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"Government out of a Box" project review in Brussels (from left to right): Professor Jarke, Fraunhofer Institute FIT, Mr. Athissari, CMI, and Herr von der Schulenburg, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq.

"Government out of a Box" feasibility study

For the Crisis Management Initiative (CMI), an international Non-Government Organization (NGO) headed by Martti Athisaari, the former President of Finland, we investigated the feasibility of the "Government out of a Box" idea.

We evaluated, from a socio-technical perspective, the idea to provide quick support to the civil government and administration of states in crisis by using modules from a basic E-Government framework.

In the project we started from two related concepts proposed by Herr von der Schulenburg, the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Iraq, and a consortium of Oracle, TeliaSonera, Ericsson, Accenture and Unysis, respectively. We combined and extended the two concepts and discussed them in detail with experts from the World Bank, UN Organizations, NGOs, the US Administration and ministries in Germany and additional European countries. In addition we visited Palestine and Afghanistan, two states in crisis, to discuss the concept and to assess potential cultural, organizational and technical obstacles.

We presented our findings to the leadership of CMI in Brussels. They concluded that the "Government out of a Box" ideas, i. e. to take a stable E-Government framework that implements international rules and regulations, to help a state in crisis build and run a civil government and administration, may appear revolutionary, but that it could be done.

Before it can be done, before an appropriate E-Government toolkit is in fact available, the next step will be to assemble a prototype system and to conduct a field experiment in a state in crisis.