martedì 18 febbraio 2014

A BORDERLINE MANAGER - Interview with Carlo Cammelli, Responsabile Settore Tecnologie e supporto ai processi ICT at Consiglio Regionale della Toscana

Carlo Cammelli

Interview by Fabrizio Ulivieri
English version by Louisa Loring

Would you start by telling us a bit about your job and what you do here?

I specialize in all things technology, which includes information, communication, and technology.  I don’t only work with computers and all that revolves around them but also, telephony and all forms of communication and services.  I work in very specific area - multimedia which includes everything that happens in the Consiglio (Tuscan regional government) - production and postproduction.  They also gave me the responsibility for all that is printed, the typography. The world of communication and technology has changed. Today it means being able to primarily give people the ability to connect and interact, which is what we do.

What is the aspect most difficult about your job and what you do?

The hardest thing about my job is understanding what exactly people are asking me for and how to respond to them in the right way.  Often, people will ask me for a service to help them and I need to find the best one that will work the best for their situation.  Often, I need to use my judgment and make an assessment based on my knowledge of technological methods.

Yes, you really need to understand the market and follow their trends.

Yes, exactly.  In fact, this is exactly what I do and the role of the CIO has changed a lot in recent years.  Now we have to understand how suitable technology is for how people live and use it.

You are a bit of a ‘boarder-line’ man because on one side you work for the Consiglio della Regione Toscana and so you have to meet that demand.  On the other side, you are faced with the city of Florence.  How can you facilitate the demands of both the Consiglio della Regione Toscana and all the technological aspects and the relationship with the city?

Today, this is one of the most important questions that you could have asked me because the idea of the presence of this institution, which is public and represents the whole Tuscan society, is very significant.  This is an idea where technology can be used to communicate beliefs and opinions and to make the citizens understand exactly what is happening.  Lets use the recent example of the expansion of the airport.  It has been a long battle.  This is not something that we advise on but rather, we look to understand how destructive or positive it is for Florence.  Technology permits us, in my opinion, to have a clearer idea of what is going on; it allows us to see the whole picture.  This is the most critical point that we work on continually– to try to make people understand fully what is going on and thus, they can learn how best to move forward.  Also, to understand the type of position the citizens take to these changes.  I think it is very important for the opinions of the Florentine citizens to be taken into consideration.

Do you have any examples of specific projects to give us an idea of how you work to connect the Consiglio and the city?

There are two branches of this.  The first is to ‘rendere manifesto’ (to inform people), that which is decided and that which is actually achieved by the Consiglio.  Using the network, we make available a whole list of everything that is going on and thus, anyone who wants can follow. We have also made it possible to take part in the events going on here through the web in a very easy way.  If you have something else to do and can’t participate in an event, you can search for exactly what you would like to see by theme and this new system will steam that specific part of the event.  This makes everything clearer and simpler.  This is the first level.  The second is that of interaction.  A while back, we started a blog about the health care plan that is important for many reasons, to hear the opinions of the citizens.  In this way, voices were heard and some problems came out and were solved.   Now we are working on the open data, which is a huge initiative that allows citizens to see information about government projects such as healthcare projects or urbanization projects without mediation, which allows for collaboration.

What are you still working on and what would you like to further change? Are you working towards a specific goal?

The solution that I am trying to find is to raise the level of digitalization of the organization.  Digitalization is really two things.  Firstly, it doesn’t mean using less paper and saving trees, it is not this.  It is rather, a method to make information visible and available faster and at our fingertips so we can share it.  There are many institutions and systems that rely heavily on paper but all the most important things cannot be accessed solely in print form today because it slows the process of sharing and the idea of rapid distribution.  This is one of the areas we are working very hard on. 

This leads me to another question.  Obviously, politicians aren’t always ‘digitalized’ or aren’t always up to speed with the most current method of technological developments.  How does this pose problems for you?

Our system of the Consiglio is made up of two main groups: the politicians and those who offer services, or work at the Consiglio.  There are those who are always using technology in their work and making sure all that is done is connected to the web.  And then there are those who don’t.  This creates a problem because those things that get accomplished and worked on by those who are not ‘digitalized’ does not become identified and acknowledged and they become marginalized. 

What are some of the best parts of your job and what are the parts least interesting?

I consider myself fortunate because I have a job that I love.  This is one of the most important things to consider about work.  A challenging aspect is seeing the difference between what you think is happening and then what is actually being done to change or not change things.  Sometimes I see work being done as if our work finishes within these walls but our work at the Consiglio should just be a launching pad to jump off and move forward.  I believe that those as me, who believe and want to share information, are working to find new ways to make information rapidly available but there are still those who are scared and want to resist this technology and hide information as if it was theirs alone to access.

To finish, can you give us a piece of advice as how to face technology today and move forward?

Technology is a point of departure because you can grow, learn and understand its potential. This question ties into the story of the CIO that I spoke of earlier. Some years ago, CIOs would compete for who had the best, newest computer but it didn’t help anyone because it was for personal use and didn’t make the general population more technologically savvy. Today, CIOs need not be afraid of change to new methods of technology but rather, see its power and share them with others to help connect everyone. Always be open and willing to try new thing. Understanding what kind of information you are being given and how you can make it accessible is fundamental.

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