Complexities of the public sector environment, needs identified by practitioners, and research opportunities and challenges that emerged from the workshop discussions led to six recommendations to the National Science Foundation for furthering the goals of the Digital Government Program.
1. Support research at the Federal, state, and local levels as well as investigations into intergovernmental and public-private interaction.
The innovations and experiments that abound at the local, state, and national levels provide countless opportunities for grounded research. As the Ford Foundation Innovations in American Government Program shows, ideas that emerge in every corner of the nation have the potential to mature into advanced applications that can be adopted in many other places, and even become nationwide service models. The Digital Government Program should therefore emphasize the multi-faceted nature of American government and encourage projects at each level of government. It should also support studies of multi- level functions and programs that link the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. A multi-level, cross- sectoral research program would have significant benefits:
Better appreciation for the singular capabilities, needs, and issues present at each level of government.
Increased understanding of how the interconnectedness of government agencies affects the administration, performance, and cost of public programs and the deployment and performance of information systems that support them.
Better understanding of the role of the voluntary not-for-profit sector in the delivery of government services.
New models for managing private sector involvement in government operations and better understanding of the applications and limits of private sector business models for public sector functions.
Improved models of the process of innovation as well as better understanding of the diffusion of innovation in the public sector.
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