are to be discussed and the 3rd WeGO Awards will be highlighted. Apart from that, WeGO will continue running its regular programs, pursuing joint collaboration with the UN, the World Bank, ITU, ADB, and others, providing knowledge-sharing platforms, and conducting a number of research projects.
WeGO is led by the SMG and pursues the sustainable development through exchange between WeGO member cities and mutual e-Government cooperation among cities around the world since the SMG officially launched in 2010.
Figure 5-15. Master Plan for Global Digital Seoul 2020
The City of Seoul announced a master plan to suggest a long term vision for the digital side of Seoul on February 23, 2016. The ultimate direction of the Digital Seoul program is influenced by citizen stakeholders, alongside representatives of interests throughout the world.
One of the major visions is for the city of Seoul to lead the world in implementation of e-Governance institutions and for the Digital Seoul to be utilized as a framework for countries around the world. Seoul city continues to share this excellent digital experience with the world through WeGO.
The positive experience that member cities have with WeGO consistently bolsters Seoul’s global status and leadership. In addition, Seoul entirely supports WeGO to enlarge the exchange of cooperation with internationals organization, with a goal of linking digital technologies and e-Government service provision throughout the world
Challenges and Opportunities
1. Analysis of WeGO’s influence of and suggestion for the future
The organization experiences a number of barriers to increase enrollment by cities in the developed world, but there are steps that WeGO can take to address these concerns. Increasing the number of regional offices to better cover the developing world (e.g. establishing offices in Africa and Latin America) would provide confidence to WeGO members and non-member cities alike that e-Government policies that are offered by the organization will increase the overall efficiency of service provision in administrator’s own cities.
Figure 5-16. WeGO SWOT Analysis
The biggest strength of WeGO comes in the maturity of the programs that the organization recommends. The SMG conducted research and evaluated the feasibility of policies, removing options that were not practical. After policies were adopted, SMG has continued to collect data which is available to member cities. Utilizing this data, WeGO member cities are able to address implementation concerns with their own programs in a fashion that the SMG was unable to foresee. The presence of the Asia and Europe Regional Offices allow for member cities to receive targeted assistance that will increase the chance that plans they adopt from the organization will be established successfully in their area.
The technology-heavy focus of WeGO means that members can learn about innovations and receive assistance remotely. Maintaining a physical presence at a number of conferences, WeGO is able to network with local representatives and provide a greater chance for their member cities to succeed with e-Government initiatives.
The availability of smartphones and internet-capable technologies allows a considerable portion of citizens in the developing world to access the internet. While this is a starting point, the mere presence of a connected citizenry does not translate to a government that will readily adopt e-Government solutions.
The political culture of cities impacts the level of e-Government adoption and the progress cities will have in utilizing these technologies. Digital divide concerns may represent a limitation to success utilization of e-Government services by a citizenry, but another importance concern is how individuals conceptualize the process by which services are received. Political culture concerns are particularly relevant at the early stages of e-Government adoption.
While WeGO invites collaborators to facilitate the adoption of policies similar to those enacted in the SMG by member cities, each city possesses idiosyncrasies. These unique factors (e.g. demographic, structural, and environment concerns) increase the uncertainty that new policies will be as effective when adopted by further cities.
Another issue of concern surrounds the quickly-changing technologies that are utilized in the design, maintenance, and replacing of e-Government services. When adopting technologies on a lagged basis, member cities benefit from a decreased cost in research and development but may suffer in the quality of the services that are provided to citizens if more efficient technologies are adopted in the interim.
WeGO collects exemplary cases of policy models by international organizations, becoming a noticeable example to other municipalities. However, adopting the suggestions of WeGO is of relatively smaller use to more technologically advanced cities as the organization is narrowly focused on undeveloped cities.
For WeGO membership to be perceived as of great import by more developed municipalities, the organization should partner with representatives of highly-developed cities (e.g. New York City, Geneva), which would be able to provide education to members that have e-Government programs implemented to a degree better than Seoul.
While WeGO has opened regional offices in Asia and in Europe, the organization has not established a regional office in Africa. Cities on the African continent have a wide variety of experiences, but with 24 full members of WeGO in Africa, a regional organization in these areas would allow for distinct policies to be established which would fit member cities in the area better than policies created in Chengdu or in the Ulyanovsk region.
Increasing the size of WeGO further strengthens the possibility that organizations and program administrators will be able to network. Through the promotion of best practices, WeGO makes it easier for leaders in member cities to find an example that has a better chance of working for their unique set of qualities.
Citizens in member cities may not have the patience or the ability to contribute funds a number of times to an e-Government program, and may be turned off from desiring e-Government services if the resulting program fails to materialize or does not provide benefits to the degree that citizens desire. Through WeGO advisers and the policies that the organization shares, WeGO provides individual members with a greater chance to succeed.
Further expansions to the services that WeGO offers can benefit cities at all stages of development. The organization makes sufficient uses of best policies and traditional online services including newsletters and forums, but greater adoption of Web 2.0 tools for member use will facilitate networking between members. Increasing the frequency and the subject material of webinars will increase the organization’s overall visibility and provide member cities with greater knowledge about new e-Government tools and measurement analytics. Bolstering the number of seminars held remotely would allow a greater number of WeGO members the ability to express their interests.
There are threats that may arise from the provision of assistance and ready-made policies to WeGO cities. By making services more efficient (allowing companies to receive licensure online, decreasing average fuel costs through a shift to online billing), private companies in a WeGO member city may provide services cheaper than those in WeGO member cities that are not as far along in the policy adoption. While the goals of WeGO are to facilitate greater networking among cities, the failure of businesses in member municipalities may lead to greater instability in these cities. As individuals and companies pay taxes to the city government, the reduction in these funds due to the failure of firms can lead to negative externalities.
Cities beset by smaller amounts of revenue may decrease funding to e-Government programs or close them outright. While the importance of e-Government services are undeniable, there is a chance that administrators will maintain funding levels for objectives that have a more tangible component (e.g social welfare, road maintenance, water purification).
The experience of SMG indicates that the government is familiar with improving confidence to international markets, which helps policy-makers in other WeGO member cities decide whether they adopt any of the policies that the SMG proposes.
The presence of governance institutions, regional offices and an awards ceremony increases the level of involvement by WeGO member cities and increases the overall visibility of the organization’s activities. The eGovFrame and CeDS technologies offered to WeGO member cities allows for greater collaboration between a city’s leadership and technical advisors, representing a considerably different experience for developing cities when compared to other international organizations, which may offer a top-down program or conditional loans. The work done by WeGO to this point has been generally positive, but the organization must continue to increase its reach to continue to remain successful.
WeGO works with city governments that are looking to adopt e-Government tools or increase the utility of the applications that are active. To further the organization’s stated aims to bolster the prevalence of e-Government service provision through the world, WeGO must work with local organizations to inform local populations about the versatility of e-Government tools. While there is a tendency for cities to have a static website with information concerning licensure and the contact information for mayors and local officials, this represents the furthest that many cities achieve when it comes to providing online services to their citizens.
By establishing programs in cities to educate populations about e-Government and the benefits that these tools can provide, WeGO would do as much for promoting the e-Government cause as the webinars and conferences that the organization offers. Previous WeGO work has focused on those stakeholders that are familiar with e-Government institutions; future work by the organization must increase to those cities and areas that have not conceptualized these tools are essential.
The best practices of the SMG are important to cities that have not successfully implemented e-Government programs to any substantial degree, but are of considerably less value to cities that have progressed further in the functionality of e-Government tools than the SMG.
Along with approaching populations that have not perceived e-Government services as important, WeGO must attempt to bring more developed cities into the fold in the future. The major stumbling block for the organization at this point is making WeGO membership a valuable proposition for developed cities like London, Paris, and New York City. A memorandum of understanding between major cities and WeGO would benefit the organization considerably, as the presence of highly-developed cities in the organization would entice moderately-developed cities to join the organization. With a greater amount of experience in a number of policy areas, a larger WeGO would be better able to provide efficient policies to member cities.
Figure 5-17. Improving WeGO
WeGO must continue to allow stakeholders in member cities the ability to modify and otherwise shape their adoptions of best practices. What worked in Seoul may not work in a WeGO city owing to differences in governance, stakeholders, economic vitality, or a wide number of other factors that are unique to each city. By continuing to involve a city’s representatives at the same level as WeGO technical advisors, the organization increases the chance that the policies that they promote will be successfully implemented. The focus on providing WeGO members with skills (e.g. big data and CeDS education) through webinars and conferences further increases how the organization is perceived by member and non-member cities alike. While the Seoul government has progressed considerably in the adoption of e-Government policies, the orientation of WeGO has been one of equals, all working toward the goal of a better-serviced citizenry. By continuing to stick to this philosophy, WeGO will be able to increase its reach in the years to come.
The WeGO of the next few years must also increase the geographic focus of the organization. The creation of regional offices in China and Russia allow for greater finesse in terms of the policies that are offered to member cities in the area, but the more Asian focus of the organization may be perceived as a negative for cities in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and Africa. Working towards the creation of additional regional offices in the years to come will increase the member rolls of WeGO as well as allowing for more accurate policies to be offered to member cities in each of these regions. Successful implementation of e-Government programs by these member cities will further increase the authority of WeGO. The presence of a greater number of regional offices could lead to policy specializations by each regional unit; one unit may focus on the creation of public health-specific e-Government services, another may work towards the adoption of tools allowing citizens to make complaints against government officials, and a third may be tasked with establishing systems that allow local contractors to read, inquire about, and submit proposals for public works.
WeGO is an organization that has generally helped stakeholders in a number of member cities successfully adopt e-Government initiatives. The organization has done a tremendous amount of work in fostering the spirit of collaboration between the public and private sectors, along with establishing connections between individuals in a number of different cities. The organization has a bright future and a number of potential paths to further ensuring that WeGO is able to continue providing technical training and evaluation tools for any city willing to establish, monitor, or replace their e-Government systems. In the near future, WeGO must attempt to increase the involvement of developed cities, educate citizens and government officials in those areas without any e-Government processes, and increase the number of regional offices to better serve stakeholders in regions outside of Asia and Europe. WeGO should continue to focus on the same organizational philosophies that have guided the organization through its early years of existence.