Three centuries in a month and moving forward: #Italy, #EU, and #COVID19 - 10. Common good and the age of consent

10. Common good and the age of consent

#transparency and #digital #transformation: #emergence of the #common #good in the #age of #consent)

In early January I actually shared a 15 pages article just on this theme: what is needed in terms of mindset- consent, trust, transparency, and, overall, treating citizens (public and corporate) as citizens, not subjects.

The title is a mouthful, but summarizes all the key elements, and actually is connected to an article from two weeks before that covered a different element.

Moving toward a new structure of social relationships and roles requires adopting a different framework, but without dropping all the aggregated organizational memory.

Or: what our society, specifically not just Italy but also the European Union, learned.

Another title that was a mouthful, for the first article that I published in 2020, was: "Assessing systemically: the data side of #European #Union #integration within #digital #transformation".

The concept is simple: we need to converge, and redesign the roles EU-wide, not anymore just along national boundaries, as e.g. many companies are used to work with companies in other Member States: nationality is irrelevant, supply chain role is.

Within that article I actually showed a couple of examples from UN SDGs that became relevant now.

What is a major infrastructural weakness in Italy on the road to digital transformation, something I wrote about for years?

Obviously, the obsolete data transmission infrastructure.

I remembered how a customer, decades ago, in order to be able to provide a reliable network for its customers' ATMs, had to build its own infrastructure.

Routinely, Italy's deployment of broadband Internet is assessed to be behind schedule, and still suffering the issue I discussed in other articles about the size of Italian companies.

As most companies are small, they are often outside town.

While broadband access is becoming common where the market has customers (in towns), and EU initiatives support instead areas that are losing population (e.g. mountain villages), the typical location of many small companies (on the outskirts of major towns, or in areas between major towns) keeps them far apart from major population centres.

Side effect? They are neither in areas supported by the market, nor in those supported by public initiatives.

As these "grey" areas lack broadband access, many small companies cannot develop supply chain integrations that would require a continuous, fast, reliable access- so, they don't.

And, as shown in that article, unfortunately each assessment on number of Italian citizens with Internet access since 2002 showed that we were... below average.

A litmus test was e.g. the use of Business 4.0 funding: in the first round, companies that purchased new equipment thanks to the availability of government funding... often did use the new equipment without activating and connecting to their informatio systems the new 4.0 capabilities.

Reason? Not only because they lacked access to broadband, but also because they lacked "human capital ready for 4.0"

Now as when I was selling methodology training courses in the early 1990s Italian companies still invest limited amounts on training.

As in any other developed country affected, during the lockdown we did a live training exercise on shifting immediately toward teleworking and digital transformation.

The former more or less worked, but it was the latter that suffered.

It will be yet another area worth studying, as e.g. schools reported of children lacking computers and tablets, but how many families with more than one child have both a computer for each child, and an Internet connection able to sustain streaming videos for, say, father, mother, and a couple of children?

Few days ago the Italian Prime Minister (formally: Presidente del Consiglio) proposed something that would sound familiar to some of my readers that are not based in Italy: to introduce within the Italian Constitution a "right to access Internet".

It will be interesting to see how many lessons have been derived from these few months, as few months ago we were just talking about the side-effects of Brexit.

What I shared in mid-December 2019 (see #Brexit and the #future of #Europe - considerations on #PPI and #PF in #UK and #Italy) was actually something more than a commentary on Brexit and its side-effects, as Private-Public Initiatives and Project Funding recently became fashionable in Italy almost as they were in UK long ago, and in Italy we have a few who still harbor mildly disguised hopes of a mythical Italexit.

I disagree, of course- but you can read more details (17 pages) in that article.

Now, some of the future developments will most certainly require human capabilities available only in the private sector, where are used routinely and kept in prime shape only in the private sector, and only not-so-often in the public sector.

But what we learned during the lockdown is actually useful to think about a different future, something that discussed most recently in December 2019.

My focus was smart cities, automotive, and banking (see Behind the #smart #cities #future - #automotive and #banking rephrased), but the current lockdown was, in Italy, a crash-course in digitalization.

What did happen during the lockdown?

Much more than citizens expected.

Let's be frank, Italy is an urbanized society that still thinks as if it were something else.

As an example, a "simple change" such as asking people to return home resulted in people returning where they were resident- across the country, as if a virus were to be bound by a residency permit.

My approach? Stay where you are. If you had had contact with the virus over, say, up to a couple of weeks before March 8th (when the first step of the lockdown was enforced), moving around could imply shifting contagion.

As a second example, the second step "stay where you are", implied that people could not leave their location.

And, in country with thousands of town and villages that "circle" major towns, this implied that e.g. people used to do shopping in shopping centres nearby their office, and then return home, had to discover the beauty of village shops.

So, small shops started selling in a day what they did not sell in a week, as most of the local residents were either teleworking or anyway forced to stay home.

This implied a re-routing of supply chain, and probably also financial impacts, as credit lines sufficient for a shop purchasing for one-two weeks what was now enough for 1-2 days has some issues.

In turn, this added further stress to local communities, as most locations did not have the services that people were used to in major towns.

As I wrote few pages ago, in any crisis the routine request is to "streamline laws": but what we saw since March 8th was the country how it will work if it were to stop having people shuttling to and from towns to work, and had to live locally.

Politically, beside adding broadband access to Internet, and maybe thinking of giving to each student at least a tablet to use both in class and from home, this implies reconsidering services.

Car-obsessed Italians (those who pick up the car even for 200 meters) had to start using their legs again, and maybe to discover a different distribution of time.

We are then in for changes- small, large, and...

... all require to think systemically, not by industry, or by country, and certainly not as if one single person were able to show the light...