Tuesday, May 05, 2009

BPN 1345 eGovernment contests in the Gulf

I am in Bahrain since late Sunday evening after a KLM flight from Amsterdam. The route has been changed from Amsterdam to Kuwait via Bahrain; the route used to go to Bahrain to Abu Dabi or Dubai. At the airport there was a welcome committee. Later I was told that at the airport heat sensors have been installed to detect heat, i.c. body temperature, in case of Mexican flu. All I saw was an official with plastic gloves behind the customs picking out people from the crowd.

I have been invited by the e-Government Agency to chair the jury for the second edition of the e-Gov Excellence Award contest. So far I have been talking to the people involved, reading the documents and going into the entries.

Last year the agency started the contest and everything had to be done from scratch. Yet on the evening before the opening of international e-Gov Forum, the awards were presented and everyone was happy: the agency that it was all over and the jury that they had finished in time. It was decided straight away that there would be a second edition of the e-Gov Excellence Award contest and the international e-Gov Forum and the agency has not wasted the time for preparing the second round. Many things have changed such as contest rules, but also the composition of the jury; besides a very interesting category was added and a jury system developed.

The rules for the contest have happily been refined. If the same rules of last year had been applied there was the risk that the same winners would snatch away the awards. By changing the rules, entrants are limited in their participation and receiving awards; on the other hand there will be more competition and a broader distribution of awards.

The composition of the jury was surprising. Last year the jury was composed of Bahraini and people from India, working in Bahrain, This year there are Bahraini, two Saudi, an Omani lady and two people from India, working in Bahrain. I love this open attitude. The Saudi and the Oman lady have been invited as they are also planning an e-Gov contest in their respective countries; besides Oman has offered to organise the e-Gov contest for the Gulf States by December. I met the Omani lady, Fatma, last year in Muscat, when I presented a two-day workshop there.

Interesting is also the addition of a new category, not for the ministries or governmental agencies, but for the citizens. They can deliver an eConcept for the government and the winner in this category might see his idea realised; a budget has been set aside for this purpose. I was happy to see that the category had receive a good number of entries. I still have to go through them to see how inspiring they are.

Last year the jury requested to evaluate the submissions remotely, either from their working place or from home. This year the eGoverment Agency has developed a full grown system, taking in the submissions electronically, allowing jurors to access the sites, reading the submitted material and supporting documents and recording the scoring. It looks an interesting system, which aroused already interest with the jurors, despite some teething problems. Also the remote judging will have to be proven. I will be on duty to answer questions.

The second edition of the e-Gov Excellence Award has taken a step forward in the Gulf region and in using technology for judging.

Blog Posting Number:1345

Tags: eGovernment

No comments: