Mathias’ story about rethinking citizen interaction and enabling digital inclusion

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Since his studies in Political Science at the University of Copenhagen, Mathias has been interested in the intersection between citizens and the public sector, especially how the use of digital solutions towards citizens may impact their relation to the public sector in general. He believes that the public sector is a central pillar within our society, and that it is crucial that we understand how technology can improve our perception of and trust in the public sector – especially within municipalities and other citizen-facing authorities.

The first meeting with the municipality – or any other public authority – can be a crucial moment for citizens, as it sets the tone for their future interactions with the public sector. Unfortunately, for some citizens, this experience can be perceived as slow-paced, generic, or bureaucratic, leading to frustration and a lack of trust in the system.

According to Mathias, a consultant, who provides expert guidance and leads transformative projects within municipalities, Deloitte plays a pivotal role in enabling municipalities to create more inclusive and accessible digital solutions for all. In this article, we explore the importance of understanding citizen needs, experiences and expectations, and how innovative solutions such as digital assistants can help create a more accessible and effective public sector.

Experimenting with Digital Humans

As we look towards the future of citizen interaction within the public sector, it is important to consider the various needs and contexts of different groups of citizens. From young to old, from vulnerable to resourceful, each group has unique needs and expectations when it comes to communicating with the public sector – most often with the municipality.

Mathias is passionate about creating and enabling a vision for the future of citizen interaction that meets these diverse needs. One way that can be used to achieve this is through digital assistants, such as chat and voice bots, which make it easier for citizens to apply for certain errands or get quick answers to their questions without having to wait in line or navigate complex systems.

His team continues to explore innovative solutions for citizen engagement, and digital humans have emerged as a powerful tool for improving accessibility and efficiency:

One exciting area of innovation is the use of digital humans, which offer a new level of engagement and inclusivity for citizens. Digital humans resemble human-like avatars as you may know from video games that enable citizens to experience human-like digital services. This is something that we are currently testing in practice in a municipal context.

Using digital humans can lead to a more engaging and empathetic experience for citizens, breaking down barriers and providing a more personal touch. Among other things, technology has the potential to support elderly and citizens with mental vulnerabilities, as well as provide a more personalised digital service to all types of citizens. By leveraging technology and implementing innovative solutions, municipalities and other authorities can strengthen the citizens’ experience and streamline internal processes – and thereby increase trust and engagement, creating a more trustworthy and efficient public sector.

Utilising Data to Support Digital Inclusion and Democracy

Another area of focus is the use of the data of the individual citizen to improve their user experience, e.g., by rethinking public services from a “mobile first”-perspective. By ensuring that public services are designed to naturally fit to the citizens smart phones, municipalities and other authorities can create tailored digital experiences that every citizen can access no matter where they are. This includes creating more accessible and user-friendly interfaces and self-service solutions, as well as providing more personalized support and resources by leveraging the functionalities and data accessible within the citizen’s phone.

Besides creating more user-friendly experiences for citizens and support digital inclusion, one of the primary benefits data and digital assistants contribute to are their ability to handle general inquiries and free up resources:

Reduced workload frees up time and resources for employees to do more meaningful work. It can also help to improve employee morale and job satisfaction, as they are able to focus on the work, they find most motivating: Making a difference in the lives of the individual citizen.

In addition, Mathias’ team is exploring and utilising new tools and technologies to bring citizens directly into the decision-making process. This includes virtual focus groups and AI-driven surveys that allow citizens to co-create, collaborate, and provide feedback with municipalities and authorities in real-time. By breaking down barriers between citizens and the municipality or authority, the team is able to create a more inclusive and efficient public sector puts the needs and lives of the citizens at center stage – and utilizes the great innovative force that citizens constitute to focus and create actual change within cities, e.g., by prioritising how municipal budgets are prioritised.

Impacting the Lives of Citizens

Working with municipalities and public organisations offers a unique opportunity to make a direct positive impact on peoples’ lives. As someone who has primarily been working with municipalities and authorities, Mathias is continuously being reminded of the importance of his work:

We are working directly with municipalities and authorities and enabling them to address the needs of citizens – and improve the quality of life in general. Whether it is providing better support and resources for vulnerable citizens or making it easier for people to access information and services, our work has a tangible impact on people's everyday lives.

At the heart of the work is a commitment to improving the relationship between citizens and the public sector. By utilising our Deloitte expertise within the field of technology and transformation, we enable clients to rethink citizen interaction and support digital inclusion.

Mathias and his team at Deloitte are at the forefront of this work, leveraging expertise to create a more empathetic, inclusive, and efficient public sector for everyone.

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