Government 2.0

Tim O’Reilly spoke at about Government 2.0.   According to People and Places:

He advocated enabling four types of interaction:

  • Government to citizen – providing services and information to citizens
  • Citizen to government – citizens report on probelms that need government assistance
  • Citizen to citizen – not every problem needs to be solved by government
  • Government to government – we need better cooperation within government agencies

Tim suggests that there are some lessons from the technology space that could be useful in building Government 2.0

Build open, expandable systems

In open government this might mean open, portable health records, or open data that allows competition by third parties on government contracts.

Build simple systems and let them evolve

Simple systems like the Internet Protocol can act like hourglass models – they run on a diversity of systems, and support a diversity of applications around a simple protocol.

Design for cooperation

The notion of governance via loosely coordinated groups is a Jeffersonian one. And a system like the Internet domain name system looks decidedly Jeffersonian.

Learn from your users

Google was late to the game in mapping. But Google is used by 45% of all mashups online. That’s because when innovators started building mashups of Craigslist and Google Maps data, Google didn’t shut the door, but hired the first guy to build a mashup, and then released an API to make the task easier.

Lower the barriers to experimentation

The government tends to treat projects like the Apollo 11 rocket launch: “Failure is not an option.” It should be. We fail all the time, and we need to learn from it.

Build a culture of measurement

“If it works, do more, if it doesn’t, stop doing it.” We need to watch how our systems succeed and fail, and build systems that respond to user stimuli.

Throw open the doors to partners

Tim celebrates the iPhone ap store, suggesting that it worked vastly better than more controlled models for aplication development on the Blackberry or Nokia phones. Governments need to stop using tools like earmarks, sole source licensing, and no-bid contracts, which lead to a less open ecosystem.

Fixing complex problems requires figuring out what government needs to do, what private entites can do and what coordinated citizens can do. If we build systems that allow all these behaviors, we’ll see a great deal of positive change through Government 2.0

Related materials on Government 2.0:


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