Five weeks ago, we launched our “Coping with the Crisis platform”.
It has grown quickly and is expanding every day. So far, our community has identified more than 250 examples of best practice in Europe which have successfully tackled the secondary effects of the coronavirus crisis.
We would like to share four policy insights we have gained over the last few weeks.
1. Share your policy responses, data and knowledge with other governments
As we have seen in many governments’ best practice initiatives, it is not only imperative to think about what data can be generated and measured during the crisis, but also to share government data, materials developed, leadership lessons learned, specific policy responses and best practice with a broader audience. Besides making valuable insights available to those who need them most, this also makes it possible to quickly find out what works in what circumstances, and what does not.
2. Start necessary reforms
In many policy areas, reforms were overdue and/or had been postponed for a long time before the crisis. Some governments launched reforms well in advance of this crisis, and others began the process during the crisis. We have discovered cities which were already well equipped to handle online education and home schooling, while others acted immediately, for example by providing infrastructure for pupils. But we have also seen civil society projects which have had to step in as governments were not responding fast enough. Moreover, governments have to plan and take steps to modernise health and care systems using digital technologies and communication tools, by digitalising support services and providing services for those in need.
3. Implement digital technologies today, not tomorrow
Although we have seen businesses using robots to disinfect hospitals and implementing AI as a warning system, as well as doctors digitalising their services, only a few governments have been able to develop and/or implement digital solutions quickly. Exceptions, such as provincial governments opening up free online libraries, prove this rule. Governments should have realised by now that digital technologies are crucial in tackling the effects of a crisis. And even more importantly, digitalising services is a necessary step towards modernising governments.
4. Provide resources to drive innovation
Governments need to realise that tackling a crisis requires an innovation ecosystem. It is not enough for governments to implement innovative measures; businesses of all sizes must also identify the need to help solve specific challenges and the associated incentives. We have seen outstanding examples of governments setting up innovation funds to trigger such innovation, as well as participating in and supporting online investment conferences. In the future, governments will need to be prepared to stimulate innovation at short notice and not to rely on crisis management measures alone.
We are continuing to research, review and upload initiatives, so our platform will carry on growing. If you would like to contribute, please send us details of innovative measures you know about (follow this link).