4 minute read 24 Feb 2021
Connected Citizens Aspirational technophile illustration

Meet the Aspirational Technophiles

Authors
Arnauld Bertrand

EY Global Government & Public Sector Advisory Leader

Working with governments to build stronger administrations for impactful public policies. Passionate about leading teams to guide public performance, innovation and service.

Julie McQueen

EY Global Government & Public Sector Lead Analyst

Lead Analyst. Deep knowledge in public sector and social research, strategy and thought leadership. Passionate about improving public services to create positive social impact.

4 minute read 24 Feb 2021

Learn what these digital natives think about digital government and how they can be an ally in the development of online public services.

This persona description forms part of the EY Connected Citizens series, which outlines seven global citizen personas that governments must plan for when developing digital services.

Aspirational Technophiles are young, well-educated city dwellers. They use technology to facilitate many aspects of their lives. While Aspirational Technophiles are satisfied with the public services they receive and positive about how government is using technology, they want government to go further. For example, they would like more services available online, and more opportunities to use technology to provide feedback on services and have a say on how they are designed. Aspirational Technophiles are entrepreneurial, but they also have a social conscience. They see that a tech-enabled state can help them fulfil their future ambitions but also drive societal improvements.

Aspirational Technophiles are a midsize segment, at 16% of the total, and figure prominently in the UAE and India.

Compared with others chart

Meet Arjun – an Aspiration Technophile

Arjun represents our Aspirational Technophiles segment. He is 27 years old, a university graduate, and has well-paid work as an AI engineer in the city of Bengaluru, southern India. He lives in an apartment with his partner, whom he met on a dating app, and their four-year-old twin boys.

His can-do attitude makes Arjun optimistic about the future for his family, his country and the world in general. He expects to see more economic growth, more spending on public services and more technological innovation in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.

What is most important for quality of life chart

Arjun earns a good income, but his longer-term goal is to start his own business, perhaps as part of a government scheme. He is conscious that technological advances are changing the workplace rapidly and that he needs to keep his skills updated. Although he is driven by financial and social success, he is far from self-centered. He cares about traditions and is an active member of his community, mentoring people who lack digital skills. He would like to see the government put more resources into skills and education, social and mental health services, and internet connectivity in his local area. He also thinks government should explore the idea of a universal basic income for those affected by growing automation in the workplace.

Having seen the fall in air pollution across cities in India when parts of the economy were in lockdown, Arjun has become much more conscious of the environment. He takes steps to reduce his family’s carbon footprint, for example, by cycling rather than driving. But he thinks governments need to do more to reduce the impact of emissions before it’s too late.

A focus on the environment chart

As a digital native, Arjun believes in the power of innovation and automation to solve problems, improve society and empower people. However, he believes this can only happen if the government does more to provide the right infrastructure and support. Arjun himself owns the full range of connected devices, including a fitness tracker, smart watch and smart household appliances, which he uses constantly to manage almost every aspect of his life.  He is vocal on social media, regularly weighing in on a whole range of topics. He embraces innovations as soon as they launch and can’t wait to own a fully autonomous electric car. He also expects his sons to benefit from a blend of online home-based learning and in-person classroom time when they start school.

Arjun is a frequent user of public services and is well satisfied with the services he receives. However, he believes they could be even better if government made more use of digital technologies, particularly to improve value for money and provide easier access through different channels. He was among the first to sign up to the country’s digital ID system and is now eager to see faster, automated responses and more services being built around his specific needs. This would bring his experience as a citizen up to the standard of his experience as a customer. 

85% are comfortable having a single ID for every time they use a government service chart
Priorities for government to improve the quality of public service chart

As an aspiring entrepreneur, Arjun believes valuable solutions can come from outside government and wants to see more involvement from businesses, the third sector and citizens in the design and delivery of public services. He’s also keen to have more opportunity to provide feedback, such as using an app to give his opinions on development plans for his local area, and would like to be more actively involved in local decision-making.

Broader involvement in public service delivery chart

Convenience and efficiency take precedence over data privacy for Arjun. He is happy for government organizations to share his data with other public sector agencies and with the private sector when there is a clear benefit, such as helping to investigate crime or security issues, or informing decision-making about local services. And he is happy for the government to sell his anonymized personal data to third parties if it helps fund better public services.

Relaxed attitude to data sharing |  and innovation chart

Question for government: How can government match the same level of customer experience that Aspirational Technophiles get in their interactions with private sector companies?

  • Technical notes about the Connected Citizens study

    These profiles are a representation of what a typical member of each segment might look like, based on the data from the EY Connected Citizens survey, constructed to illustrate some of the key characteristics of the segment. The Connected Citizens survey was carried out by Ipsos MORI for EY between July 2020 and September 2020. Interviews took place online with 12,100 participants of working age across 12 countries. Quotas were set by age, gender, region and working status in order to achieve a representative sample in each country. Data was weighted by age, gender, region, working status and education to correct for imbalances in the national samples. As the survey was carried out online, samples in emerging markets are likely to be more urban, educated and connected than the overall population. All surveys are subject to a wide range of potential sources of error.

Summary

This cohort are young, well-educated and have a social conscience. They use technology to facilitate many aspects of their lives. While Aspirational Technophiles are satisfied with the public services they receive and positive about how government is using technology, they want government to go further. For example, they would like more services available online, and more opportunities to use technology to provide feedback on services and have a say on how they are designed. Aspirational Technophiles are entrepreneurial, but also see that a tech-enabled state can help them fulfil their ambitions for the future.

About this article

Authors
Arnauld Bertrand

EY Global Government & Public Sector Advisory Leader

Working with governments to build stronger administrations for impactful public policies. Passionate about leading teams to guide public performance, innovation and service.

Julie McQueen

EY Global Government & Public Sector Lead Analyst

Lead Analyst. Deep knowledge in public sector and social research, strategy and thought leadership. Passionate about improving public services to create positive social impact.