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March-May 2020

Sorting out the Dutch government’s IT mess

The Netherlands wants to be at the forefront in areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), yet the country’s government itself lacks a solid IT architecture and knowledge about technology and digitisation. So how can the government steer its IT into calmer waters? A government includes of all kinds of institutional structures providing a stable, reliable function, while IT is dynamic, changes quickly, is innovative, has many complexities and is transformative. Unfortunately, the Dutch government’s existing institutional structures are not suitable for innovation. “You have to think very carefully about how to bring these two opposites together,” said Marijn Janssen, professor of ICT and governance at TU Delft university of technology. “The government wants stability and robustness and wants to function. But ICT innovation is the opposite – you try something with a certain risk of failure, learn from it and go on. It is actually diametrically opposed – and yet you need both.” According to Daan Rijsenbrij, retired professor of IT...

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