Promoting digital innovation to deliver value to Korean citizens
Korea draws on OECD expertise and its world-class infrastructure to seize the potential of digital transformation in the public sector.
What's the issue?
As rapid digital transformation changes all aspects of our lives, citizens expect their governments to provide services and policies that deliver on the promises of the digital age. A strategic approach to the use of digital technologies and data in the public sector is fundamental for governments to deliver according to citizens’ needs and expectations in an increasingly global and digital society. A government that is able to draw on the advantages of digital tools and data will allow the public sector to be more agile in proactively meeting citizens’ needs, building greater resilience and enabling it to even better withstand external shocks, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Similarly, competent digital governments can better shape digital economies and societies to address the challenges and opportunities of digital transformation.
With greater citizen interest in and demand for online public services and public information disclosure, the Korean government started implementing its e-Government strategy and related projects in the 1990s. Continued support and investments allowed the Korean e-Government to succeed. However, as rapid digital transformation has challenged governments around the world, Korea also had to evolve and transition to digital government.
How are we addressing it?
As an active participant of the OECD Working Party of Senior Digital Government Officials (OECD E-Leaders), Korea has taken into consideration OECD recommendations and policy papers when developing and implementing its digital government strategies. A number of OECD policy tools also have helped the Korean government to navigate and identify digital government priorities.
In 2018, Korea participated in the OECD Digital Government Index (DGI). The DGI assesses and benchmarks the maturity of digital government policies and their implementation under a coherent and whole-of-government approach. It thereby aims to help appraise governments’ ability to operate in an increasingly digital and global world. It provided the Korean government an opportunity to review its progress in 6 dimensions: digital by design, government as a platform, data-driven public sector, open by default, user-driven, and proactiveness.
Furthermore, Korea was able to take insights and lessons learned from its peers and the OECD on digital identity, data-driven public sector, and service design and delivery through the work of the E-Leaders thematic groups.
What’s the impact?
Korea ranks first among 29 OECD countries in the 2019 OECD Digital Government Index. Korea outperformed in all six dimensions. The OECD Recommendation on Digital Government Strategies influenced Korea to develop comprehensive digital government strategies, empowering it with trustworthy and interoperable tools to enable omni-channel service delivery.
The COVID-19 crisis proved to be a test of the Korean government capacity to respond effectively. It did so promptly and actively through the mobilisation of its administrative innovation capabilities under the principles of openness, transparency, and democracy.
In June 2021, the Korean government announced its digital government strategy for 2021-2025, a roadmap to implement intelligent service design and delivery, data-driven public administration, and robust and inclusive digital infrastructure, strengthening weaknesses identifies by the DGI. The government will seek to continue building an inclusive digital ecosystem for public data and public services to improve citizens’ daily lives.
With a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Korean government and the OECD on digital government last December, Korea also plans to take a more active role in OECD’s Global E-Leaders Initiative, helping non-Member countries in their digital transformation in the public sector with the OECD.