I have been mulling over what would be the best organizational structure to help us realize the digital divided that we have been singing about since the announcement of the landing of the various fibre optic cables. The reason is, I find us focusing on the big picture that we forget implementation is best done granular with a buildup guided by the big picture, not forgetting the critical buy-in by the invested parties for real progress to be made.
The ICT Authority of Kenya has a broad mandate to; set and enforce ICT standards and guidelines for the human resource, infrastructure, processes and system and technology for the public office and public service; deploy and manage all ICT staff in the public service; facilitate and regulate the design, implementation and use of ICTs in the public service; promote ICT literacy and capacity; promote e-government services; facilitate optimal electronic, electronic form, electronic record and equipment use in public service; promote ICT Innovation and enterprise; establish, develop and maintain secure ICT infrastructure & systems; supervise the design, development and implementation of critical ICT projects across the public service and lastly to implement and manage the Kenya National Spatial Data Initiative.
Focusing on their mandate “to deploy and manage all ICT staff in the public service”, if I had my way, every ministry would have a technology “Recce Squad” whose task after intensive training in technologies that are driving the world plus project management, will ensure knowledge transfer at ministry level. This alignment will allow everyone to be on the same page as to where personal roles and job descriptions plug into the multi-year, multi-partner masterplans. These squads, seconded from ICTA will also be the innovation heartbeat that pushes the national agenda framed within a very selfish, key performance indicator driven appraisal environment, meaning that what is output as results is win-win.
These teams need not be large with a flat structure having five to seven persons. Working semi autonomously they will assist Principal Secretaries, arguably the real work horses at ministry level to meet ministry KPI’s while ensuring every action is aligned to the various national masterplans under the orchestration of ICTA. Understanding what the end game is, these teams will also work together making sure nothing is lost in translation due to embedded government bureaucracy and politics.
We need some big, sustainable wins on the side of government in its adoption of technology to deliver value to the citizen.