Delia Ferreira Rubio is Transparency International chair and Your Public Value advisory council member. She comments on public value, society, and business. She is a recognised expert on parliamentary ethics and political financing. In Argentina, where she lives, she served as the chief advisor to several representatives and senators at the National Congress, advised the constitutional committees of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and also served as an advisor for the National Accounting Office. She has authored numerous publications on democratic culture and political institutions, public and parliamentary ethics, campaign finance and electoral systems, and comparative politics, among other subjects.
We met Delia Ferreira Rubio when she visited Berlin this month — and took the opportunity to ask what public value means to her:
Delia Ferreira Rubio: Public Value is an important approach. It is crucial to have all sectors on board and working together for a better world, beyond the traditional competitive approach. Nowadays, all sectors can work together: the private sector, the public sector, civil society, and more broadly, all citizens using social media. If all of these people worked together, we would have better policies that would change our lives and society for the better.
Your Public Value: Why should the private sector care about public value?
Delia Ferreira Rubio: The private sector already understands that social responsibility is important — it’s clearly the case in my region — and that they have a duty of service to their local community. But it’s now time to make the private sector understand its responsibility in the civic space. They can only win with such an approach: Businesses that successfully do this will gain value in brand, marketing, and prestige.
Your Public Value: But businesses would say that they already take care of consumers through their corporate social responsibility initiatives…
Delia Ferreira Rubio: Yes, but that’s not enough. Today, consumers are rallying themselves, and they want more than a mere product. They want something else from the business sector, and they are in a position to demand it very efficiently, thanks to social media. Businesses should be aware that consumers are not passive partners. They are working to get value, and they will keep on working even harder. Citizens are clear about what they want. But they now need to request it from companies, governments, and civil society organisations.
Your Public Value: What do you think the digital world can bring to public value?
Delia Ferreira Rubio: Digital technologies are crucial tools that will change the way we think and how we approach our work. These new technologies can help us do marvellous things in the field of communications, information sharing, and also participation. These are not just means of communication. They are instruments that we should implement in order to work together even more efficiently, beyond the constraints of time and space.
Your Public Value: However, with new technology comes new risks…
Delia Ferreira Rubio: Yes, of course, there are new risks in areas like privacy and information security. It is truly important to keep this in mind and to tackle these risks. But there is also vast knowledge available on the vulnerability of our various systems and this knowledge keeps growing. For example, we may live for decades with a huge unknown vulnerability until someone — most probably a programmer — discovers this vulnerability and the risk of failure. This is why we have to work together with the programming community, with everyone who really understands technology, and especially with those who may know less about politics. We have to work together towards a shared goal: one of building a better world, a world with peace and democracy, with respect for freedom and fundamental rights. This is our ultimate objective.