Last year, an international government IT group released a list of tech priorities distilled from a survey of 13 nations. Items on the list, published by the International Council for Information Technology in Government Administration, will look familiar to public-sector technology professionals here at home:

  • Cloud computing
  • Mobility
  • Open data and analytics
  • Innovation
  • Performance measurements
  • Cybersecurity

The list drives home the point that no matter where we live, we’re all facing many of the same challenges: building livable communities, creating strong economies, and operating effective programs and services. Therefore, the next great idea for addressing these challenges is just as likely to come from Seoul as it is from San Francisco.

That, in a nutshell, is the idea behind this month’s international edition of Government Technology. We tried to find a range of international ideas and projects that could spark conversations in cities, counties and states in the U.S.

For instance, we look at the Canadian province of British Columbia’s move to issue a secure identity card that not only gives citizens access to the country’s national health-care system, but also can serve as a driver’s license and, ultimately, as the key to a growing number of online government services. We also cover the African nation of Kenya’s efforts to use broadband connectivity to transform itself from a developing country into a knowledge-based, middle-income society. And our global roundup of technology deployments features everything from real-time analytics in Buenos Aires to cloud computing in China.

Besides offering an international array of ideas, this issue may well serve another purpose too: gauging your standing in a world where economic competition comes from both across the state and across an ocean.

Thanks to the global economy and rapid technological advances, it’s easier than ever for talented people and desirable employers to locate anywhere in the world they want to be. In this hyper-connected environment, it’s not such a bad idea to see how your community measures up on an international stage.

Steve Towns, Editor Steve Towns  |  Editor

Steve Towns is editor of Government Technology, and executive editor for e.Republic Inc., publisher of GOVERNING, Government TechnologyPublic CIO and Emergency Management magazines. He has more than 20 years of writing and editing experience at newspapers and magazines, including more than 15 years of covering technology in the state and local government market.