Open Source Government: Ideas for ForumPA 2009

Leo Sorge, editor-in-chief of some important italian IT magazines, after my open source round-table at ForumPA contacted me for an interview for 01net magazine, and I took the chance to talk about what is missing here.

PotentialOpen Source: our potential? by Kimberlee della Luce

As a matter of fact the Italian IT market is highly fragmented, just like by other European countries the vast majority of IT firms are small, or very small. As results from a survey recently conducted by the Observatory of the European SMEs the dimension of a company is a critical success factor:

Overall, the larger the enterprise, the more likely it is to have turnover from exports: almost hree in ten – 28% – of LSEs, but only 7% among micro-enterprises reported exports.

Barriers to innovation are always the same:

EU SMEs regard four factors as constituting equally important barriers to innovation: problems in access to finance, scarcity of skilled labour, a lack of market demand and expensive human resources. The larger an enterprise, the more likely it is to report problems in finding the necessary human resources, and the less likely it is to report difficulties in getting he financial resources that are necessary for innovative activity.

Mind the Bridge and similar initiatives can help Italian startups to get VCs’ attention, people like Fabrizio Capobianco are the living proof that there is a way to get funded by North-American investors. ForumPA can definitely take advantage of his experience to help other Italians to follow his path.

Competence networks, incubators and technology valleys are very important to deliver innovation and to access the required information to conduct business, as results from another survey of the Observatory:

The following barriers to networking, specific to smaller high-tech firms, can be identified: (i) Often there is a lack of a ‘co-ordinator’, which might be an agency or a larger leading firm. (ii) Small firms, in contrast to large ones, have a short-term perspective and expect quick and concrete results. But research networking is comparably time-intensive and results are not immediately visible. To reduce efforts co-operation is kept simple and built with only very few partners. (iii) It is difficult to find a balance between the privacy of information and the necessary knowledge sharing.

Roberto Di Cosmo in Paris is leading an entrepreneurial hub bringing together local SMEs and local public administrations. I believe that his experience could be of great help to foster communities of interests to develop products and solutions for the Italian public administration market.

Last but not least I think that Italy should learn from others’ experiences, listening to ‘veterans’ like Petri Räsänen to understand possibilities and challenges using open source to help regional growth.

Gianni, we got start to work on it as soon as possible. Right?

Technorati Tags: PetriRäsänen, FabrizioCapobianco, RobertoDiCosmo, competence center, open source hub, public administration, observatory of european smes, forumpa, mind the bridge