Published: 04 February 2021

Surrey Business School’s research on digital innovation in government improves policies and practices across Latin America

Governments in Latin America face pressure to improve public services, reduce costs and increase efficiency through the better use of technology.

Research at Surrey Business School’s Centre of Digital Economy (CoDE) has shown that new technology needs to be accompanied by changes in behaviour, governance and practices to support digital transformation; findings that have had significant impact on government agencies and businesses across Latin America.

The research titled ‘Improving policies and practice for digital government transformation in Latin America’, led by Dr Carla Bonina with Prof Alan Brown and Dr Ben Eaton, has achieved positive results in three main areas:

  • Improving digital government and open data policies
  • Transparency and open data agenda mobilisation and engagement
  • Capacity building for public servants

Dr Bonina worked closely with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to develop an impact tool to assess its digital government directives in Member countries. The tool was used to develop indicators and policies in Colombia, helping the country with the later accession to the OECD.

Dr Bonina’s research contributed to mobilising the agenda of open data and transparency in the region, including a passage of new legislation in Costa Rica, training more than 300 public servants working in digital data strategies, and improved open data policy and practice in Argentina. In 2017, Argentina was amongst the top 17 open data performers of the world. 

The research has also contributed to stronger open data policies and business engagement. The city of Buenos Aires recognised the unique contribution of Dr Bonina’s work when devising their Open Data Strategy and its value for the private sector.

Overall the research has made a significant contribution towards facilitating better public services and more open governments and building the strongest open data ecosystem in the Global South.

Dr Bonina’s work “has had immense value in how we construct a more responsive, transparent and innovative government with open data. Her work has not only been invaluable to our city but to many others in the region who take the open data policy of Buenos Aires as an exemplar to follow.”

Testimonial by the Undersecretary of Strategic Management and Institutional Quality, General Secretariat, Government of the City of Buenos Aires.

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