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Gov2Gov Challenge 3 | Italy | AI Competence Center

This team and corresponding challenge area are participating the OECD Gov2Gov Innovation Incubator. For information on the programme, please click here.

How can we establish a collaborative, cross-departmental and inclusive culture for AI project management?

🇮🇹 Italy’s Social Security and Welfare Administration (INPS) seeks to establish an AI Competence Center, a dedicated unit within the organisation focusing on the progress and advocacy of Artificial Intelligence. The Center seeks to foster internal AI development, share best practices within the organisation and disseminate them across the public administration. The AI Competence Center is a proactive measure to meet current demands and future-proof the organisation from technological, cultural and social evolution. 

In its 2024-2026 strategic plan, the Italian Government’s Agency for Digital Transformation emphasises Artificial Intelligence as a key factor for societal innovation and technological evolution in the public administration. INPS has initiated several AI-based projects, including the automatic classification and dispatching of Certified Electronic Mail and the development of advanced virtual agents, resulting in significant time savings and improved efficiency. 

Given numerous ongoing and upcoming projects, an AI Competence Center is needed to link various skills and projects, foster knowledge sharing, and serve as a model for public administration’s innovation.

Challenge description

The OECD and INPS are calling on government solution providers to join the incubator programme and support two interrelated challenges:

How can we build a supportive and cross-departamental culture of AI project management?

The introduction of these technologies might be disruptive in a complex organisation, which creates fragmentation and coordination difficulties. As a result, there are currently few cross-departmental references with a comprehensive view of ongoing implementations. Additionally, differences in the technological maturity levels across areas have made collaboration more challenging. Previous experiences have shown that employees need to gain the necessary skills to leverage AI technologies effectively, but the time required for training is a barrier.   

How can we encourage data access with all necessary guarantees?

Despite the communication strategies for internal AI awareness, the expected cultural shift must overcome persistent deep-rooted cultural norms and beliefs. Furthermore, privacy concerns and data governance challenges must be taken into account in the development of services such as:   

  • Government intelligence and advanced analytics 
  • Proactive and personalised services 
  • Processes automation 
  • Daily operations 

Objectives & impact

The AI Competence Center would act as a “catalyzer” among the Institute’s multiple departments, allowing for greater co-ordination and operational efficiency. It would provide users with an optimised experience, including a more streamlined and efficient workflow. Additionally, this improvement should strengthen trust, both internally and from citizens. 

AI technologies could inspire the development of new innovative services and solutions to address emerging citizen and societal needs and enhance the effectiveness and access to social security services.  The Center will monitor these solutions and guarantee they comply with European Union guidelines. By leveraging AI technologies and expertise, the Institute can stay at the forefront of service delivery and proactively address new challenges, anticipate future trends, and adapt its social security programs to meet society’s evolving needs.   

Citizens would also benefit from the implementation of the Competence Center, experiencing improved service quality, reduced waiting times, and personalised services. The Center will oversee the implementation of AI solutions and inform citizens about the AI-based solutions the institution implements.   

Meet the team: Challenge owners

The INPS Central Department of Information Technology and Innovation oversees the management and development of the Institute’s information system, ensuring security and service continuity. It manages the technological infrastructure, oversees application projects, and ensures compliance with ICT security standards. It provides technical support to users and promotes technological innovation through innovative projects. It also handles data management and contractual relationships in IT matters. Additionally, it collaborates with other departments to improve work processes and contribute to the production process control system. 

Meet the team coordinators: 

  • Vincenzo Di Nicola, Innovation Manager at INPS, in charge of AI projects  
  • Antonino Cipriani, Project Manager at INPS 
  • Emanuele Colini, Agile Enablement Manager at INPS
  • Massimiliano D’Angelo, Information Technology Director at INPS

This project and blog are funded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of the OECD and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.