I have been reading a few articles that circle around a similar topic. Adriel pens a critique of the use of Government 2.0 as tools alone, not necessarily driven by mission, @cheeky_geeky writes of the death of the goverati, @andreadimaio warns that much of this looks like an attempt to look cool, with cool toys and may not last as a result.
There is a convergence of thought happening right now. A discomfort with the state of things. An understanding, if not given a specific name, that we stand a t a decision point. One where we could push the world in a different direction, or one where we could all be investing money, effort and time on a fruitless exercise. It all depends on one thing at this point – execution.
We are at the point in this Government 2.0 thing where we must all make a decision. Do we push toward specific and measurable goals, actual large projects, concrete investment decisions, or not. Does this become what was once the promise of SOA in the tech world, or green economics in the enviro world, or financial reform currently facing many countries? Or, is this something fundamentally different, which is deserving of not only our trigger fingers on twitter to RT interesting topics, but rather a commitment to roll up our virtual sleeves, stand up and demand a new version of our world and push concrete and sustainable decisions behind it?
There are multiple very large potential futures at play:
1) New Civics – Adam Todhunter made me a fan of understanding context with regard to government and information flows to enable change. The major contextual shift that could come about with a push is restructuring how we think of our structured world. Do we identify ourselves as our geography dictates (I am an American) or as our familial structure dictates (a father and husband) or as my football allegiance lies (Manchester United or Green Bay Packers) or a cross-border group of interested parties attempting to build a notional world that leverages the power of government as a platform upon which a more sustainable world could live?
2) Direct Government – Is the notion of direct government closer to some form of reality? Do our tools lead us to being more empowered democratic consumers? Or does the onslaught of information cloud our ability to act in the civic and political world? Do we as a movement want to push hard in this direction and are we OK with the outcomes it will predict?
3) The Price of Change – And ultimately, are we willing to pay the price for real change? If we build massive public data infrastructures it will require upfront investments. From Governments, from the private sector, from citizens, from some perceived liberties…are we willing? If we take on a new idea of the state, are we willing to carve out the time for this new citizenship? Are we willing to work through the disruptions it will inevitably cause? Are we willing to push a power structure that doesn’t care to be pushed?
I am unsure of the answers the community will give to some of these questions. I do know one thing, we stand at a place that Ban Ki Moon calls the Doing Divide. There is an awful lot of talk happening about open government and Government 2.0 and change, but we stand right now with a smattering of cool tools. Will we drive entrepreneurial action as Mark asks for, will we use these tools for concrete policy outcomes as Adriel asks, will we survive the accurate criticisms from folks like Andrea to be able to drive real and actual investment decisions of national, local and regional governments across the globe?
I am certain that the only way for us to progress is to take those leaps. To act. Not to talk, but to do. And this comes from a deeply personal conviction about change.
I have preached about it for years but only this past year did I live it. Last year I weighed 260 pounds, my cholesterol and triglycerides were actually off the charts (unreadable). My blood pressure was similarly way too high I have been fat my whole life. Until last year, when I decided, to make the decision very personal. And to act. Not to talk about. Not to wonder about it. Not to research it. Not to RT about it. But to do it. And to do it every day.
I have shed 100 pounds in the last year. 18 inches off of my waist. My blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides is normal. I jog 2 miles every day. I eat whole foods on regular basis and I love my life again. Because of a personal conviction and a choice to actually do it. The one thing I control is my attitude and what I do each and every day. And that is an incredibly powerful thing to make actual change happen.
So now the time has come to see what we can do as the crowd. Can we turn our conviction into action? Can each of us decide to act? Can we use our tools as a means to an end? Can we accomplish concrete goals? Can we move the movement forward each and every day, even if it is by a very small step?
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